Roughly 35 miles south of Albuquerque, Belen is a town in central New Mexico named after the Spanish word for “Bethlehem.” The town was first settled by Spanish colonists in the 1700s and has been a major transportation hub for more than a century, garnering it the nickname the “Hub City.” Belen currently has a population of approximately 7,500 residents, many of whom work in Albuquerque. Among the town’s attractions are its many parks, its annual Mexican barbeque festival, and being the home of waffle fries.

For schooling, local residents utilize the 11 schools of the Belen Consolidated School District. The district, which has approximately 4,700 students currently enrolled, is made up of a single high school, one middle school, seven elementary schools, one alternative school and a family school for home-schooling. In addition to its public schooling options, Calvary Chapel Academy Christian School and St. Mary’s Catholic School make up the private school options for the town. Although there is no higher schooling in town, the University of New Mexico is in Albuquerque, only a short drive away.

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In terms of different types of real estate, Belen has a wide variety ranging from traditional pueblo-style homes, to new developments, to large estates near the edge of town. Up almost 11% from the previous year, the median home value of Belen in 2013 was $112,700.

Being such a hub of transportation, there are several different pathways in and out of town. Belen currently sits at the juncture of the north-south, as well as the east-west BNSF railroad lines. Additionally, the town is split by I-25, which leads to Albuquerque in the north and Las Cruces to the south. Furthermore, the Rio Metro Regional Transit District offers public bus transport between Belen and Albuquerque, in addition to other towns in Valencia County.