Kenedy County, Texas

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Kenedy County
The Kenedy County Courthouse in Sarita
The Kenedy County Courthouse in Sarita
Map of Texas highlighting Kenedy County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 26°56′N 97°37′W / 26.93°N 97.62°W / 26.93; -97.62
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1921
Named forMifflin Kenedy
SeatSarita
Largest communitySarita
Area
 • Total1,946 sq mi (5,040 km2)
 • Land1,458 sq mi (3,780 km2)
 • Water487 sq mi (1,260 km2)  25%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total350
 • Density0.18/sq mi (0.069/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district34th
Websitewww.co.kenedy.tx.us

Kenedy County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 350.[1] It is the third-least populous county in Texas and fourth-least populous in the United States. Its county seat is Sarita.[2] The county was created in 1921 from parts of Hidalgo and Willacy counties and is named for Mifflin Kenedy, an early area rancher and steamboat operator.[3]

Kenedy County is included in the Kingsville, TX Kingsville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Corpus Christi-Kingsville-Alice, TX Combined Statistical Area. There are no incorporated municipalities in Kenedy County.

In 1999, Hurricane Bret struck the county, but damage was minimal due to the sparse population. The Peñascal Wind Power Project was built near Sarita in the early 21st Century and is expected to slightly raise the population of the area.

The King Ranch, of which Mifflin Kenedy had been a partner prior to 1868, covers a large part of the county.[4]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,946 square miles (5,040 km2), of which 1,458 square miles (3,780 km2) is land and 487 square miles (1,260 km2) (25%) is water.[5] In total area, Kenedy is the 13th largest county in Texas.[6] In land area only, it is the 25th-largest county in Texas. It borders the Gulf of Mexico. Baffin Bay makes up much of the border with Kleberg County.

Major highways[edit]

US 77 is the only highway (federal or state) in Kenedy County.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
19201,033
1930701−32.1%
1940700−0.1%
1950632−9.7%
196088439.9%
1970678−23.3%
1980543−19.9%
1990460−15.3%
2000414−10.0%
20104160.5%
2020350−15.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1850–2010[8] 2010[9] 2020[10]

2020 census[edit]

Kenedy County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[9] Pop 2020[10] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 86 73 20.67% 20.86%
Black or African American alone (NH) 1 0 0.24% 0.00%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 6 7 1.44% 2.00%
Asian alone (NH) 1 0 0.24% 0.00%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 0 1 0.00% 0.29%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 2 2 0.48% 0.57%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 1 6 0.24% 1.71%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 319 261 76.68% 74.57%
Total 416 350 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2000 Census[edit]

As of the census[11] in 2000, there were 414 people, 138 households, and 110 families residing in the county. The population density was 0.28 people per square mile (0.11/km2). There were 281 housing units at an average density of 0.19 per square mile (0.07/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 64.49% White, 0.72% Black or African American, 0.72% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 31.88% from other races, and 1.69% from two or more races. 78.99% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 138 households, out of which 35.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.70% were married couples living together, 10.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.60% were non-families. 18.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.26.

In the county, the population had widespread age groups including 29.20% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 24.20% from 45 to 64, and 10.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years old. For every 100 females, there were 110.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $25,000, and the median income for a family was $26,719. Males had a median income of $18,125 versus $12,188 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,959. 15.30% of the population and 9.90% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 15.60% are under the age of 18 and 18.80% are 65 or older.

Kenedy County, the third least populous county in Texas, had 108 times more cattle than people in 1999.[6]

Education[edit]

Almost all of Kenedy County is served by Sarita Elementary School (PreK-6) of the Kenedy County Wide Common School District. Of the nine Texas counties having only one school apiece, the population of Sarita Elementary School was the smallest.[6]

A small portion of Kenedy County is served by the Riviera Independent School District.

Del Mar College is the designated community college for all of Kenedy County.[12]

Communities[edit]

Census-designated place[edit]

Unincorporated community[edit]

Politics[edit]

Like the rest of South Texas, Kenedy County regularly supported candidates from the Democratic Party. The Republican Party has carried the county only seven times since the 1928 presidential election. Despite its historic Democratic lean, the county has become competitive in recent years due to rural Hispanic voters becoming more open to voting Republican.[citation needed] In 2020, Donald Trump carried the county with over 65 percent of the vote and the strongest Republican margin since 1956, and Kenedy was one of only fifteen counties to flip from supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016 to Trump in 2020. Kenedy County has the longest losing streak in the nation, being the only county to flip from Barack Obama to Mitt Romney, then to Clinton, and then back to Trump in his unsuccessful second bid. Since 2000, the county has only voted for a single winner (Obama in 2008), and since 1980 it has only voted for one three times (Bill Clinton in both his campaigns as well as Obama in 2008).

United States presidential election results for Kenedy County, Texas[13]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 127 65.46% 65 33.51% 2 1.03%
2016 84 45.16% 99 53.23% 3 1.61%
2012 84 50.30% 82 49.10% 1 0.60%
2008 94 46.53% 108 53.47% 0 0.00%
2004 82 48.52% 85 50.30% 2 1.18%
2000 106 46.49% 119 52.19% 3 1.32%
1996 71 34.13% 133 63.94% 4 1.92%
1992 69 39.66% 87 50.00% 18 10.34%
1988 76 38.78% 119 60.71% 1 0.51%
1984 96 46.38% 110 53.14% 1 0.48%
1980 76 40.64% 106 56.68% 5 2.67%
1976 65 31.71% 139 67.80% 1 0.49%
1972 124 58.22% 88 41.31% 1 0.47%
1968 76 41.53% 100 54.64% 7 3.83%
1964 30 20.55% 115 78.77% 1 0.68%
1960 74 48.68% 78 51.32% 0 0.00%
1956 125 92.59% 10 7.41% 0 0.00%
1952 108 88.52% 14 11.48% 0 0.00%
1948 31 38.27% 45 55.56% 5 6.17%
1944 60 73.17% 16 19.51% 6 7.32%
1940 68 64.15% 38 35.85% 0 0.00%
1936 30 23.81% 96 76.19% 0 0.00%
1932 5 3.88% 123 95.35% 1 0.78%
1928 12 9.23% 118 90.77% 0 0.00%
1924 7 9.33% 67 89.33% 1 1.33%


In statewide races for governor and the U.S. Senate, the county has slowly trended Republican. The last Democrat to carry the county in a gubernatorial race was Tony Sanchez in 2002, while Rick Noriega in 2008 is the last Democrat to carry it in a senatorial race.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kenedy County, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Kenedy, Mifflin". The Handbook of Texas On-Line. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". www.king-ranch.com. Archived from the original on August 1, 2008. Retrieved January 14, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "[www.youtube.com What is Rural?]," Rural Texas in Transition. Window on State Government.
  7. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  8. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Kenedy County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  10. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Kenedy County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  11. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  12. ^ Texas Education Code Sec. 130.177. DEL MAR COLLEGE-CORPUS CHRISTI JUNIOR COLLEGE DISTRICT SERVICE AREA.
  13. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved July 26, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°56′N 97°37′W / 26.93°N 97.62°W / 26.93; -97.62