Zapata, Texas

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Zapata, Texas
U.S. Highway 83 in Zapata, just south of the intersection with Texas State Highway 16
U.S. Highway 83 in Zapata, just south of the intersection with Texas State Highway 16
Location of Zapata, Texas
Location of Zapata, Texas
Zapata County Zapata.svg
Coordinates: 26°54′22″N 99°16′12″W / 26.90611°N 99.27000°W / 26.90611; -99.27000Coordinates: 26°54′22″N 99°16′12″W / 26.90611°N 99.27000°W / 26.90611; -99.27000
Country United States
State Texas
County Zapata
 • Total 9.6 sq mi (25 km2)
 • Land 7.6 sq mi (20 km2)
 • Water 2.0 sq mi (5 km2)
Elevation 394 ft (120 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total 14,390
 • Density 1,500/sq mi (580/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78076
Area code(s) 956
FIPS code 48-80716[1]
GNIS feature ID 1350720[2]

Zapata is a census-designated place (CDP) in and the county seat of Zapata County, Texas, United States.[3] The population was 5,089 at the 2010 census. As an unincorporated community, Zapata has no municipal government but like all 254 Texas counties has four elected county commissioners chosen by single-member districts and a countywide elected administrative judge.


Zapata was named for José Antonio de Zapata (died 1839), the revolutionary commander who served in the cavalry of the Republic of the Rio Grande, of which the town was a part.[4]


Zapata is located at 26°54′22″N 99°16′12″W / 26.90611°N 99.27000°W / 26.90611; -99.27000 (26.906244, -99.270007).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 9.6 square miles (25 km2), of which, 7.6 square miles (20 km2) of it is land and 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2) is water.[6]


The city is located right on Falcon International Reservoir[7] which is at the center of multiple, fishing events throughout the year

The city also served by a number of parks, most notably, Romeo Flores Park.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1950 343 —    
1960 2,031 +492.1%
1970 2,102 +3.5%
1980 3,831 +82.3%
1990 4,594 +19.9%
2000 4,856 +5.7%
2010 5,089 +4.8%
2012 5,173 +1.7%

At the 2010 census,[1] there were 5,089 people, 4,328 households[citation needed] and 1,265 families[citation needed] residing in the CDP. The population density was 629.9 per square mile (243.2/km2).[citation needed] There were 2,239 housing units at an average density of 290.4 per square mile (112.1/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 92.38% White, 0.02% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 6.82% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 94.99% of the population.

At the 2000 census, there were 1,574 households of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.7% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.6% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.07 and the average family size was 3.50.

31% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.4% from 20 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 49, 15.2% from 50 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.8 males.

The median household income was $24,136 and the median family income was $27,708. Males had a median income of $30,833 compared with $12,604 for females. The per capita income was $11,863. About 29.1% of families and 33.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.1% of those under the age of 18 and 27.0% of those ages 65 and older.


Leading employers in Zapata County are the educational, health and social services, natural gas and oil, and retail trade industries.

The County’s present economy is mainly centered on oil and gas production, ranching, trading and services, and tourism. Its primary employers are in the mining/energy, construction, retail trade, health care, social welfare, and the services sector. Government is also a major employer in the county.


Local government[edit]

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:[9]

Department Director
County Judge Joe Rathmell
County Attorney Said Alfonso Figueroa
County Clerk Mary Jayne Villarreal-Bonoan
County Sheriff Alonso Lopez
County Tax Assessor Luis Lauro Gonzalez
County Auditor Triunfo Gonzalez
County Treasurer Romeo Salinas

Public libraries[edit]

The county operates the main branch of the "Olga V. Figueroa Zapata County Public Library". It is located on 901 Kennedy Street in Zapata. Aida R. Garcia is the library director. The library is known as a site for viewing white-collared seedeaters. This small bird draws thousands to the library grounds every year.

State government[edit]

Zapata is represented in the Texas Senate by Democrat Judith Zaffirini, District 28, and in the Texas House of Representatives by Democrat Ryan Guillen, District 31.

At the Federal level, the two U.S. Senators from Texas are Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Zapata is part of Texas' US Congressional 28th District, which is currently represented by Democrat Henry Cuellar.

The United States Postal Service Zapata Post Office is located at 810 N US Highway 83.

The United States Border Patrol Zapata Station is located at 105 Kennedy Street.


All of Zapata County is within the Zapata County Independent School District. ZCISD is designated as Class 3A, and participates in numerous UIL academic and athletic events. Sports offered by the school include cross country, volleyball, football, basketball, tennis, golf, track & field, softball, baseball, as well as powerlifting through the THSPA/THSWPA.

The Zapata High School Mariachi Band, Mariachi Halcon, has won the state championship in division 3A. It was the subject of a film, Mariachi High, which was broadcast nationally on PBS in 2012.

Colleges and universities[edit]

The city is served by schools in Laredo, fifty miles to the north on U.S. Highway 83 through Laredo Community College, Main and South campuses, and Texas A&M International University. In addition, educational institutions are also available fifty miles to the south in Rio Grande City, through the Starr County campuses of both South Texas College of McAllen and the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley of Edinburg.

Public school districts[edit]

Zapata has one school district within the county Zapata County Independent School District.

Zapata County Independent School District[edit]

All of the schools listed here are in the city of Zapata. All of the ZCISD section of Zapata is zoned to Zapata High School:[10]

Public elementary and middle schools[edit]

middle high schools that serve the ZCISD portion are:

The elementary schools that serve the ZCISD portion are:

Youth groups[edit]

Hang gliding[edit]

More world records in hang gliding have been set from Zapata than any other location in the world. The World Record Encampment has been taking place at the Zapata County Airport since 2000, and the first hang glider flights to break the 308-mile barrier took place there the first year. A distance record of 438 miles was set by Mike Barber in 2002. Three new world records were set in 2005,[11][12] with the current world record, 472 miles, set by Dustin Martin in July, 2012.[13]


Major highways in Zapata and their starting and ending points:

Zapata County Airport (FAA: APY) provides general aviation services to Zapata.

Nearby cities[edit]

City Population Distance (km)
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas 373,725 50 mi (81 km)
Laredo, Texas 236,091 50 mi (81 km)
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon 4,080,329 141 mi (227 km)
Reynosa, Tamaulipas 589,466 101 mi (163 km)
Corpus Christi, Texas 305,215 164 mi (264 km)
San Antonio, Texas 1,327,407 205 mi (330 km)
Heroica Matamoros, Tamaulipas 449,815 159 mi (256 km)
Brownsville, Texas 175,023 154 mi (248 km)
Dallas, Texas 1,197,816 482 mi (776 km)

Bass fishing[edit]

Falcon International Reservoir located in Zapata is becoming well known for its bass fishing. The community hosts numerous "Winter Texans" between November and April, most residing in travel camper trailers.


See also[edit]

Flag of Texas.svg Texas portal


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Joan B. Anderson, James Gerber Fifty Years of Change on the U.S.-Mexico Border 2008 Page 30 "The town of Zapata was not named for the Mexican revolutionary war hero Emiliano Zapata but rather for Colonel José Antonio Zapata, who lost his life in 1839 while fighting to establish the Republic of the Rio Grande."
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer Files 2016-Places-Texas". US Census. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790-2000)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2][permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Zapata" at The Oz Report, retrieved 2008-05-14
  12. ^ Hang Gliding and Paragliding World Records Archived February 12, 2005, at the Wayback Machine., Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), retrieved 2008-05-14
  13. ^

External links[edit]

Media related to Zapata, Texas at Wikimedia Commons