Objective, honest opinion
I have lived in ABQ and other cities in the west, so here's my honest take.
Pro's: Nice weather overall. Lots of sunshine, Summers are hot but not horrid like Phoenix. Spring winds a bit annoying. Overall.... good for golfing and outdoor activities. Jobs aren't real hard to find. Some good employers like the federal government (FAA) and high tech (But see the Cons). UNM is a good school - with a lot of hippies who never left. Good college sports! The Pit is a fun place to watch UNM basketball. Balloon festival; People are pretty friendly for the most part. Blake's Lottaburger!!! The Sandia mountains are neat. All the usual big city theme restaurants and some nice mom and pop places. Great Mexican food. I like the old town. I think multi-culturalism is a bit overrated, but if you like that kind of thing...some nice neighborhoods like anywhere else but some real BAD ones. Lots of churches, but see "Cons"
Crime/economics: Boy is there crime! It seems like mostly it's vandalism, theft and robberies. Lots of drugs and vato gangs. ABQ seems, for some reason, to attract a lot of bad people, transients and druggies/alcoholics; a lot of poor and unskilled people live here. A lot of hard-looking people - even among the middle class - which there isn't much of. [My brother-in-law was at a McDonalds with his kids (in a decent area) and two knuckleheads robbed the place in broad daylight and while very busy too! Of course the clowns got caught]. The cops are tough and they practice racial profiling so I hear. Jobs pay crappy for the cost of living. You want $12/hour??? How dare you ask! There's a lot of old boy networking and a poverty mentality, not a "can-do" attitude like I found when I moved to Texas. There's some really bad neighborhoods like I said. Even the vaunted "NE Heights" has some problems. Rio Rancho and Taylor Ranch are nice. Some mega churches but the ministers seem like those old west "healing tonic" salesmen.
Lots of trash and needles! The spring winds blow it all around too. They need to start fining people. They should make the little smart-a55 juvenile offenders pick up garbage as a punishment. Bet that'd cut down the recidivism rate.
Anyway there's worse places to live, but overall it's not bad. There's just a LOT of poverty and social problems! Nobody seems to ever have enough money to get by.
Duke | Houston, TX