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New Mexico spent an unusually long period as a territory, 62 years in total. For comparison, consider the length of territorial status for other states in the West: Colorado-15 years, Nevada-14 years, Utah-46 years, Montana-25 years, Wyoming-22 years, Idaho-44 years. A small population and an underdeveloped economy were two common reasons given at the time to explain the delay in admitting New Mexico. Although New Mexico did lag at times behind other territories in the growth of its population and economy, by the late nineteenth century it had more people and a larger economy than many older states had when they were admitted to statehood. Why then did Congress not admit New Mexico as a state sooner? Many historians have identified racism as a key factor in the delay.
Political History | United States History
Ferris, Kathleen. "Racism as an Impediment to Statehood." (2011). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nmstatehood2/3