Las Cruces Spanish: [las ‘kruses] “the crosses” is the second-largest city in the U.S. state of New Mexico and the seat of Doña Ana County. As of the 2020 census the population was 111,385. Las Cruces is the largest city in both Doña Ana County and southern New Mexico.The Las Cruces metropolitan area had an estimated population of 213,849 in 2017. It is the principal city of a metropolitan statistical area which encompasses all of Doña Ana County and is part of the larger El Paso–Las Cruces combined statistical area.
Las Cruces is the economic and geographic center of the Mesilla Valley, the agricultural region on the floodplain of the Rio Grande which extends from Hatch to the west side of El Paso, Texas. Las Cruces is the home of New Mexico State University New Mexico’s only land-grant university. The city’s major employer is the federal government on nearby White Sands Test Facility and White Sands Missile Range. The Organ Mountains, 10 miles to the east, are dominant in the city’s landscape, along with the Doña Ana Mountains, Robledo Mountains, and Picacho Peak. Las Cruces lies 225 miles south of Albuquerque, 42 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas and 41 miles (66 km) north of the Mexican border at Sunland Park.
Spaceport America, which has corporate offices in Las Cruces, operates from 55 miles to the north, and has completed several successful crewed, suborbital flights. The city is also the headquarters for Virgin Galactic, the world’s first company to offer sub-orbital spaceflights.