Hidalgo County

Hidalgo County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. Located in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, Hidalgo County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States, and is the eighth most-populous county in Texas. Its population in 2010 was 774,769, a 35% increase from 2000. It is named for Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the priest who raised the call for Mexico’s independence from Spain. The seat of Hidalgo County is Edinburg, while the largest city is McAllen.

Hidalgo County is located within the McAllenEdinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is bordered by Cameron County and Willacy County on the east, Brooks County on the north, Starr County on the west, and Mexico on the south. Hidalgo County is located opposite of the Mexican city of Reynosa, across the Rio Grande River.


Hidalgo County comprises 1,596 square miles (4,130 km2) of the Rio Grande delta. The northern part of the county has sandy and light loamy soils over deep reddish or mottled, clayey subsoils. In some areas limestone lies within forty inches of the surface. The southern part of the county has moderately deep to deep loamy surfaces over clayey subsoils. Along the Rio Grande brown to red clays occur. Hidalgo County is in the South Texas Plains vegetation area, which features grasses, mesquite, live oaks, and chaparral. Native plants, reduced in recent years by extensive farming, include chapote, guayacan, ebony, huisache, brasil, and yucca.

In 1982, 91 percent of the land was in farms and ranches, with 52 percent of the farmland under cultivation and 85 percent irrigated; 51 to 60 percent of the county was considered prime farmland. The primary crops were sorghum, cotton, corn, and vegetables; Hidalgo County led Texas counties in the production of cabbage, onions, cantaloupes, carrots, and watermelons. The primary fruits and nuts grown in the county were grapefruit, oranges, and pecans. Cattle, milk cows, and hogs were the primary livestock products. Natural resources included caliche, sand, gravel, oil, and gas. Oil and gas production in 1982 totaled 98,487,211,000 cubic feet (2.7888472×109 m3) of gas-well gas, 139,995 barrels of crude oil, 1,101,666 barrels of condensate, and 15,784,000 cubic feet (447,000 m3) of casinghead gas. The climate is subtropical and subhumid. Temperatures range from an average low of 47 °F (8 °C) in January to an average high to 96 °F (36 °C) in July; the average annual temperature is 73 °F (23 °C). Rainfall averages 23 inches (580 mm) a year, and the growing season lasts for 320 days of the year.

National protected areas

Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge (part)

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge


Native Americans are thought to have resided in the area for at least 11,000 years. Artifacts dating to the Archaic Period indicate that inhabitants of the region were hunters and gatherers who practiced no agriculture and kept no domestic animals except a few dogs. Subsequently, some forms of agriculture, such as raising maize, were introduced. Several major linguistic groups called the lower Rio Grande valley home, including Coahuilteco and Karankawa. The Coahuiltecans in the future county hunted a wide variety of animals, fished, gathered berries, fruits, and roots, and used mountain laurel for its narcotic effects. The Lipan Apaches, having been forced out of Colorado and New Mexico by the Comanches, entered Texas in the 1700s and gained control of South Texas by 1775. The Comanches followed them and arrived in South Texas in the early nineteenth century.

Some historians surmise that Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca traveled through the area after his 1528 shipwreck. In August 1638 Jacinto García de Sepulveda crossed the Rio Grande into the area at the site of Mier in search of Dutch sailors reported on the Texas coast. In 1687 the second expedition of Alonso De León in search of Fort St. Louis also followed the river route. In 1747 Miguel de la Garza Falcón reconnoitered the northern bank of the river in search of suitable land to establish a settlement. He found the land unsuitable even for stock raising and condemned it as uninhabitable. Despite his judgment, the area again drew the attention of the Spanish crown, and in 1749 José de Escandón was assigned the task of colonizing the area. He established four towns on the southern banks of the Rio Grande including Reynosa (1749), which was originally located across the river from the site of present-day Peñitas. He went on to found Camargo, Mier, and Revilla (now Guerrero) in 1749, 1750, and 1752 respectively. Settlers from these colonies later crossed the Rio Grande and settled the northern banks of the river. About eighty porciones in about nineteen grants were issued in the future Hidalgo County by the Spanish and Mexican governments. Colonization was left in the hands of the grantees, who established settlements along the river as well as in the northern reaches of the future county. A settlement called La Habitación, also known as Rancho San Luis or San Luisito, was established north of the river at the site of present-day Hidalgo, in 1774. Because the land was suitable for cattle and sheep raising the grantees turned to ranching with great success. Among the first settlers was Juan José Ynojosa de Ballí, who was issued the Llano Grande grant on May 29, 1790. Another successful rancher was José Manuel Gómez, who received the Santa Anita grant in 1798. In 1797 he established the Santa Anita Ranch, which was still in operation in 1995 under the name McAllen Ranch.

By 1836 area farmers had a thriving economic base that allowed them to export their cattle and cattle by-products into Mexico. Goods were moved by wagon and mule trains, whose owners were so organized that they kept boats off the Rio Grande until after 1840. With the outbreak of theTexas Revolution the area became disputed territory, Mexico considered it part of Tamaulipas, and Texas claimed it as part of its southern border. During the Mexican-American War, Zachary Taylor laid out the Old Military Road to supply his men in northern Mexico. After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848 the area became part of San Patricio County. In the same year the region was further subdivided and became part of Cameron County. In 1849 the area became a popular stopping point for goldseekers from the United States on their way to California. The military road had become part of the Gila Route to the West Coast. By 1850 about thirty-nine ranches were in operation in what later became Hidalgo County. Mexico was the main market for goods from the area. Residents grew a variety of fruits and vegetables, including squash, citrus fruit, and corn.

Hidalgo County was formed in 1852 and named for Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who gave the “cry for Mexican independence” from Spanish rule. By 1852 the county had between forty and forty-five ranches. As land was parceled out from one generation to the next the ranches along the river developed into villages. In this way, ranches gave rise to the communities of La Habitación, Relampago, and Peñitas. Ranches away from the river included Laguna Seca Ranch, founded in 1867, Mora Relámpago Ranch (1875), and San Manuel Ranch (1876). Generally, inhabitants of the area, especially those in the north, made a living by stock raising, while those along the river were involved in transportation, agriculture, and trade with Mexico. In 1852 La Habitación was renamed Edinburg and made county seat. The first county court convened on September 2, 1852, and as its first act issued licenses to ferries at Hidalgo, San Luis, Peñitas, and Las Cuevas. José M. J. Carbajal was an early court reporter. County residents were isolated from each other, however, and from the population center of Brownsville in neighboring Cameron County. Because of their sense of neglect by state and federal governments, residents adopted the name “Republic of Hidalgo.” Isolation and ineffective law enforcement led to general chaos and lawlessness, mostly in the form of cattle raids and shootouts. The “Cortina Wars” also caused disturbances, especially when Juan Nepomuceno Cortina, on his way to a robbery, was intercepted by a force of Texas Rangersqv. The skirmish known as the battle of La Bolsa occurred on February 4, 1860, in El Zacatal, south of Progreso in southeast Hidalgo County. Despite difficulties, ranching dominated the economy in 1860, when 10,695 cattle and 3,330 sheep were counted; the latter produced 10,900 pounds of wool. Rustling also thrived. As early as December 28, 1862, armed Mexican bandits crossed into Los Ebanos, captured a Confederate wagontrain, and killed three teamsters. At other times Mexican cattle rustlers would cross into Texas with the purpose of stealing as many cattle as possible. Hidalgo County did not prosper from the Civil War as did Cameron County, but instead found itself battling cattle rustlers, who were joined by both Union and Confederate deserters. In 1870 rustlers were attracted to a county with 18,141 cattle and 11,270 sheep and a population of only 2,387. From 1872 to 1875 Sheriff Alex J. Leo repeatedly wired Washington requesting troops to curtail cattle rustling and end the “Cattle Wars,” but his efforts were in vain. On April 2, 1875, Capt. Leander H. McNelly and a band of Texas Rangers arrived to help.

Hidalgo County had become a haven for outlaws from both sides of the river by the middle of the nineteenth century. Politically it had become a battleground, as various groups vied for dominance of county politics. Party affiliations, especially with the Reds and Blues, were firmly entrenched by 1869. Members of the Democratic party, known as the Reds, included Thaddeus Rhodes, Ben Kidder, Pete Champion, W. P. Dougherty and James Dougherty. The Republican party members, the Blues, included John McAllen, Jesse Bennett, and Dr. Alexander M. Headley. The Reds ruled the county for most of the last third of the nineteenth century. Their ineffective government was blamed for the county’s having eight sheriffs between 1869 and 1876. It was alleged that the Reds kept control of the county by using the pachanga or block vote, which entailed rounding up men, filling them with food and liquor, and paying their poll tax. In Hidalgo County, Martin “Big Drunk” Norgraves, who served as first county clerk, was credited as organizer of block voting. By 1880 the population was 4,347, and all except women and the 114 African Americans were fair game for the parties looking for votes. Not until 1882, when John Closner was elected deputy sheriff, was control over cattle rustlers achieved. Closner became sheriff in 1890 and shortly afterward, under the protection of James B. Wellsqv, became the county’s political boss. During his rule he brought peace to the county and was seen as such an effective leader that he was nicknamed the “father” of Hidalgo County. In the process, however, he made many enemies. During the 1890s his rivals tried to have him assassinated twice and brought a ranger investigation against him. He was accused of mistreating prisoners, and he later admitted that he could have gone a little too far in pressuring suspects to confess to crimes. Though Closner’s Reds were effective in bringing law and order to the county, the rivalry with the Blues did not abate. It came to a head in August 1890, when the Blues set up their polls and judges while the Reds held elections. This effectively gave the county two sets of officials. The Blues wanted to stop the Reds’ use of the pachanga, which gave undocumented aliens access to the polls. Consequently, Dr. Headley and a company of 150 Blues took over Edinburgh and ruled the for several days under the moniker “Independent Republic of Hidalgo.” United States officials ended Headley’s “republic” when he attempted to collect customs at the border.

Despite political turmoil and cattle rustling, the county population grew to 6,534 by 1890. Ranching reached its peak that year with 71,176 cattle; 20,906 sheep gave 41,074 pounds of wool. The Garza War came to an end in 1891, when Catarino Erasmo Garza and his men were defeated at La Joya in southwest Hidalgo County. In 1886 Edinburg was washed away by a severe flood, after which it was moved to another flood-prone site about two miles (3 km) north of the river. The county population was estimated at 6,837 in 1900. The Hidalgo Advance, the county’s first newspaper, went into publication in March 1903. It was published for the sole purpose of advertising the county and attracting a railroad. When it arrived in 1904, the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway made a big difference. In 1903 land sold for twenty-five cents an acre, but by 1906 it was selling at fifty dollars an acre, and by 1910 the price had increased to as much as $300 an acre. Farming in Hidalgo County was not practiced on a large scale until the latter part of the nineteenth century. Citrus fruits were among the first products cultivated. By 1878 Carlota Vela at the Laguna Seca Ranch had a small orange grove that was known for the quality of its fruit. Later the primary crops were cotton and sugarcane planted on large plantations for export. The first attempt at growing cane on a large scale was made in 1883 by John Closner, who established a plantation and mill near the site of present-day Pharr. Attempts to irrigate rice were unsuccessful, but citrus fruits and vegetables were produced on a commercial basis starting around 1907, when W. A. Fitch planted a commercial-scale grapefruit orchard near Mercedes. The old county seat, Edinburg, was moved away from the river and renamed Hidalgo. With the introduction of the railroad and the influx of settlers wishing to establish farms during the first decade of the twentieth century, the county’s economic base shifted toward farming. The primary crops were corn and cotton. The population was estimated at 13,728 in 1910. In 1911 the San Benito and Rio Grande Valley Railway made junction with the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway at San Benito. The Texas and New Orleans Railway built into the Valley in 1927.

During the first decade of the twentieth century, Closner and his Democratic machine ran unopposed, and nominees for district and state offices received 90 percent of the votes. In 1914 the county had only 700 Anglo-American farmers who had paid their poll tax, as opposed to the 1,200 Hispanics that the Democratic machine could mobilize. In 1914 the Good Government League was established after Judge James H. Edwards was ousted by the Closner regime. The league was made up exclusively of Anglo farmers, businessmen, and professionals who supported Edwards and promised to “clean up” Hidalgo County politics. Because the league’s intentions included disfranchising Hispanics, the campaign to change the system took on strong racial overtones. The Closner regime was perceived as pandering to Hispanics, although fewer than one-fourth of government positions were held by them. Racial and social tensions increased between old-timers, mainly ranchers, and newcomers, mainly farmers. Closner’s reign ended in 1918, when an audit revealed that as county treasurer he had misappropriated $150,000 from the county, drainage districts, and the school district. Sheriff Anderson Y. Baker then took control over the Democratic machine and maintained it for twelve years, through voter manipulation, election fraud, and large-scale graft. Because of the machine’s shenanigans the Weslaco ballot box was thrown out during the 1928 county election. In the resulting Hidalgo County Rebellion, the citizens of Weslaco armed themselves against the Mexican voters, whom they considered pawns of the machine. Weslaco’s Anglo voters, all new farmers to the area and opposed to the regime, asked for and got a federal investigation. The investigation not only hurt the machine but further marginalized Hispanic voters, who were scared away from the polls. In 1929, in yet another attempt to oust the remnants of boss rule, the Good Government League, headed by Charles H. Pease, led a successful struggle to remove county government from control of a faction that monopolized irrigation projects and oil. Thus Wells and Closner’s political machine, which ran Hidalgo County and caused its economic boom, was in the end ousted by the settlers it attracted.

In 1920 the population was 38,110, more than double what it had been in 1910, and the number of farms had increased to 1,727, seven times the number of farms in 1890. John H. Shary, who became a successful land developer and promoter, arrived in Hidalgo County in 1912. Shary, who developed the citrus industry, was selling his grapefruit by 1919. In 1924 a regional Texas Agricultural Experiment Station was established in Weslaco. Thriving towns sprang up across the southern part of the county east to west along U.S. Highway 83, which by 1930 was described as the “longest main street in the world.” Race relations in Hidalgo County during the nineteenth century had been fairly amicable even as the number of Anglo-Americans moving to the area increased. With the advent of the railroad Hidalgo County became a magnet for settlers from the Midwest and the East. These settlers, unlike their ranching predecessors, were not willing to adapt to Hispanic culture and considered themselves superior to Mexican-Americans. Consequently, all the new towns that developed along the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway during the first twenty years of the twentieth century were fully segregated. The two best known for their segregation were Weslaco and McAllen but most of the other towns along U.S. 83 were segregated, unlike the old towns of Hidalgo, Peñitas, and Relampago. The wall between the races became increasingly impenetrable. Between 1912 and 1915 border raids claimed at least thirty Anglo lives and several hundred Mexican lives, converted the area into a combat zone, and brought settlement to a halt. Though the raiders disrupted lives and stole cattle, law-enforcement officers were also accused of excessive violence and unjust practices. Toward the end of the 1920s, however, settlement resumed and segregation had become the norm. Because all the new towns were fully segregated it was impossible for Hispanic children to get an equal education. Inexperienced teachers were assigned to teach at the Mexican schools, which were usually overcrowded and ill equipped. There were no Mexican high schools because Hispanics were not expected to advance beyond elementary school. This deprivation led to self-perpetuating poverty as uneducated (and therefore poor) parents removed their children from school so that they could help support the family. In 1930 the county’s population was estimated at 77,004, of which 41,522 individuals were identified as “Mexican.”

By 1930 the conversion of the economy to truck farming was complete. That year there were only 34,505 cattle, and the number of farms had increased to 4,321, more than double the number in 1920. The primary crops were cotton, planted on 131,884 acres, and corn, planted on 14,658 acres. Stock farming and ranching continued mainly in the northern part of the county, where cattle, sheep, and poultry were the main livestock. Despite the Great Depression, the county’s population increased to 106,059 in 1940. The number of residents always fluctuated, however, during any given year because migrant farm-workers and winter Texans or “snowbirds” came and went. The first producing oil well in the county was brought in on September 18, 1934, by Otto C. Woods. The oil and gas industry soon became important in the county. With the increase in population the number of farms grew by 1940 to 5,094. Hidalgo County got its first military base in 1941, when Moore Air Field was built twelve miles (19 km) northwest of Mission. The field was operated by the United States Army Air Force during World War II and was named for Lt. Frank Murchison Moore, a Texan. That year the county’s sixty-two manufacturing establishments produced $6,502,129 in products. The population was estimated at 160,446 in 1950. By that year the county had 5,314 farms, and citrus fruit production had become the most important industry. That year’s harvest yielded 3,093,792 boxes of oranges and 169,245 tons of grapefruit. Cotton production was 197,267 bales, and corn production was 72,495 bushels. The population of Hidalgo County was estimated at 180,904 in 1960. By 1967 the county had produced twenty million barrels of oil. In 1969 an estimated $50 million came from Hidalgo County‘s winter vegetables, citrus fruit, and cotton. That year the number of farms had declined to 4,124, a decrease attributable to the increase in farming corporations. By 1970 the population of Hidalgo County had reached 181,533. The civil-rights movement that had swept the country during the 1960s brought increased participation of Hispanics in Hidalgo County politics, though problems related to race were not over, as the “Pharr Police Riot” of 1971 illustrates (see PHARR, TEXAS). In Donna, migrant farmworkers’ children were sent to a separate school until the late 1970s. Colonias started cropping up around the county as more Mexicans crossed the Rio Grande in an attempt to improve their lives, and some local businessmen exploited the recent migrants by selling them useless land. The immigration increased throughout the 1970s. The population doubled between 1970 and 1977, to an estimated 232,300. By 1978 Hidalgo County was averaging $188 million in annual farm income, 90 percent of which came from cotton, corn, citrus fruit, sugarcane, and grain. Also by that year the average annual income from mineral production, including oil and gas, was $65 million.

However, Hidalgo County began to shift away from its traditional agricultural focus as international trade, manufacturing, health care and retails sales became the dominant sectors. In 1980 the population was estimated at 283,229, including 15,868 retired workers. The industries with the most workers were agribusiness, tourism, oil and gas field servicing, construction, frozen food processing and canning, meat packing, and soft drink bottling, industries which earned an aggregate of $1,575,879,000. In 1982 Hidalgo County had 171 manufacturers with 7,100 employees and products valued at $211.9 million. In 1982 Hidalgo County was ranked sixty-fourth among all United States counties in the highest birth rate and twelfth in highest percent of Hispanic-origin residents. The county has never experienced a decrease in population. Its residents numbered 383,545 in 1990. Hispanics, Germans, and Anglo-Americans are the three largest ethnic groups. But the labor force that made Hidalgo County a prosperous agricultural region also made it the poorest in the nation. The McAllenEdinburg-Mission metropolitan area had the lowest per capita income in the United States in 1987. Furthermore, Hidalgo County had the state’s highest unemployment rate, and county government was so underfunded that its independent health-care program ran out of money halfway through the fiscal year.

The McAllen Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) is south of McAllen between McAllen and Reynosa. Commissioned in 1973, it was the first inland foreign trade zone in the United States and continuously ranks among the most active FTZs in the nation. By 1988 more than $1 billion a year in goods passed through the foreign trade zone located south of McAllen in south central Hidalgo County. After its warehouses filled up that year, the foreign trade zone had to turn away tenants. In 1988 Hidalgo County hosted 80,000 “winter Texans.” Retail sales rose 22.6 percent that year. Little profit found its way to the poorest people, however, a fact reflected in the standard of living of colonia dwellers, of whom an estimated 52,000 lived in 366 colonias in 1986. The problems of inadequate water supply and substandard housing were rife among colonia residents, many of whom were migrant farm-workers.

Since the 1980s and especially since the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, the focal point of economic activity has shifted from agriculture to international trade, health care, retail and tourism. By 2000, the county population was 569463. McAllen is the retail center of South Texas and Northern Mexico, drawing from a consumer base of over 10 million people within a 200-mile radius. McAllen is represented by 40 of America’s top 100 retailers and is ranked 3rd in Texas in per capita sales tax receipts. The retail sales sector has become the driving force in McAllen‘s economy, growing a staggering 138% over the last 10 years, to over $ 3.58 billion and employing 27% of the workforce. The Chamber of Commerce estimates that at least 35% of all retail sales in McAllen are purchased by visitors from Mexico.

Metropolitan Statistical Area

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Hidalgo County as the McAllenEdinburg-Mission, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area. The United States Census Bureau ranked the McAllenEdinburg-Mission, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area as the 70th most populousmetropolitan statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.

The Office of Management and Budget has further designated the McAllenEdinburg-Mission, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area as a component of the more extensive McAllenEdinburg, TX Combined Statistical Area, the 60th most populous combined statistical area and the 67th most populous primary statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1860 1,182
1870 2,387 +101.9%
1880 4,347 +82.1%
1890 6,534 +50.3%
1900 6,837 +4.6%
1910 13,728 +100.8%
1920 38,110 +177.6%
1930 77,004 +102.1%
1940 106,059 +37.7%
1950 160,446 +51.3%
1960 180,904 +12.8%
1970 181,535 +0.3%
1980 283,229 +56.0%
1990 383,545 +35.4%
2000 569,463 +48.5%
2010 774,769 +36.1%
2012 806,552 +4.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
Texas Almanac: 1850-2010

As of the census of 2000, there were 569,463 people, 156,824 households, and 132,829 families residing in the county. The population density was 363 people per square mile (140/km²). There were 192,658 housing units at an average density of 123 per square mile (47/km²). The racial makeup of the county is 77.71% White, 0.49% Black or African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 18.64% from other races, and 2.12% from two or more races. 88.35% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 156,824 households out of which 49.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.00% were married couples living together, 15.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.30% were non-families. 13.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.60 and the average family size was 3.96.

In the county, the population was spread out with 35.30% under the age of 18, 11.30% from 18 to 24, 27.60% from 25 to 44, 16.00% from 45 to 64, and 9.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 94.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $24,863, and the median income for a family was $26,009. Males had a median income of $21,299 versus $18,297 for females. The per capita income for the county was $9,899. About 31.30% of families and 35.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.50% of those under age 18 and 23.30% of those age 65 or over. The county’s per-capita income makes it one of the poorest counties in the United States. In 2009, it was tied with Bronx County, New York for “the greatest share of people receiving food stamps: 29 percent.”


  • Alamo
  • Alton
  • Donna
  • Edcouch
  • Edinburg
  • Elsa
  • Granjeno
  • Hidalgo
  • La Joya
  • La Villa
  • McAllen
  • Mercedes
  • Mission
  • Palmhurst
  • Palmview
  • Penitas
  • Pharr
  • Progreso
  • Progreso Lakes
  • San Juan
  • Sullivan City
  • Weslaco

Unincorporated communities

  • Abram-Perezville
  • Alton North
  • Cesar Chavez
  • Citrus City
  • Cuevitas
  • Doffing
  • Doolittle
  • El Gato
  • Faysville
  • Hargill
  • Havana
  • Heidelberg
  • Indian Hills
  • La Blanca
  • La Homa
  • Laguna Seca
  • Llano Grande
  • Lopezville
  • Los Ebanos
  • McCook[14]
  • Midway North
  • Midway South
  • Mila Doce
  • Monte Alto
  • Muniz
  • North Alamo
  • Nurillo
  • Olivarez
  • Palmview South
  • Relampago
  • Runn
  • San Carlos
  • San Manuel-Linn
  • Scissors
  • South Alamo
  • Val Verde


Hidalgo County tends to vote for the Democratic Party, although there is representation of the Republican Party in some of the offices that affect the county. Hidalgo County is represented by Ruben Hinojosa of Texas’s 15th congressional district, and Henry Cuellar of Texas’s 28th congressional district. In the 2008 presidential election, 69% of the voters voted for Barack Obama while 30% voted for John McCain. The last time Hidalgo County voted Republican was in the 1972 presidential election when Richard Nixon won 55% of the votes.

Presidential Election Results 1960-2008
Year Democrat Republican
2012 70% 97,969 28% 39,865
2008 69% 90,261 30% 39,668
2004 54% 62,369 44% 50,931
2000 60% 61,390 37% 38,301
1996 66% 56,335 28% 24,437
1992 58% 51,205 30% 26,976
1988 64% 54,330 34% 29,246
1984 55% 44,147 44% 35,059
1980 56% 34,542 41% 25,808
1976 64% 35,021 35% 19,199
1972 42% 18,366 55% 22,920
1968 54% 20,087 39% 14,455
1964 65% 22,110 34% 11,563
1960 57% 18,663 42% 13,628

Political Parties

Democratic Party


Hidalgo County Democratic Party
305 (B) N. Shary Rd.
Mission, TX 78572
Website: Hidalgo County Democratic Party

Republican Party


Hidalgo County Republican Party
5111 North 10th ST, PMB340
McAllen, Texas 78504
Meetings are currently held at:
5804 N. 23rd Street, McAllen, Texas 78504
Website: Hidalgo County Republican Party

Adjacent counties and municipalities

  • Brooks County (north)
  • Kenedy County (northeast)
  • Willacy County (east)
  • Cameron County (east)
  • Starr County (west)
  • Gustavo Díaz Ordaz Municipality, Tamaulipas, Mexico (south)
  • Reynosa Municipality, Tamaulipas, Mexico (south)
  • Río Bravo Municipality, Tamaulipas, Mexico (south)
  • Matamoros Municipality, Tamaulipas, Mexico (southeast)


Major highways

  • US 83.svg U.S. Highway 83
  • US 281.svg U.S. Highway 281
  • Texas 107.svg State Highway 107
  • Texas 336.svg State Highway 336


The following school districts serve Hidalgo County

  • Donna Independent School District
  • Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District
  • Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District
  • Hidalgo Independent School District
  • La Joya Independent School District
  • La Villa Independent School District
  • Lyford Consolidated Independent School District (partial)
  • McAllen Independent School District
  • Mercedes Independent School District
  • Mission Consolidated Independent School District
  • Monte Alto Independent School District
  • Progreso Independent School District
  • Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District
  • Sharyland Independent School District
  • Valley View Independent School District

In addition, the county is served by the multi-county South Texas Independent School District. The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville operates three PK-8th Grade schools, two lower-level elementary schools and two high schools.

The University of Texas-Pan American is located in Edinburg. Hidalgo County, along with neighboring Starr County, is part of the South Texas College.


Area newspapers

  • The Valley Town Crier
  • The Edinburg Review
  • The Monitor
  • ‘The Mid Valley Town Crier
  • RGV Business Journal
  • The Edinburg Review
  • The Progress Times

Area radio stations

  • KGBT 98.5FM
  • KGBT 1530AM
  • KBTQ 96.1FM
  • KFRQ 94.5FM
  • KKPS 99.5FM
  • KNVO 101.1FM
  • KVLY 107.9FM
  • KURV 710 AM
  • KVMV 96.9FM
  • [KMBH (FM) ] 88.1 FM


  • Contempo Magazine

See also