Cameron County, Texas
Parts of this article (those related to politics, government, and the economy) need to be updated.(March 2019)
|County of Cameron|
The current Cameron County Courthouse in Brownsville
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Ewen Cameron|
|• Total||1,276 sq mi (3,300 km2)|
|• Land||891 sq mi (2,310 km2)|
|• Water||386 sq mi (1,000 km2) 30%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||476/sq mi (184/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
The county was founded in 1848 and is named for Captain Ewen Cameron, a soldier during the Texas Revolution and in the ill-fated Mier Expedition. During the later 19th century and through World War II, Fort Brown was a US Army outpost here, stimulating the development of the city of Brownsville.
Cameron County is part of the Brownsville–Harlingen, TX metropolitan statistical area, as well as the Brownsville–Harlingen–Raymondville combined statistical area, which itself is part of the larger Rio Grande Valley region.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,276 square miles (3,300 km2), of which 891 square miles (2,310 km2) are land and 386 square miles (1,000 km2) (30%) are covered by water. To the east, the county borders the Gulf of Mexico.
- Interstate 2
- Interstate 69E/U.S. Highway 77
- Interstate 169/State Highway 550
- U.S. Highway 83
- U.S. Highway 281
- State Highway 4
- State Highway 48
- State Highway 100
- State Highway 107
- State Highway 345
Adjacent counties and municipalities
National protected areas
- Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (part)
- Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge (part)
- Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, 406,220 people, 119,631 households, and 96,579 families were residing in the county. The population density was 370 people per square mile (143/km2). The 141,924 housing units averaged 132 per square mile (51/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 87.0% White, 0.5% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 9.8% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. About 88.1% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 119,631 households, 50.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.80% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.3% were not families. About 16.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.36, and the average family size was 3.80.
In the county, the age distribution was 33.0% under the age of18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.10% who were 65 or older. The median age was 30.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,264, and for a family was $33,770. Males had a median income of $21,410 versus $15,597 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,695. About 30.0% of families and 34.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.8% of those under age 18 and 24.8% of those age 65 or over.
Within the 2010s decade, a noticeable trend in the county population showed that growth among the county's northern cities (defined as major towns whose city limits lie entirely north or east of U.S. Highway 83 in the county) on average has been greater than those cities on U.S. Highway 83 in the county, suggesting a possible desire among both locals and new residents from outside the Rio Grande Valley to move away from the population centers of the county. This trend has also been shared by nearby Hidalgo County. Los Fresnos, for example, grew by 42.2% from 2010 to 2018. Other major cities, such as Indian Lake, Primera, and Rio Hondo, all grew by more than 15% in the same period. In contrast, the cities of Harlingen, La Feria , and San Benito, all cities along U.S. Highway 83, have seen growths less than 1% in the same period. The city that grew the most among the Highway 83 cities in the county was Brownsville, which grew by 4.4% from 2010 to 2019.
Government and infrastructure
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operates the Port Isabel Service Processing Center, located in an unincorporated area adjacent to the Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport, which is itself owned and operated by the county. The airport has four runways and offers fuel and other general aviation services.
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen stated in 2013 that the corruption in the county judiciary and legal system was so pervasive that most people would not believe it "unless they heard it themselves."
County Judge Carlos Cascos was to step down after eight years in the position in January 2015 to become Secretary of State of Texas in the new administration of Governor Greg Abbott. Cascos had just won a third term as county judge in the same November 4, 2014 general election in which Abbott defeated the Democrat Wendy R. Davis. In 2006, Cascos had unseated County Judge Gilberto Hinojosa, who in 2012 became the state chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.
Cameron County leans toward the Democratic Party in presidential elections. The last Republican to win the county was George W. Bush in 2004. Donald Trump's 2016 showing of 32.0% was the lowest received by a Republican candidate in the county since Alf Landon in 1936. However in 2020, Trump's performance of 43% was the best for a Republican in the county since 2004.
As of 2006, officeholders tend to be Democrats. As of 2006, about 20,000 to 30,000 people in Cameron County vote in primary elections, and presidential elections have higher turnouts. Politiqueras, women hired to help elderly people vote, are crucial in South Texas elections.
Cameron County is served by several school districts. They include:
- Brownsville Independent School District
- Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District
- La Feria Independent School District
- Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District
- Lyford Consolidated Independent School District (partially)
- Point Isabel Independent School District
- Rio Hondo Independent School District
- San Benito Consolidated Independent School District
- Santa Maria Independent School District
- Santa Rosa Independent School District
In addition, residents are eligible to apply to South Texas Independent School District's magnet schools.
SpaceX has been approved by the FAA to build a private spaceport east of Brownsville on the Gulf Coast. The SpaceX South Texas Launch Site is projected to employ 75–100 full-time workers in the early years with up to 150 full-time employees/contractors by 2019. In 2014, SpaceX acquired additional land near Boca Chica, which they consolidated into a subdivision called "Mars Crossing", possibly named after the novel by science-fiction writer Geoffrey A. Landis.
- The Brownsville Herald (A Freedom Communications, Inc. newspaper based in Brownsville, TX)
- Valley Morning Star (A Freedom Communications, Inc. newspaper based in Harlingen, TX)
- El Nuevo Heraldo (AIM Media Texas newspaper based in Brownsville, TX)
- Arroyo Colorado Estates
- Arroyo Gardens
- Cameron Park
- Chula Vista
- Del Mar Heights
- El Camino Angosto
- Encantada-Ranchito-El Calaboz
- Grand Acres (former)
- Green Valley Farms
- Iglesia Antigua
- La Feria North
- La Paloma
- La Tina Ranch
- Laguna Heights
- Las Palmas II
- Reid Hope King
- San Pedro
- Santa Maria
- South Point
- Tierra Bonita
- Villa del Sol
- Villa Pancho
Other unincorporated communities
- List of museums in the Texas Gulf Coast
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Cameron County, Texas
- Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks in Cameron County
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Media related to Cameron County, Texas at Wikimedia Commons