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From time to time the City of Farmington deals with the aftermath of articles like the one recently published by USA Today, naming Farmington, NM as the "worst place to raise children." In the past, articles like this one have awarded titles to Farmington like the "trailer park capitol park of the world," the “fastest-shrinking city in the nation,” and other negative notable "distinctions." In fact, in 2017, City Manager Rob Mayes, and past Mayor Tommy Roberts wrote an OP ED to the Daily Times about this very article--check it out! They also did a Mayor's Table segment on the MSA--you can access that by click the link at the bottom of this message. It's important for our community members to know and understand that articles such as these are based on Farmington as a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), not Farmington as an incorporated city. Farmington is a subset of the overall MSA - - Aztec, Kirtland, Bloomfield, Shiprock, unincorporated areas of San Juan County, and parts of the Navajo Nation are also part of the “Farmington MSA.” The MSA is named after Farmington because it has the largest population of the MSA territory.
While articles like the USA Today make it difficult to explain the statistical comparison, there are a variety of positive economic benefits that are derived from being designated as only 1 of 4 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the entire state of New Mexico. The other 3 are Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces. While hearing that we are the "worst place to raise children" or the "fastest shrinking city in the nation is certainly unnerving, it’s not completely true either! It’s undeniable that our community has suffered from the effects of the down turn in the oil and gas industry, and the looming affects of the Power Plant closures, but that is not the only sector that contributes to the economy in Farmington. The fact is Farmington’s population only decreased by 3.1% between 2000 and 2014. Over the past several years we’ve had businesses like Tomo’s Japanese Sushi and Steak House, Dicks Sporting Goods, Freddie’s, Del Taco, US Eagle Credit Union, Beckland Dental, Chick-Fil-A, Five Guys, Carls Jr, and a local favorite, Spud Nuts open in our community. Other businesses are expanding and developing to meet the needs of the outdoor recreation industry initiative. While our community still relies on the oil and gas industry, our economic base has expanded over the years, and other sectors (like retail, professional services, and construction) are providing strong economic support in our community. Economic expansion and retraction is expected and is cyclical and we should all keep this temporary challenge in reasonable historic perspective. While it’s not always easy to tell when an article refers to the ”City of Farmington” or the “Farmington Metropolitan Statistical Area,” one good way to determine is by the population the author lists. For example, the USA Today article lists the population of Farmington as 118,737. The City of Farmington’s most current population is listed as 45,877, so a reader would be able to identify this article as one using Metropolitan Statistical Area data .
Moving forward the best reaction to the article and the most proactive approach to economic security our citizens can take is to support local businesses and those who are investing in our future! This has the most immediate and positive impact for our city. Shop locally… eat locally…invest in the future of our community!