Questa, New Mexico

Questa, New Mexico is located 20 miles north of Taos and 20 miles south of the Colorado border on State Highway 522. First settled in 1829, Questa is a farming and mining town originally called San Antonio del Río Colorado. A hundred families lived in the area in 1849, receiving mountain men and traders who came over the old Taos Trail in covered wagons. In 1854 a six-foot wall was constructed around the town to keep out raiding Indians. In 1883 the town acquired a post office and its present name of Questa. Mining entered its economy in the early twentieth century when molybdenum was found. With the decline of the Molycorp mine, farming and tourism have become more important to Questa today.

The following statistical information about Questa and Taos County came from the New Mexico Economic Development Department which derives most of its data from the 2000 U.S. Census. Links to other sources are shown where applicable.

Geography & Climate (Questa and Taos County) | Demographics | Questa Government
Housing | Utilities | Labor Force | Education | Molycorp Mine

Geography & Climate (Questa and Taos County) 
Area in square miles Density per square mile of
land area
  Total area Water area Land area Elevation Population Housing units
Questa 5.11 0 5.11 7,500 365 173.9
Taos 2,204.62 1.45 2,203.17 13.6 7.9
Source: NMSU Climate Center - www.wrcc.dri.edu/summary/climsmnm.html
Demographics 
Population
  2001
Census
Estimates
2000
Census
1990
Census
% change
1990-2000
1980
Census
1970
Census
Questa 1,864 1,707 9.2 1,202 1,095
Taos 30,353 29,979 23,118 29.6 19,456 17,516
Sources: Census 2000 Demographic Profile for Questa (pdf file), and for Taos (pdf file) County
Questa Government 
Form of Municipal Government: Mayor-Council
Municipal Services: water, sewer, solid waste
Annual Operating
Budget
Total Annual
Revenues
Total GO Bonds
Out
# FT
Police
# FT
Firefighters
# Volunteer
Firefighters
Fire Insurance
Rating (ISO)
$2,284,375.00 $141,822.00 $481,815.00 2 0 25 8
Sources: This information provided by the New Mexico Municipal League, 2001 Directory of New Mexico Municipal Officials, and by the community.
Housing 
Census 2000 Total
housing
units
Occupied
housing
units
Owner-
occupied
housing
units
Renter-
occupied
housing
units
Vacant
housing
units
Homeowner
vacancy rate
(%)
Rental
vacancy
rate (%)
Questa 888 741 574 167 147 1.2 14.4
Taos 17,404 12,675 9,570 3,105 4,729 1.7 16.0
 
Source: US Census Bureau, Census 2000 for New Mexico: www.census.gov/census2000/states/nm.html
Utilities 
Electric Utilities
Kit Carson Electric Coop., Inc.

Water Utilities
Village of Questa

 
Water Source: 2 wells
Treatment Method: Chlorination
 
Natural Gas Utilities
PNM Gas Service
www.pnm.com
Telephone Company
Qwest
www.qwest.com
Digital Service: 2
Sewer/Wastewater Utilities
Source: This information provided by the community.
Labor Force (Taos County) 
  Civilian Labor
Force
Total Employed Total
Unemployed
Unemployment
Rate (%)
October - 2002 12,753 11,479 1,274 10.0
October - 2001 12,456 11,357 1,099 8.8
2001 12,700 11,466 1,234 9.7
2000 12,708 11,398 1,310 10.3
1999 12,649 11,182 1,467 11.6
1991 11,922 9,983 1,939 16.3
Source: New Mexico Department of Labor - http://www.dol.state.nm.us/data.htm
 
Employment and Wages by Industry
2001 Number of
units
Total
employed
Average
weekly wages ($)
Agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting 7 12 $332
Mining 7 272 $804
Utilities
Construction 212 776 $424
Manufacturing 44 217 $292
Wholesale trade 30 121 $546
Retail Trade 239 1,500 $355
Transporatation and warehousing 14 60 $326
Information 20 173 $483
Finance & insurance 30 170 $552
Real estate, rental & leasing 54 222 $422
Professional & technical services 91 238 $475
Management of companies & enterprises
Administrative & waste services 29 105 $328
Educational services 14 45 $339
Health Care & social services 70 1,157 $462
Arts, entertainment & recreation 31 343 $344
Accomodations & food service 169 2,166 $239
Other services, except public admin. 93 378 $329
Non-classifiables 4 2 $228
Federal Government 17 349 $704
State Government 19 307 $505
Local Government 65 1,451 $369
 
Source: New Mexico Departmant of Labor - http://www.dol.state.nm.us/
Education 
K-12 School District   Educational Attainment - Questa
Questa   Number Percent
District size in
square miles
659 Population 25 years and older 1,206 100.0
Less than 9th grade 137 11.4
Total student
enrollment
606 9th to 12th grade, no diploma 284 23.5
High school graduate (including equivalency) 362 30.0
Student-
teacher ratio
14.6 Some college, no degree 207 17.2
Associate degree 79 6.6
# Public
schools
7 Bachelor's degree 81 6.7
Graduate or professional degree 56 4.6
# Non-Public
schools
one Percent high school graduate or higher - 65.1
Percent bachelor's degree or higher - 11.4
Source: NM Department of Education - www.sde.state.nm.us   Source: US Census Bureau, Census 2000, Summary File 3 Data: www.census.gov
 
Post-Secondary Institutions within Taos County
The University of New Mexico Taos Campus
Molycorp Mine 

The Molycorp Questa molybdenum mine, located in northern New Mexico, has been operating intermittently since the 1920s, and since the 1960s has been a large-scale mining operation. The mine operations, consisting of a total disturbed area of approximately 2,080 acres, includes waste rock dumps, an open pit, underground mine subsidence area, a tailings facility, and other facilities, roads and features. It is the largest mine in the Río Grande watershed. The mine site is adjacent to the Red River, once a blue-ribbon fishery.

The Molycorp mine is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chevron, a global petroleum company. In 2007, The Pittsburg & Midway Mining Co. and Molycorp Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of Chevron, merged to form Chevron Mining Inc.

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