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Hidalgo County, Texas

Hidalgo County, Texas
Hidalgo County
The Hidalgo County Courthouse at Edinburg in 2002.
Flag of Hidalgo County, Texas
Map of Texas highlighting Hidalgo County
Location in the state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1852
Named for Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
Seat Edinburg
Largest city McAllen
 • Total 1,583 sq mi (4,100 km2)
 • Land 1,571 sq mi (4,069 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (31 km2), 0.8%
 • (2010) 774,769
 • Density 493/sq mi (190/km²)
Congressional districts 15th, 28th, 34th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website .us.tx.hidalgo.cowww

Hidalgo County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 774,769,[1] making it the eighth-most populous county in Texas. The county seat is Edinburg,[2] while the largest city is McAllen. The county is named for Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the priest who raised the call for Mexico's independence from Spain.[3]

Hidalgo County is also designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and is one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States.


  • Geography 1
    • Major highways 1.1
  • Adjacent counties and municipalities 2
    • National protected areas 2.1
  • Demographics 3
  • Metropolitan Statistical Area 4
  • Government and politics 5
    • County services 5.1
    • County government 5.2
  • Education 6
  • Media 7
    • Newspapers 7.1
    • Radio stations 7.2
    • Magazine 7.3
  • Communities 8
    • Cities 8.1
    • Census-designated places 8.2
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,583 square miles (4,100 km2), of which 1,571 square miles (4,070 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (0.8%) is water.[4] The northern part of the county has sandy and light loamy soils over deep reddish or mottled, clayey subsoils. In some areas limestone lies within forty inches of the surface. The southern part of the county has moderately deep to deep loamy surfaces over clayey subsoils. Along the Rio Grande brown to red clays occur. Hidalgo County is in the South Texas Plains vegetation area, which features grasses, mesquite, live oaks, and chaparral. Native plants, reduced in recent years by extensive farming, include chapote, guayacan, ebony, huisache, brasil, and yucca.

In 1982, 91 percent of the land was in farms and ranches, with 52 percent of the farmland under cultivation and 85 percent irrigated; 51 to 60 percent of the county was considered prime farmland. The primary crops were sorghum, cotton, corn, and vegetables; Hidalgo County led Texas counties in the production of cabbage, onions, cantaloupes, carrots, and watermelons. The primary fruits and nuts grown in the county were grapefruit, oranges, and pecans. Cattle, milk cows, and hogs were the primary livestock products. Natural resources included caliche, sand, gravel, oil, and gas. Oil and gas production in 1982 totaled 98,487,211,000 cubic feet (2.7888472×109 m3) of gas-well gas, 139,995 barrels of crude oil, 1,101,666 barrels of condensate, and 15,784,000 cubic feet (447,000 m3) of casinghead gas. The climate is subtropical and subhumid. Temperatures range from an average low of 47 °F (8 °C) in January to an average high to 96 °F (36 °C) in July; the average annual temperature is 73 °F (23 °C). Rainfall averages 23 inches (580 mm) a year, and the growing season lasts for 320 days of the year.[5]

Major highways

Adjacent counties and municipalities

National protected areas


As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 774,769 people residing in the county. 88.0% were White, 1.0% Asian, 0.6% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 8.8% of some other race and 1.3% of two or more races. 90.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 569,463 people, 156,824 households, and 132,829 families residing in the county. The population density was 363 people per square mile (140/km²). There were 192,658 housing units at an average density of 123 per square mile (47/km²). The racial makeup of the county is 77.71% White, 0.49% Black or African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 18.64% from other races, and 2.12% from two or more races. 88.35% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 156,824 households out of which 49.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.00% were married couples living together, 15.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.30% were non-families. 13.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.60 and the average family size was 3.96.

In the county, the population was spread out with 35.30% under the age of 18, 11.30% from 18 to 24, 27.60% from 25 to 44, 16.00% from 45 to 64, and 9.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 94.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $24,863, and the median income for a family was $26,009. Males had a median income of $21,299 versus $18,297 for females. The per capita income for the county was $9,899. About 31.30% of families and 35.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.50% of those under age 18 and 23.30% of those age 65 or over. The county's per-capita income makes it one of the poorest counties in the United States. In 2009, it was tied with Bronx County, New York for "the greatest share of people receiving food stamps: 29 percent."[10]

Las Milpas, previously unincorporated, was annexed by Pharr in 1987.[11]

Metropolitan Statistical Area

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Hidalgo County as the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area.[12] The United States Census Bureau ranked the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area as the 70th most populous metropolitan statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.[13]

The Office of Management and Budget has further designated the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area as a component of the more extensive McAllen-Edinburg, TX Combined Statistical Area,[12] the 60th most populous combined statistical area and the 67th most populous primary statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.[13][14]

Government and politics

Hidalgo County tends to vote for the Democratic Party, although there is representation of the Republican Party in some of the offices that affect the county. Hidalgo County is represented by Ruben Hinojosa of Texas's 15th congressional district, and Henry Cuellar of Texas's 28th congressional district. In the 2012 presidential election, 70.4% of the voters voted for Barack Obama while 28.6% voted for Mitt Romney. The last time Hidalgo County voted Republican was in the 1972 presidential election when Richard Nixon won over 55% of the votes.

County services

The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office (Texas) operates jail facilities and is the primary provider of Law Enforcement services to the unincorporated areas of the county.

County government

Position Name Party
  County Judge Ramon Garcia Democratic
  Commissioner, Precinct 1 A.C. Cuellar, Jr. Democratic
  Commissioner, Precinct 2 Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu Democratic
  Commissioner, Precinct 3 Joe M. Flores Democratic
  Commissioner, Precinct 4 Joseph Palacios Democratic
  Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Democratic
  District Clerk Laura Hinojosa Democratic
  County Clerk Arturo Guajardo, Jr. Democratic
  Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra Democratic
  Tax Assessor-Collector Pablo "Paul" Villarreal Democratic
  Treasurer Norma Garcia Democratic
  Constable, Precinct 1 Celestino Avila, Jr. Democratic
  Constable, Precinct 2 Martin Cantu Democratic
  Constable, Precinct 3 Lazaro Gallardo, Jr. Democratic
  Constable, Precinct 4 Atanacio "J.R." Gaitan Democratic


The following school districts serve Hidalgo County

In addition, the county is served by the multi-county South Texas Independent School District. The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville operates three PK-8th Grade schools, two lower-level elementary schools and two high schools.

The Edinburg campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (formerly University of Texas-Pan American)is located in Hidalgo County, which along with neighboring Starr County is part of the South Texas College.

50% of Hidalgo Country adults don't know how to read. [15]



Radio stations




Census-designated places

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "LAS MILPAS, TX." Handbook of Texas. Retrieved on September 27, 2013.
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • Historic photos of Hidalgo County hosted by the Portal to Texas History
  • Handbook of Texas OnlineHidalgo County in at the University of Texas
  • Hidalgo County Profile from the Texas Association of Counties
  • Hidalgo County at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2000)

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