BBER Publications


Daren Ruiz

Document Type


Publication Date



New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority; U.S. Census Burea


University of New Mexico, Bureau of Business and Economic Research


This slide presentation gives a brief overview and update of a Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) project funded by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) to estimate the population of colonias in southern New Mexico. Colonias are small, poor communities with substandard infrastructure and typically have a Hispanic or immigrant population. Colonias are found in the four states bordering Mexico; BBER is using U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development colonia guidelines by limiting its survey to those located within a 150-mile radius of the Mexican border. A study done by New Mexico State University in 2000 was used as a baseline for NM colonia locations. The project began in 2011 with an estimation of population according to 2010 Census blocks, expanded this year to include socioeconomic characteristics at the block group level according to 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) estimates. The author briefly describes the population estimation process: using spatial analysis of orthophotograph images of housing units in the colonia areas, overlaid with census block maps to then tabulate the block population. For his example, the Pie Town colonia in Catron County is used. He then explains the differences between 2010 Census and ACS survey data, and describes the socioeconomic and housing characteristic estimation process. The limitations of ACS data are briefly discussed. Illustrated with data tables, maps, and orthophotographs.


Project files cited in this presentation, including data tables, maps, and shapefiles, can be accessed at