Rio Rancho (Spanish: Río Rancho) is the largest city and economic hub of Sandoval County, part of the expansive Albuquerque metropolitan area, in the U.S. state of New Mexico. A small portion of the city extends into northern Bernalillo County.
It is the third-largest city in New Mexico, and one of the most rapidly growing. As of the 2010 census, Rio Rancho had a population of 87,521. The name Rio Rancho derives from Los Ranchos, the Spanish colonial ranches established along the Rio Grande in the Albuquerque Basin, and throughout historic Nuevo México. There were large ranches also in neighboring Corrales. Since the late 20th century, it has developed as a suburb of Albuquerque.
The great majority of the territory of Rio Rancho was originally part of the Town of Alameda Grant, which was founded by Spanish colonial settlers in 1710. It was acquired by the United States in 1848, after it defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American War. (Mexico had been independent of Spain since 1821.) The ranches were used for cattle and sheep.