|— City —|
|Nickname(s): Capital of the Rio Grande Valley|
|• Mayor||Christopher Boswell|
|• City Manager||Carlos Yerena|
|• City||34.3 sq mi (88.9 km2)|
|• Land||34.1 sq mi (88.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)|
|Elevation||39 ft (12 m)|
|• Density||1,689.6/sq mi (652.4/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1337354|
Harlingen (// HAR-lin-jən) is a city in Cameron County in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, United States, about 30 miles (48 km) from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The city covers more than 34 square miles (88 km2), and is the second largest city in Cameron County and the sixth largest in the Rio Grande Valley. As of the 2010 Census the city had a total population of 64,849 and grew 12.5% since the 2000 Census. It is also the city with the cheapest cost of living in the United States.
Harlingen is a principal city of the Brownsville–Harlingen metropolitan area, which is part of the larger Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville combined statistical area, included in the Matamoros–Brownsville metropolitan area.
Harlingen's strategic location at the intersection of U.S. highways 77 and 83 in northwestern Cameron County fostered its development as a distribution, shipping, and industrial center. In 1904 Lon C. Hill envisioned the Arroyo Colorado as a commercial waterway. He named the town he founded on the north bank after the Frisian city of Harlingen, Netherlands. The town's post office was established that year. The first school opened with fifteen pupils in 1905 near the Hill home, the first residence built in Harlingen. Harlingen incorporated on April 15, 1910, when the population totaled 1,126. In 1920 the census listed 1,748. The local economy at first was almost entirely agricultural. Major crops were vegetables and cotton.
World War II military installations in Harlingen caused a jump in population from 23,000 in 1950 to 41,000 by 1960. Harlingen Army Air Field preceded Harlingen Air Force Base, which closed in 1962. The city's population fell to 33,603 by 1972, then climbed to 40,824 by 1980. Local enterprise, focused on the purchase and utilization of the abandoned base and related housing, laid the groundwork for continuing progress through a diversified economy. The estimated population in July 1985 was 49,000, of which about 80 percent was Hispanic. In the late 1980s income from tourism ranked second only to citrus fruit production, with grain and cotton next in order. The addition of wholesale and retail trade, light and medium manufacturing, and an array of service industries has broadened the economic base. Large-scale construction for multifaceted retirement communities is a new phase of industrial development.
The city of Harlingen operates a busy industrial airpark where bombers used to land. At Valley International Airport the Confederate Air Force (now Commemorative Air Force) occupied hangar and apron space until 1991. The first hospital in Harlingen opened in 1923 and consisted of little more than two barracks as wings. The Valley Baptist Hospital was built nearby a few years later, and eventually the older hospital closed. The Valley Baptist Hospital has grown into the Valley Baptist Medical Center. The city's outstanding network of health care specialists and facilities parallels the growth of the still-expanding center. Also serving regional health needs are the South Texas State Chest Hospital, the State Hospital for Children, and the Rio Grande State Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center.
Besides public and church-affiliated schools, Harlingen students attend the University Preparatory School, the Marine Military Academy, Texas State Technical College, or Rio Grande Vocational and Rehabilitation Classes. Civic and cultural development in Harlingen has kept pace with the growth of the community. Fraternal orders and civic organizations operating in the community include Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist, 20-30, VFW, American Legion, and the Lower Valley Cotillion Club; a woman's building is maintained as a center for the activities of the many woman's clubs active in the city. Development and appreciation of the fine arts are encouraged by organizations such as the Rio Grande Valley Art League, the Art Forum, and the Rio Grande Valley Civic Association, which stages its winter concert series at the 2,300-seat Harlingen Municipal Auditorium. Each March Harlingen is the site of the Rio Grande Valley International Music Festival. The city has two newspapers—the Harlingen Press, a weekly paper established in 1951, and the Valley Morning Star, a daily established in 1911. In 1990 the population was 48,735. In 1992 the city was named an All-America City, cited especially for its volunteer spirit and self-help programs. In 2000 the community had 57,564 inhabitants and 2,549 businesses.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.3 square miles (89 km2), of which, 34.1 square miles (88 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (0.76%) is water.
Soils in Harlingen range in texture from fine sandy loam to clay. They are neutral to moderately alkaline with pH of 7.2 to 8.5 (most commonly around 8.2), and are moderately well drained or well drained in most cases. There are small areas of poorly drained, saline clays.
|Climate data for Harlingen, Texas|
|Record high °F (°C)||94
|Average high °F (°C)||69.7
|Average low °F (°C)||49.7
|Record low °F (°C)||14
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.23
|Source: National Weather Service|
Texas Almanac: 1850-2010
As of the census of 2000, there were 57,564 people, 19,021 households, and 14,360 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,689.6 people per square mile (652.4/km²). There were 23,008 housing units at an average density of 675.3 per square mile (260.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.68% White, 0.92% Black or African American, 0.52% Native American, 0.88% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 16.39% from other races, and 2.58% from two or more races. 72.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race; most are of Mexican descent due to the proximity of the border.
As in other cities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a significant part of Harlingen's transient population and a significant contributor to its economy consists of "Winter Texans." Winter Texans are generally retirees from the northern Midwestern states and Canada who come to escape the northern winter weather between roughly November and March.
There were 19,021 households, out of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18, 55.6% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 20.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.44.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.7% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,296, and the median income for a family was $34,015. Males had a median income of $27,014 versus $21,795 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,886. About 19.3% of families and 24.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.7% of those under age 18 and 16.2% of those age 65 or over.
Sports and recreation 
Harlingen is the home of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, a North American Baseball League Minor league baseball team. The team has existed from 1994 to 2003 and from 2006 to the present time. In 2000, the WhiteWings won the Texas-Louisiana League championship.
Valley Race Park is a racetrack for Greyhound dogs. Valley Race Park was the first greyhound track in Texas to accept Pari-Mutuel wagering. The facility is fully air-conditioned and the grandstands totals over 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2). The grandstand has over 400 monitors to pick-up the 50 plus Simulcast Live Racing signals from the top Greyhound and Horse tracks from all around the United States. Valley Race Park shut down in the fall of 1995 but reopened five years later, in the spring of 2000.
The World Birding Center has a location in Harlingen's Hugh Ramsey Nature Park. Work continues on designs for a new 7,250-square-foot (674 m2) visitors’ center at Hugh Ramsey Nature Park. The two-story center will include a gift shop, observation tower, meeting rooms and enclosed viewing areas. Meanwhile, visitors at both Ramsey Park and the Thicket will find parking and extensive trails, as well as maps, information and public restrooms.
Harlingen Art Forum located on historic Jackson St, provides fine art for the Rio Grande Valley. This Artist Coop is a non profit organization that provides community outreach related to art and holds several exhibits a year. They present an annual art show in South Padre Island, which provides funding for their scholarship program and other community projects.
The International Cat Association (TICA), a registry of pedigreed and household pet cats worldwide and the organizing body for cat shows in over two dozen countries, has been based in Harlingen since 1982.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2010)|
The city is governed by a Mayor elected at-large and a 5 Member City Commission representing 5 individual Single-Member District. All seats are eligible for election every 3 years. The Current Mayor is Mayor Chris Boswell. The City Commissioners are District 1 Danny Castillo, District 2 Robert Leftwich, District 3 Mike Mezmar, District 4 Basilio "Chino" Sanchez, and District 5 Victor Leal.
The City Commission meets on the First and Third Wednesdays of each month at 5:30 pm at City Hall.
Harlingen is home to the U.S. Immigration Court, one of 52 such courts in the U.S. that adjudicate immigration cases in the United States. The chief function of the Immigration Court is to conduct removal proceedings, which are administrative proceedings to determine the removability of non-citizens present within the United States.
K–12 schools 
The city is covered by the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District and South Texas Independent School District. Harlingen is home to three high schools - Early College High School, Harlingen High School and Harlingen High School South. Saint Anthony Catholic School is a parochial school for grades K-8 (with a 3 & 4 year old Montessori Program). It is one of the few Catholic school in the city of Harlingen with a current enrollment of 220 students.
Universities and colleges 
The city has a branch of the Texas State Technical College, a two-year technical school and access to University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College in nearby Brownsville, South Texas College in McAllen, and University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg.
In 2002, the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio opened the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen. Third and fourth-year medical students from the San Antonio campus can complete their clinical rotations in the Rio Grande Valley based out of the RAHC. The RAHC also supports an Internal Medicine Residency Program. The RAHC medical library is open to the public.
Public libraries 
The Harlingen Public Library serves local residents.
Media and journalism 
- XHRIO-TV (Channel 2, Matamoros, Tamaulipas (Mexico), licensee: Univision, Fox affiliate)
- KGBT-TV (Channel 4, Harlingen, Texas, licensee: Barrington Broadcasting, CBS affiliate)
- KRGV-TV (Channel 5, Weslaco, Texas, licensee: Mobile Video Tapes, Inc., ABC affiliate)
- XHAB-TV (Channel 7 Televisa/Matamoros Mexico, McAllen, Harlingen-Brownsville)
- XERV-TV (Channel 9 Televisa/Matamoros Mexico, McAllen, Harlingen-Brownsville)
- XHREY-TV (Channel 12 TV AZTECA NORESTE/Reynosa Mexico, Rio Grande City-McAllen-Weslaco)
- XHOR-TV (Channel 14 TV AZTECA NORESTE/Reynosa Mexico, Rio Grande City-McAllen-Weslaco)
- KHGN-TV (Cable Channel 17, Harlingen, Texas, operator: Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, Public Relations Office.)
- KVEO (Channel 23, Brownsville, Texas, licensee: Comcorp of Texas License Corp., NBC affiliate)
- KTLM (Channel 40, Rio Grande City, Texas, licensee: Sunbelt Media Co., Telemundo affiliate)
- KNVO (Channel 48, McAllen, Texas, licensee: Entravision Holdings, LLC., Univision affiliate)
- XHVTV (Channel 54 Multimedios TV/Reynosa/Matamoros Mexico, McAllen-Weslaco/ Harlingen-Brownsville)
- KTIZ-LP (Channel 52, Harlingen, Texas, licensee: Orbitz Broadcasting Corp., ION Television affiliate)
- KMBH (Channel 60, Harlingen, Texas, licensee: RGV Educational Broadcasting, Inc. PBS)
- KHID 88.1 FM PBS/NPR
- KBNR 88.3 FM Radio Manantial (Spanish Christian)
- KOIR Radio Esperanza 88.5 (Spanish Christian)
- KMBH-FM 88.9 FM PBS/NPR
- XMLS 91.3 FM (Top-40)
- KTER 90.7 FM (Religious)
- KCAS The New 91.5 / "Know Christ As Savior" (English Traditional Christian & Southern Gospel)
- KESO 92.7 FM (Spanish)
- KFRQ Q94.5 (Classic/Modern/Hard Rock)
- KBTQ Recuerdo 96.1 FM (Mexican Oldies)
- KVMV Family Friendly & Commercial Free 96.9 FM (Adult Contemporary Christian)
- KGBT-FM Solamente Exitos 98.5 FM (Mexican Norteña)
- KKPS Que Pasa 99.5 FM (Puro Trancazos)
- KTEX South Texas Country 100.3 FM (Country)
- KNVO-FMJose 101.1 FM (Spanish Hits)
- KBUC 102.1 FM Super Tejano (Tejano)
- KBFM Wild 104.1 FM (Hip-Hop/R&B)
- KRIO-FM 104.9 "Jack" FM (Adult Hits)
- KQXX 105.5 FM "The X" (Classic Rock)
- XHNA 105.9 FM (Spanish)
- KBIC 105.7 FM (Spanish)
- KHKZ Kiss 106.3 FM (Hit Music/Top 40)
- KVLY Mix 107.9 FM (Adult Contemporary)
- KURV 710 AM Talk
- KVJY 840 AM Fox Sports
- KRIO 910 AM Spanish
- KUBR 1210 AM Spanish
- KSOX 1240 AM Fox Sports
- KRGE 1290 AM Spanish
- XRDO 1450 AM Spanish Talk
- XEMS 1490 AM Spanish
- KGBT 1530 AM Spanish
- KIRT 1580 AM Spanish
- KVNS 1700 AM Oldies
The city's airport, Valley International Airport (HRL), has a service area that encompasses the lower Rio Grande Valley and northern Mexico, serving more than two million people on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Valley International Airport lies in the northeastern portion of Harlingen and offers a border-crossing option via the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios. The airport has aligned itself as the Air Cargo Hub of the Rio Grande Valley and works closely with carriers such as DHL, FedEx, BAX Global, Continental Express Cargo, and Southwest Airlines Cargo. In 1975, Southwest Airlines began to fly to the Rio Grande Valley via Valley International Airport with four roundtrips each business day. Southwest currently offers non-stop flights between Harlingen and Austin (AUS), Dallas-Love Field (DAL), Houston-Hobby (HOU), and San Antonio (SAT). Additional airlines that serve the airport include United Express to Houston-Intercontinental (IAH) and Sun Country Airlines with seasonal, non-stop service to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) during the winter season from October through May.
Two six-lane divided highways intersect in Harlingen: U.S. Highway 77 and U.S. Highway 83. U.S. Highway 77 connects to Interstate 37 at Corpus Christi. U.S. Highway 83 connects with Interstate 35 at Laredo.
International trade bridges 
The Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios is a state-of-the-art international bridge located just 10 miles (16 km) south of Harlingen. With a full U.S. Customs inspection facility that accommodates up to 75 trucks simultaneously, the Free Trade Bridge is acclaimed as the most time-efficient border crossing in the Rio Grande Valley. The Free Trade Bridge accesses a four-lane highway in northern Mexico, offering a fast route to the border cities of Matamoros and Reynosa, as well as the industrial city of Monterrey. With the completion of Mexico's State of Tamaulipas new 'autopista', the Free Trade Bridge will provide a seamless highway connection for more efficient distribution of industrial products to and from interior Mexico.
The Port of Harlingen is located four miles (6 km) east of Harlingen on Highway 106. It is 25 miles (40 km) West of Mile Marker 646 on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which stretches from the Mexican border at Brownsville, along the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico to St. Marks, Florida. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway provides over 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of protected waterway, 12' deep and 125' wide. The Harlingen Channel is maintained to a width of 125 feet (38 m) and a depth of 12 feet (3.7 m) and is supplied by the Arroyo Colorado, a fresh water river.
Union Pacific Railroad has a local terminal and switching yard in Harlingen. The Harlingen Industrial Parks and Port of Harlingen have direct rail access.
Harlingen has a rich history as a railroad town. The Southern Pacific depot has been razed, however, it was one of four SP depots in the Rio Grande valley (the others are Brownsville, now a museum; McAllen, now a law office; and Edinburg, now the home of the Chamber of Commerce.)
Health care 
Harlingen Medical Center is the advanced general acute care hospital in Harlingen. HMC specializes in advanced cardiovascular care, orthopedics, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology. The state-of-the-art facility opened in 2003 and boasts over 100 beds, all private rooms. Harlingen Medical Center provides some of the most advanced and up to date medical care in the Rio Grande Valley.
Valley Baptist Medical Center (VBMC) was founded in 1925 on F Street in Harlingen. It is currently located at Ed Carey Drive and Pease Street. It is a 600-bed not-for-profit hospital that also serves as the regional trauma center, including a stroke unit. VBMC also operates a country club, a restaurant (Magnolia Grille), and an exercise facility (Valley Baptist Health & Fitness Center).
Harlingen's third hospital, Solara Hospital is a long-term acute care facility where patients can receive treatment for as long as a month, compared to general hospitals where patients are treated for shorter periods. The 41–bed hospital is owned by Solara Healthcare of Dallas, Valley Baptist Health System and local physicians.
Valley Diagnostic Clinic was a large outpatient facility with both primary care physicians and specialists in fields such as cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, etc. After 55 years of operation, it closed under somewhat obscure circumstances in October 2009.
The Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) is a teaching hospital that serves as an extension campus of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Su Clinica Familiar offers services tailored to the border region, concentrating in the areas of dentistry, internal medicine, women’s health and pediatrics. Services are mostly tailored for the poor. It has a teaching partnership with the nearby Regional Academic Health Center.
Valley AirCare, Inc. provides emergency medical and critical patient transport helicopter service within 150 miles (240 km) of its Harlingen base and fixed-wing service throughout North America.
The South Texas VA Health Care Center is a satellite outpatient clinic of The Department of Veterans Affairs. The center opened in 2007 and offers primary care, laboratory, mental health, nutrition, social work, and additional services to eligible veterans.
The Harlingen Ambulatory Surgery and Specialty Outpatient Center will provide care to veterans and is expected to open in January 2011. Orthopedics, Urology, Gastroenterology, Otolaryngology (ENT), Infectious Disease, Dermatology, Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology, Rheumatology, Amputee/Prosthetics Clinic and Endoscopy services will be offered when the center opens.
The Rio Grande State Center is the only public provider in the Rio Grande Valley of healthcare, inpatient mental health services and long term services for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The center's psychiatric hospital is a 55-bed in-patient facility and the long-term program is a 75-bed residential facility. The outpatient medical clinic provides primary care services to adults in south Texas.
The Ronald McDonald House on Treasure Hills Boulevard opened in 1998 and is funded by private donations, grants, and fundraising events. It is a "home away from home" for families of children being treated for serious illness or injury. Many families travel to large medical centers to get the best treatment for their children. Ronald McDonald Houses provide a safe, comfortable place for a family to stay as they face the trauma of their child's illness. The family can stay in the House at a very nominal charge while their child is being diagnosed and treated for illness. There are 232 Houses in the United States and 22 other countries, providing approximately 6,000 rooms every night at Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide. Each Ronald McDonald House is run by a local non-profit organization of members of the medical community, business and civic leaders, parents/volunteers, and McDonald's restaurant owners and operators.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.". CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- Web soil survey[not specific enough to verify]
- "National Weather Service Forecast Office: Brownsville, TX". Archived from the original on 2012-06-06. Retrieved 06 June 2012.
- U.S. Decennial Census
- Texas Almanac: County Population History 1850-2010
- City of Harlingen, January 2013.
- "Parole Division Region IV." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
- "Post Office Location DOWNTOWN HARLINGEN." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 9, 2010.
- "Post Office Location - HARLINGEN." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 9, 2010.
- Harlingen Medical Center
- Valley Baptist Medical Center
- Valley Diagnostic
- Regional Academic Health Center
- City of Harlingen
- Harlingen Economic Development Corporation
- Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Harlingen and Rio Grande Valley Guide