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New Mexico is a state located in the Southwestern region of the United States. It is the second-most extensive state, behind only Texas, and has the 14th highest population in the US. Admitted to the Union in 1913, it was the last state admitted and is thus often called the "50th state."
New Mexico has a wide variety of geographic features as it is located in the Rocky Mountains, the Sonoran Desert, and the Great Basin. Much of the state's population is clustered in a handful of metropolitan regions - the Mesa metropolitan area that anchors the state's western half, the Tucson area in the south, the Albuquerque-Santa Fe agglomeration in the east that includes the state capital, and the Las Cruces region near the Mexican border.
Long a sparsely-populated state, New Mexico has seen rapid growth since the late 1960s as part of the "Sunbelt," growth driven by retirees from the Northeast and Midwest seeking warmer climates as well as the influx of Hispanics from Mexico and Central America. By the 2000s, Mesa had emerged not only as the largest city in the state but as one of the largest cities in the country as well.