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 and also one of the fastest expanding cities in New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, Rio Rancho had a population of 87,521. The name Rio Rancho derives from Los Ranchos (the ranches) that stretched along the Rio Grande in the Albuquerque Basin, and throughout historic Nuevo México, including those in neighboring Corrales.
The great majority of Rio Rancho was originally part of the Town of Alameda Grant, which was founded by Spanish settlers in 1710. By the early 20th century, much of the land grant had been sold to land investment companies. Amrep Corporation purchased 55,000 acres (22,000 ha) in 1961 and turned the land into a housing development called "Rio Rancho Estates", with the first families moving in the early 1960s. Amrep contracted with Ezio Valentini, one of the original developers of Cape Coral, Florida, to design and implement a unique marketing plan to conduct land-sales, dinner-party program in northern states to open offices in 14 states. The population grew ten-fold between 1970 and 1980 and the City of Rio Rancho was incorporated in 1981.