Albuquerque, hub of the ABQ MSA, is the largest city in New Mexico. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 518,271 as of July 1, 2007 U.S. census estimates and ranks as the 34th largest city in the United States. As of June 2007, the city was the 6th fastest growing in America. With a metropolitan population of 835,120 as of July 1, 2007, Albuquerque is the 60th-largest United States metropolitan area. The Albuquerque MSA population includes the city of Rio Rancho, one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, and a hub for many master-planned communities that are expected to draw future businesses and residents to the area.

Albuquerque is home to the University of New Mexico (UNM), Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories. The Sandia Mountains run along the eastern side of Albuquerque, and the Rio Grande flows through the city, north to south.

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