Steve Hansen: Good things are yet to come for Quay County

By Steve Hansen
Fromer QCS Managing Editor

Harold Morgan, who heads an entity called New Mexico Progress, recently published a column that says Quay County, among other rural New Mexico counties, had more people move in than move out from 2014 to 2015.

U.S. Census Bureau figures back him up, and despite the county’s continuing trend of decreasing population, this number is a welcome shred of good news at a time when the county needs encouragement.

Quay County’s net migration figure was 13, and that’s because a net total of two persons moved from Quay County to other countries between 2014 and 2015, the Census Bureau’s numbers show.  Net migration from inside the United States to Quay County was 15.

Morgan asked Pat Vanderpool, executive director of the Greater Tucumcari/Quay County Economic Development Corporation, why he thinks more people moved in.

Vanderpool credited such developments as:

• The end of the drought and more farm and ranch activity.

• Dave and Amanda Brenner’s opening of Tucumcari’s Roadrunner Inn.

• Expansion of Buena Vista Labs, John Mihm’s eyeglass lens production business.

• Adam and Kim Nichols’ Rugged, Inc., which makes the Firelight, an ultra-sturdy flashlight that can also start a campfire;

• Expansion of Chuck Krause’s Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory.

There may be other factors, but Vanderpool’s list demonstrates that the county may be poised to grow — for a change.

Also encouraging is that the decline in population between 2014 and 2015, shown in the same Census Bureau chart, was only seven people. The county experienced more deaths than births in the same period—enough to account for most of the difference between the migration gain and the total population decrease.

From 2013 to 2014, the county had a net loss of 221 people, and from 2012 to 2013, the net decrease was 129.  Between 2011 and 2012, the net decrease was 268, or about 3 percent of the 2011 total of 9,080. The 2015 county population is listed as 8,455.

Does this mean Quay County’s population decline has bottomed out? It just might be more than that.  Stay tuned.

One more shameless plug: Please attend the Quay County ACT Work Ready Community Program kickoff event at noon Friday at Mesalands Community College’s Wind Energy Center.

Along with distinguished speakers and refreshments, there will be opportunities to certify your skills with free assessment tests. We want to show potential employers that Quay County has a viable work force.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist.
Contact him at:

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