Willacy County, Texas

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Willacy County
County
Willacy County
The Willacy County Courthouse in Raymondville
The Willacy County Courthouse in Raymondville
Map of Texas highlighting Willacy 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°29′N 97°36′W / 26.49°N 97.6°W / 26.49; -97.6
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1912
Named forJohn G. Willacy
SeatRaymondville
Largest cityRaymondville
Area
 • Total784 sq mi (2,030 km2)
 • Land591 sq mi (1,530 km2)
 • Water194 sq mi (500 km2)  25%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total20,164
 • Density26/sq mi (9.9/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district34th
Websitewww.co.willacy.tx.us

Willacy County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 20,164.[1] Its county seat is Raymondville.[2] The county was created in 1911 and organized the next year.[3]

Willacy County comprises the Raymondville micropolitan statistical area, which is included in the Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville combined statistical area, which itself is part of the larger Rio Grande Valley region.

History[edit]

Willacy County was formed in 1911 from parts of Cameron and Hidalgo Counties, and originally included what is now Kenedy County; it was named for state senator John G. Willacy. Kenedy was split from Willacy in 1921, when the long-settled ranchers of the northern (Kenedy) part of the county sought to separate from the newly arrived farmers of the southern part.

The Bermuda onion was introduced to Willacy County in 1912. It grew well and slowly displaced ranchland in the southern part of the county, becoming the most important crop. For many years, the town of Raymondville held an annual Onion Festival, using the tag line, "The Breath of a Nation". In 1940, the first oil wells were sunk in the county's Willamar Oil Field; today, oil production is a major part of the local economy, although increasingly eclipsed by natural gas. Also in the 1940s, sorghum was introduced to the county, gradually displacing cotton and other crops. Cattle ranching remains a substantial economic activity, as well.

In the early 2010s, wind turbines began to be built in the rural part of the county east of U.S. Highway 77, a number expanded later in 2020. The turbines became an icon to the county's identity, with their being visible from northern Cameron County and eastern Hidalgo County . Power-line infrastructure was also improved in this period.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 784 sq mi (2,030 km2), of which 194 square miles (500 km2) (25%) are covered by water.[4] The county borders the Gulf of Mexico.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
193010,499
194013,23026.0%
195020,92058.1%
196020,084−4.0%
197015,570−22.5%
198017,49512.4%
199017,7051.2%
200020,08213.4%
201022,13410.2%
202020,164−8.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1850–2010[6] 2010[7] 2020[8]

2020 census[edit]

Willacy County, Texas – Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[7] Pop 2020[8] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 2,235 1,805 10.10% 8.95%
Black or African American alone (NH) 389 445 1.76% 2.21%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 22 47 0.10% 0.23%
Asian alone (NH) 134 160 0.61% 0.79%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 1 2 0.00% 0.01%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 9 34 0.04% 0.17%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 47 60 0.21% 0.30%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 19,297 17,611 87.18% 87.34%
Total 22,134 20,164 100.00% 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.

2010 Census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States Census, 22,134 people, 5,764 households, and 4,607 families were living in the county. Of all households, 46.0% had children under 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 19.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.1% had a male householder no wife, and 20.1% were not families. About 32.9% of all households contained an individual who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.28, and the average family size was 3.73.

Of the population, 85.8% of residents were White (10.1% non-Hispanic white), 2.1% Black or African American, 0.6% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 9.3% of some other race and 1.8% of two or more races. 87.2% of residents were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

In the county, the age distribution was 26.8% under 18, 12.3% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $22,881, and for a family was $25,399. The per capita income for the county was $10,800. 39.4% of families and 43.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 50.5% of those under age 18 and 38.3% of those age 65 or over. The county's per-capita income makes it among the poorest counties in the United States.[9]

Education[edit]

School districts that serve Willacy County include:[10]

In addition, residents are allowed to apply for magnet schools operated by the South Texas Independent School District.[11]

All of the county is in the service area of Texas Southmost College.[12]

Media[edit]

Prisons[edit]

Raymondville is the location of three private prisons, all adjacent to each other:[13]

Politics[edit]

Like most majority-Hispanic counties in the Rio Grande Valley, Willacy is a staunchly Democratic county. The last Republican to win the county was Richard Nixon in 1972.

United States presidential election results for Willacy County, Texas[14]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 2,441 43.99% 3,108 56.01% 0 0.00%
2016 1,547 30.36% 3,422 67.16% 126 2.47%
2012 1,416 27.96% 3,600 71.09% 48 0.95%
2008 1,456 29.70% 3,409 69.53% 38 0.78%
2004 2,209 44.52% 2,734 55.10% 19 0.38%
2000 1,789 35.34% 3,218 63.57% 55 1.09%
1996 1,332 24.62% 3,789 70.02% 290 5.36%
1992 1,490 27.04% 3,359 60.96% 661 12.00%
1988 1,750 35.43% 3,165 64.07% 25 0.51%
1984 2,340 43.41% 3,037 56.33% 14 0.26%
1980 1,995 39.06% 3,047 59.65% 66 1.29%
1976 1,542 33.84% 2,984 65.48% 31 0.68%
1972 2,317 62.12% 1,384 37.10% 29 0.78%
1968 1,243 34.17% 1,930 53.05% 465 12.78%
1964 1,230 36.30% 2,152 63.52% 6 0.18%
1960 1,367 39.20% 2,109 60.48% 11 0.32%
1956 1,656 56.17% 1,261 42.77% 31 1.05%
1952 2,244 62.79% 1,324 37.05% 6 0.17%
1948 676 35.14% 1,139 59.20% 109 5.67%
1944 754 43.41% 846 48.70% 137 7.89%
1940 740 38.54% 1,173 61.09% 7 0.36%
1936 376 26.88% 1,002 71.62% 21 1.50%
1932 259 19.89% 1,042 80.03% 1 0.08%
1928 389 49.55% 396 50.45% 0 0.00%
1924 110 25.35% 307 70.74% 17 3.92%
1920 9 14.52% 53 85.48% 0 0.00%
1916 10 8.33% 110 91.67% 0 0.00%
1912 5 4.67% 102 95.33% 0 0.00%


Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated community[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Willacy County, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Texas: Individual County Chronologies". Texas Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Archived from the original on May 13, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  5. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  6. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Willacy County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  8. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Willacy County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  9. ^ United States counties by per capita income
  10. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Willacy County, TX" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 29, 2022. - list
  11. ^ "About". South Texas Independent School District. Retrieved June 29, 2022. The district stretches over three counties, Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy,[...]
  12. ^ Texas Education Code, Sec. 130.204. TEXAS SOUTHMOST COLLEGE DISTRICT SERVICE AREA..
  13. ^ Tyx, Daniel Blue (March 26, 2015). "Goodbye to Tent City". Texas Observer. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  14. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved August 2, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°29′N 97°36′W / 26.49°N 97.60°W / 26.49; -97.60