Dulce was founded by the Gomez family as a ranching operation. The original name was "Agua Dulce," Spanish for "fresh water" because of the presence of natural springs that provided good drinking waterfor the people and their animals. The original homestead was founded in 1877 by Jose Eugenio Gomez. The Jicarilla Apache reservation was established in 1887 when the Apache people were forced into a reservation. The Gomez Ranch is currently kept under Manuel Gomez ownership, though surrounded by reservation land.
Dulce is the southernmost urban area with a subarctic humid continental climate in North America where summer is mild and short due to high altitude and rigorous winter. Going further south than the Dfb in low altitude and in latitude similar to the southern limit of the Dfa in the center of the country.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,623 people, 779 households, and 595 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 202.6 people per square mile. There were 899 housing units at an average density of 69.4 per square mile. The racial makeup of the CDP is 3.43% White, 0.04% African American, 90.66% Native American, 4.35% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.74% of the population. There were 779 households out of which 48.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.8% were married couplesliving together, 28.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.6% were non-families. 19.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.34 and the average family size was 3.83. In the CDP, the population was spread out with 40.0% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 4.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males. The median income for a household in the CDP was $26,818, and the median income for a family was $29,402. Males had a median income of $26,055 versus $21,623 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $10,108. About 24.8% of families and 29.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.6% of those under age 18 and 41.4% of those age 65 or over. Update from 2010 U. S. Census. By 2010, the population had increased 4.8% to 2,743 people. The population quoted above for 2000 is slightly off. The Census Bureau reports 2,618 people at that time; perhaps there was a revision of the 2000 figures.
Children from Dulce attend the schools of ISD 21, which has approximately 650 students from kindergarten to high school.