Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

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Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
City Hall
City Hall
Official seal of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Nickname(s): "T or C"
Location of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Location of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico is located in USA
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°8′1″N 107°15′10″W / 33.13361°N 107.25278°W / 33.13361; -107.25278Coordinates: 33°8′1″N 107°15′10″W / 33.13361°N 107.25278°W / 33.13361; -107.25278
Country United States
State New Mexico
County Sierra
 • Total 12.8 sq mi (33.1 km2)
 • Land 12.7 sq mi (32.8 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 4,245 ft (1,294 m)
Population (2011)
 • Total 6,451
 • Density 576.0/sq mi (222.4/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 87901
Area code(s) 575
FIPS code 35-79840
GNIS feature ID 0897496

Truth or Consequences is a spa city and the county seat of Sierra County, New Mexico, United States.[1] In 2012, the population was 6,411. It is commonly known within New Mexico as T or C. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.[2]


Early history[edit]

The first bath in the area was built at "John Cross Ranch" over Geronimo Springs in the late 1800s. However, major settlement did not begin until the construction of Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir in 1912; the dam was completed in 1916. Elephant Butte Dam was a part of the Rio Grande Project, an early large-scale irrigation effort authorized under the Reclamation Act of 1902. In 1916, the town was incorporated as Hot Springs. It became the Sierra County seat in 1937.[3]

Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed its name to "Truth or Consequences", the title of a popular NBC Radio program. In March 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program on its 10th anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show; Hot Springs won the honor, officially changing its name on March 31, 1950 (the program broadcast from there the following evening, April 1st). Edwards visited the town during the first weekend of May for the next 50 years. This event was called "Fiesta" and included a beauty contest, a parade, and a stage show. The city still celebrates Fiesta each year during the first weekend of May. The parade generally features area celebrities such as the Hatch Chile Queen. Fiesta also features a dance in Ralph Edwards Park.[citation needed]


Truth or Consequences is located at 33°8′1″N 107°15′10″W / 33.13361°N 107.25278°W / 33.13361; -107.25278 (33.133614, -107.252897).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.8 square miles (33 km2), of which 12.6 square miles (33 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.86%) is water.

The city is located on the Rio Grande, near Elephant Butte Reservoir. The city is served by the Truth or Consequences Municipal Airport, Interstate 25, I-25 Business, New Mexico State Road 51 (NM 51), NM 181 and NM 187

Hot springs[edit]

Truth or Consequences hosts several local hot springs. The combined flow of the hot springs complex in Truth or Consequences is estimated at 99 liters (3.5 cu ft) per second.[3]

Before World War II, there were about 40 hot springs spas in Truth or Consequences. By 2008, the Hot Springs Association in Truth or Consequences had 10 spa facilities as members. Five of those obtained their water from wells, and La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa (formerly Marshall Hot Springs), Indian Springs Bath House, and Hay-Yo-Kay Hot Springs are from free flowing hot springs.[5]

The New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources created two demonstration projects using geothermal energy in Truth or Consequences in the 1980s. The Carrie Tingley Hospital for children with physical disabilities, which has since moved to Albuquerque, used the state money to create a physical therapy program. The local Senior Citizen's Center benefits from a geothermal space heating system.[citation needed]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 455
1930 1,336 193.6%
1940 2,940 120.1%
1950 4,700 59.9%
1960 5,000 6.4%
1970 4,656 −6.9%
1980 5,219 12.1%
1990 6,221 19.2%
2000 7,289 17.2%
2010 6,475 −11.2%
Est. 2015 6,079 [6] −6.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
2011 estimate

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,289 people, 3,450 households, and 1,859 families residing in the city. The population density was 576.0 people per square mile (222.5/km²). There were 4,445 housing units at an average density of 351.3 per square mile (135.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.35% White, 0.63% African American, 1.77% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 9.36% from other races, and 2.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 27.4% of the population.

There were 3,450 households out of which 20.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.5% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.1% were non-families. 41.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.04 and the average family size was 2.75.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 20.1% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 29.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,986, and the median income for a family was $28,750. Males had a median income of $23,214 versus $18,207 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,415. About 15.6% of families and 23.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.3% of those under age 18 and 18.1% of those age 65 or over.

Spaceport America[edit]

Spaceport America, 30 miles (48 km) east, is "the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport",[7][8][9] to be the headquarters of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority. Virgin Galactic plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public.[citation needed] An interim Spaceport America Visitor Center opened in downtown Truth or Consequences on June 24, 2015.

In popular culture[edit]

A postmark from Truth or Consequences

Truth or Consequences is a prominent location of major parts of the action in the 2015 episode "The Zygon Invasion" of the British TV series Doctor Who where the name of the town plays a role in the plot of the episode, although the scenes themselves were shot in Fuerteventura.[10]

During Mick Foley's Cactus Jack gimmick, Truth or Consequences was listed as his hometown.


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ Parker, Quentin (2010). Welcome to Horneytown, North Carolina, Population: 15: An insider's guide to 201 of the world's weirdest and wildest places. Adams Media. pp. xii. 
  3. ^ a b Lund, John W.; Witcher, James C. (December 2002). "Truth or Consequences, New Mexico– A Spa City" (PDF). GHC Bulletin. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ Burch, David (2003). "Hay-Yo-Kay Hot Springs and Spa in Truth or Consequences". 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ David, Leonard (2007-09-04). "Spaceport America: First Looks at a New Space Terminal". Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  8. ^ Simon Hancock and Alan Moloney (20 June 2009). "Work starts on New Mexico spaceport". BBC. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  9. ^ Ohtake, Miyoko (August 25, 2007). "Virgin Galactic Preps for Liftoff at World's First Commercial Spaceport". Wired Magazine (15:10). Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  10. ^ "The Zygon Invasion: The Fact File". 

External links[edit]