By 2040, the MRCOG region is expected to reach 1.375 million people and 582,000 jobs. The table below shows the 2040 forecast for population, housing and employment by county.
*The regional population projection is based on an aggregated population projection developed by UNM-GPS in 2012. The county and sub-county level population forecast and the regional employment forecast is developed by MRCOG.
While growth has slowed substantially since 2008, the forecast assumes that in time, migration will rebound and employment growth will resume as the region continues to emerge from the lingering impacts of the Great Recession.
The counties that make up the MRCOG region are diverse in size and character and exhibit differences in the expected magnitude and pace of new growth. Table 2 displays forecast population and employment growth by county.
||Population Percent Change
||Employment Percent Change
At the heart of the metropolitan area, Bernalillo County is expected to grow by over 300,000 people and 132,000 jobs, capturing 68 percent of the region’s population growth and 72 percent of its job growth between 2012 and 2040. As such, Bernalillo County will continue to retain and attract the majority of people and jobs within the region.
Sandoval County is forecast to gain 85,000 people and 40,000 jobs. While the population growth continues to be strong (62 percent), it is not expected to sustain the same pace that it has seen over the past several decades. Employment growth, however, will be more substantial than the past, as it is forecast to more than double its current job base. This growth is driven by the City of Rio Rancho, which is expected to attract new jobs in order to meet the demands of a growing population. This is already evidenced by its rapidly expanding health services sector.
Santa Fe County
Southern Santa Fe County is expected to see the fastest pace of population growth, growing by 72 percent or over 7,000 people. Its small population base means that relatively modest increases result in a higher growth rate. In addition, the greater Edgewood area offers land availability, amenities associated with a more rural lifestyle, and access to Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
The forecast for Torrance County assumes moderate population growth and slow job growth over the forecast period. Between 2000 and 2010, Torrance County experienced population loss which has continued since the 2010 decennial census.
Valencia County will see fast paced growth in both population (65 percent) and employment (64 percent). Along with proximity to Albuquerque and a largely rural lifestyle, Valencia County has the advantage of transit service by the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, a UNM campus, and several larger employers.