Bexar County, Texas

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Bexar County, Texas
Bexar county courthouse.jpg
The Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio
Map of Texas highlighting Bexar County
Location in the state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded December 20, 1836
Named for Presidio San Antonio de Bexar
Seat San Antonio
Largest city San Antonio
Area
 • Total 1,256 sq mi (3,253 km2)
 • Land 1,240 sq mi (3,212 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (41 km2), 1.3%
Population
 • (2010) 1,714,773
 • Density 1,408/sq mi (544/km²)
Congressional districts 15th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 28th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.bexar.org

Bexar County (/ˈbɛər/ bear;[1] Spanish: Béxar [ˈbexar]) is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,714,773, and a 2013 estimate put the population at 1,817,610.[2] It is the 17th-most populous county in the nation and the fourth-most populated in Texas. Its county seat is San Antonio,[3] the second-most populous city in Texas and the seventh-largest city in the United States.

Bexar County is included in the San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bexar County has become a major bellwether in presidential elections.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Bexar County was created on December 20, 1836, and encompassed almost the entire western portion of the Republic of Texas. This included the disputed areas of western New Mexico northward to Wyoming. After statehood, 128 counties were carved out of its area.

The county was named for San Antonio de Béxar, one of the 23 Mexican municipalities (administrative divisions) of Texas at the time of its independence. San Antonio de Béxar—originally Villa de San Fernando de Béxar—was the first civil government established by the Spanish in the province of Texas. Specifically, the municipality was created in 1731 when 55 Canary Islanders settled near the system of missions that had been established around the source of the San Antonio River. The new settlement was named after the Presidio San Antonio de Béjar, the Spanish military outpost that protected the missions. The presidio, located at the San Pedro Springs, was founded in 1718 and named for Viceroy Balthasar Manuel de Zúñiga y Guzmán Sotomayor y Sarmiento, second son of the Duke of Béjar (a town in Spain). The modern City of San Antonio in the U.S. State of Texas also derived its name from San Antonio de Béjar.

BiblioTech, reported to be the first bookless public library, opened in Bexar County in 2013.[4]

Geography[edit]

Bexar County is in south-central Texas, about 190 miles (305 km) west of Houston and 140 miles (225 km) inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

The Balcones Escarpment bisects the county from west to northeast; to the north of the escarpment are the rocky hills, springs and canyons of the Texas Hill Country. South of the escarpment are Blackland Prairie and the South Texas plains. The San Antonio River rises from springs north of Downtown San Antonio, and flows southward and southeastward through the county.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,256 square miles (3,250 km2), of which 1,240 square miles (3,200 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (1.3%) is water.[5]

Major highways[edit]

Bexar County has a comprehensive "wagon wheel" freeway system, with radial freeways and beltways that encircle Downtown San Antonio, allowing for simplified countywide freeway access, in a manner much like the freeways around Houston or Dallas. San Antonio is unique, however, in that unlike Houston or Dallas, none of these highways are currently tolled.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 6,052
1860 14,454 138.8%
1870 16,043 11.0%
1880 30,470 89.9%
1890 49,266 61.7%
1900 69,422 40.9%
1910 119,676 72.4%
1920 202,096 68.9%
1930 292,533 44.7%
1940 338,176 15.6%
1950 500,460 48.0%
1960 687,151 37.3%
1970 830,460 20.9%
1980 988,800 19.1%
1990 1,185,394 19.9%
2000 1,392,931 17.5%
2010 1,714,773 23.1%
Est. 2013 1,817,610 6.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
2012 Estimate[2]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 1,714,773 people residing in the county. 72.9% were White, 7.5% Black or African American, 2.4% Asian, 0.8% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 12.7% of some other race and 3.5% of two or more races. 58.7% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census[7] of 2000, 1,392,931 people, 488,942 households, and 345,681 families were residing in the county. The population density was 1,117 inhabitants per square mile (431/km2). There were 521,359 housing units at an average density of 418 per square mile (161/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.86% White, 7.18% Black or African American, 0.80% Native American, 1.61% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 17.80% from other races, and 3.64% from two or more races. About 54.35% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of 488,942 households, 36.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.50% were married couples living together, 15.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% were not families. About 24.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.33.

In the county, the population was distributed as 28.50% under the age of 18, 10.70% from 18 to 24, 30.60% from 25 to 44, 19.90% from 45 to 64, and 10.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.20 males.

The median income for a household was $38,328, and for a family was $43,724. Males had a median income of $30,756 versus $24,920 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,363. About 12.70% of families and 15.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.40% of those under age 18 and 12.20% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit]

Presidential Election Results 1960–2012
Year Democratic Republican
2012 51.56% 264,856 47.04% 241,617
2008 52.23% 275,527 46.69% 246,275
2004 44.39% 210,976 54.85% 260,698
2000 44.86% 185,158 52.24% 215,613
1996 49.74% 180,308 44.59% 161,619
1992 41.54% 172,513 40.65% 168,816
1988 47.07% 174,036 52.25% 193,192
1984 40.18% 136,947 59.65% 203,319
1980 44.65% 137,729 51.73% 159,578
1976 54.00% 146,581 44.64% 121,176
1972 39.82% 91,662 59.76% 137,572
1968 51.56% 95,325 39.46% 72,951
1964 66.86% 108,658 32.90% 53,469
1960 53.74% 75,373 45.59% 63,934

Bexar County has become a major bellwether in United States presidential elections. Since the 1972 election, the winner of Bexar County was the same candidate who won the general election. In the 2008 election, Barack Obama carried Bexar County with 52.23% of the vote. This margin was similar to his national figure of 52.92%. In the 2012 election, Barack Obama held the county with a smaller margin, which was again similar to his national share.

Five congressional districts are located either entirely or partly within Bexar County. As of the 113th United States Congress, one House member is a Republican and four are Democrats.

Representative Party Home Town/City District
  Joaquin Castro D San Antonio 20
  Lamar S. Smith R San Antonio 21
  Pete Gallego D Alpine 23
  Henry Cuellar D Laredo 28
  Lloyd Doggett D Austin 35

Four Texas Senate districts are located either entirely or partly within Bexar County; three senators are Democrats, and one is Republican.[when?]

Senator Party Home Town/City District
  Carlos I. Uresti D San Antonio 19
  Judith Zaffirini D Laredo 21
  Donna Campbell R San Antonio 25
  Leticia R. Van de Putte D San Antonio 26

Ten Texas House of Representatives districts are located within Bexar County; eight representatives are Democrats, and two are Republicans, including the current Speaker of the House Joe Straus.[when?]

Representative Party Home Town/City District
  Trey Martinez Fischer D San Antonio 116
  Philip Cortez D San Antonio 117
  Joe Farias D San Antonio 118
  Roland Gutierrez D San Antonio 119
  Ruth McClendon D San Antonio 120
  Joe Straus R San Antonio 121
  Lyle Larson R San Antonio 122
  Mike Villarreal D San Antonio 123
  Jose Menendez D San Antonio 124
  Justin Rodriguez D San Antonio 125

Notable people[edit]

Further information: Notables of San Antonio, Texas

Communities[edit]

* Only a very small portion of Cibolo is in Bexar County.
** Fair Oaks Ranch has territory in Bexar County, Comal County and Kendall County.
*** Selma and Schertz each have territory in Bexar County, Comal County and Guadalupe County.
**** Lytle has territory in Atascosa County, Bexar County and Medina County.

Military installations[edit]

Corrections[edit]

The Bexar County jail facilities are at 200 North Comal in downtown San Antonio.[9] In late 2012, press reports noted an increase in the number of suicides at the facility. The issue was a topic of debate in the election for sheriff that year. The jail held an average of about 3,800 prisoners in 2012, making it the third-largest in the state.[10] Total Jail’s Capacity: 4,563 detainees.[11]

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates the Dominguez Unit, a state jail for men, in an unincorporated section of Bexar County.[12]

Libraries[edit]

In the fall of 2013, Bexar County opened BiblioTech - Bexar County's Digital Library, the nation's first bookless library.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "General San Antonio Information". 
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "2013 Year in Review". American Libraries (American Library Association) 45 (1/2): 30. January–February 2014. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  8. ^ Ambrose, Stephen (1983). Eisenhower: (vol. 1) Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect (1893–1952). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 56. 
  9. ^ "BCSO Location and Driving Directions". Bexar County. Retrieved September 14, 2008. 
  10. ^ Why have jail suicides soared under Sheriff Ortiz's watch?, by Michael Barajas, SA Current, 17 October 2012
  11. ^ "Bexar County Jail". 
  12. ^ "Dominguez (BX)". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved September 14, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Nation's first bookless library opens in San Antonio". Dallas Morning News. January 3, 2014. 
  • Stephens, A. Ray, and William M. Holmes, Historical Atlas of Texas. University of Oklahoma Press, 1989. ISBN 0-8061-2307-9

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°27′N 98°31′W / 29.45°N 98.52°W / 29.45; -98.52