McAllen Texas is the twentieth most populous city in Texas as well as largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. It is located at the southern tip of Texas in an area known as the Rio Grande Valley and is part of the American South. Its southern boundary is located on the Rio Grande River across the Mexican city of Reynosa, the Rio Grande, and about 70 miles (110 km) west of South Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico. The 2010 census put the city’s population at 129,877 and the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission metropolitan area at 774,769. The Reynosa–McAllen Metropolitan Area counts with a population of nearly 1.7 million. Although the area around McAllen was largely rural in character dependent on agriculture for much of its history since it was settled in 1904, the latter half of the 20th century was marked by steady growth that accelerated during the 1980s and led to an economic and population boom in the 1990s and 2000s. Today the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States, although most of its growth was from surrounding smaller cities. The introduction of the maquiladora economy and the North American Free Trade Association led to a boom in international trade, cross-border commerce with Mexico and health care. McAllen’s Medicare spending per capita has attracted national scrutiny due to a sharp increase from a national average in 1992 to a near national high by 2006.
McAllen Texas is a regional retail destination for Northeastern Mexican states. While McAllen’s total population is 20th among Texas cities, it ranked 12th in overall retail sales, and third in the State in total retail sales per household and per capita.
McAllen is located at 26°12′59″N 98°14′11″W / 26.21639°N 98.23639°W / 26.21639; -98.23639 (26.216263, -98.236385).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 46.3 square miles (120 km2). 46.0 square miles (119 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (0.63%) is water.
Although McAllen is named the City of Palms, tropical vegetation is only locally dominant. There are many deciduous trees such as Rio Grande Ash (Fraxinus berlandieriana), Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia), Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata) and Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa). In winter, when these trees are bare, many neighborhoods take on a much more temperate appearance.
McAllen Texas has a humid-subtropical climate (Köppen BSh), with characteristics of a tropical savanna climate. The average high in January is 70 °F and the average low is 50 °F. The average high is 96 °F and the average low is 76 °F in August. The warm season is extremely long, as average high temperatures from May through September are above 90°F (32 °C) and average low temperatures are above 70 °F (21 °C), with relatively high dew point values resulting in higher relative humidity values and heat index values. Heat index values can consistently reach over 100 °F during these months.
Average annual precipitation is only 22.96 inches (583 mm). Most precipitation occurs in the warm season, with the least precipitation distinctly occurring in the cooler winter. As September is the peak of the north Atlantic hurricane season and tropical storms and hurricanes occasionally drop copious amounts of rainfall on the region, this month tends to be by far the wettest, averaging 4.08 inches (104 mm) of rain. The driest month is March, with only 0.72 inches (18 mm) of precipitation. Since 1941, it has snowed once, when the city receive 1.7 inches on December 25, 2004.
Temperatures are frequently above 100 °F (38 °C), occasionally as early as February and as late as the end of October, the highest temperature ever recorded in McAllen is 110 °F (43 °C), once in 1998 and once in 1999. The lowest temperature ever recorded in McAllen is 13 °F (-11 °C), on January 12, 1962.
Population and demographics
McAllen’s population was 129,877 according to the 2010 census. It is the 187th largest city in the U.S. and is part of the 70th largest metropolitan area. The 2000 census put the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission metropolitan area at a population of 569,463, and growth increased the metropolitan area’s population to 774,769 according to the 2010 Census. McAllen accounted for just 23,457 of the 205,306 population growth of the metropolitan area during 2000 to 2010. Most of the metropolitan area growth occurred in the nearby smaller cities.
As of the census of 2000, there were 106,414 people, 33,151 households, and 26,089 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,314.7 people per square mile (893.8/km²). There were 37,922 housing units at an average density of 824.9 per square mile (318.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city 78.46% White, 0.61% African American, 0.40% Native American, 4.93% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 15.85% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 77.28% of the population.
There were 33,151 households out of which 43.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.3% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.18 and the average family size was 3.64.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.8% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 90.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,641, and the median income for a family was $36,050. Males had a median income of $30,089 versus $22,480 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,939. About 20.9% of families and 23.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.5% of those under age 18 and 20.3% of those age 65 or over.
The Rio Grande Valley really didn’t begin its rapid develop until the introduction of irrigation in 1898 and the building of the railroad in 1904. These major additions turned a once relatively desolate area into a major agricultural center. Throughout much of the 1900s, McAllen was a rural, agriculture-based economy characterized by sporadic growth. Today, the area is being transformed into a major international trade area by developing first-rate commercial, retail, office, industrial, medical, retirement and educational facilities. As recently as 1990, McAllen’s unemployment rate was at 22.6 percent. By the end of 2005, that figure dropped to 7.7 percent. However, In 2011, census.gov listed the McAllen metro area the poorest in the nation.
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. The McAllen area has also been successful in attracting a number of call centers as a result of a young and trainable workforce. A few of the call centers are Convergys, T-Mobile, Merkafon, Hotel.com and Ticketmaster.
In Hidalgo County, cross-border cargo and vehicular traffic have increased 345% and 36.4% respectively since the beginning of 1990’s, from 228,133 to 1,015,554 cargo trucks in 2008 and from 10.92 million to 14.9 million automobiles. US/Mexico trade crossing the international bridge in Hidalgo County increased from $5.0 billion in 1994, pre-NAFTA, to $12.56 billion in 2000 and $19.9 billion in 2006. From 1995 to 2006 the Rio Grande Valley share of NAFTA trade increased 168% from $11.1 billion to $31.6 billion.
The McAllen Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) is located 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. There is also a Foreign-Trade Zone designation site at the McAllen-Miller International Airport to facilitate air cargo needs. Under U.S. and Mexican laws and NAFTA provisions, the FTZ designation offers specific cost-saving opportunities to manufacturers. Products can be brought into the FTZ duty-free. Services have recently extended to include full logistic support services including public warehouse services including pick and pack, order processing, inventory control, incoming/outgoing quality inspection and kitting.
The McAllen Metro Area is the main retail center in the Rio Grande Valley, drawing from a consumer base of over 10 million people within a 200-mile radius, mostly from the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon and northern-central Tamaulipas. 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.
Border agencies tally nearly 40 million legal visits a year by Mexicans coming to Texas for leisure activities. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas figures they spent $3 billion on merchandise in Texas border counties in 2004, the latest data available, up from around $1.6 billion a decade earlier. In the past 10 years, retail sales in McAllen have risen more than 75%, nearly double the nationwide pace of 40% Per-capita sales here are twice the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Forty of the nation’s top 100 retailers have recently staked their claim here. When Guess Inc. launched its new clothing boutique, Marciano, in 2004, the company chose Los Angeles, Toronto and McAllen as its three test cities. Foley’s, a chain of department stores in Texas owned by Macy’s, in Cincinnati, says operations in McAllen and nearby Laredo are its fastest-growing locations. J.C. Penney says about three quarters of customers at its McAllen store are from Mexico and last year the chain allowed Mexican shoppers to apply for its gift registry and credit card.
McAllen Public Library operates a main library and two branches, the Lark Branch and the Palm View Branch. The new main branch opened in the fall of 2011 inside a former Walmart, and is possibly the largest single story public library in the U.S.
Media and journalism
- XHRIO 2 Matamoros, Tamaulipas Mundo Fox
- KGBT 4 Harlingen, Texas CBS
- KRGV 5 Weslaco, Texas ABC
- XHAB 7 Matamoros, Tamaulipas Vallevision
- XERV 9 Reynosa, Tamaulipas Canal de las Estrellas
- XHREY 12 Reynosa, Tamaulipas Azteca 13
- XHOR 14 Reynosa, Tamaulipas Azteca 7
- KVEO‘ 23 Brownsville, Texas NBC
- KTLM 40 Rio Grande City, Texas Telemundo
- KNVO 48 McAllen, Texas Univision
- KTIZ-LP 52 Harlingen, Texas The CW
- XHVTV 54 Reynosa, Tamaulipas Multimedios
- KMBH 60 Harlingen, Texas PBS
- KFXV 67 McAllen, Texas Fox
- KURV-AM 710 AM News Talk Radio
- XERDO-AM La Radio 1450 AM (News/Sports) [Spanish]
- XEMS-AM Radio Mexicana 1490 AM (Regional Mexican) [Spanish]
- KHID-FM 88.1 FM McAllen (National Public Radio)
- XHRYS-FM Hits FM 90.1 FM (Top 40 Hits) [Spanish]
- XHRYN-FM Uni 90.5 FM [Spanish]
- XHRYA-FM Mas Musica 90.9 FM (Hit Radio) [Spanish]
- XHMLS-FM Exitos 91.3 FM (All-Time Hits) [Spanish]
- KCAS-AM The New KCAS 91.5 FM
- XHAAA-FM La Caliente 93.1 FM (Regional Mexican) [Spanish]
- KFRQ-FM Q94.5 FM (Classic/Modern/Hard Rock)
- XHRT-FM Xtrema 95.3 FM (All-Time Hits) [Spanish]
- KBTQ-FM Recuerdo 96.1 FM (Oldies) [Spanish]
- KVMV-FM Family Friendly & Commercial Free 96.9 FM (Adult Contemporary Christian)
- KGBT-FM Solamente Exitos 98.5 FM (Regional Mexican) [Spanish]
- KKPS-FM Que Pasa 99.5 FM (Local Tejano Music) [Spanish]
- KTEX-FM South Texas Country 100.3 FM (Country)
- KNVO-FM Jose 101.1 FM [Spanish]
- XHAVO-FM Digital 101.5 FM (International Music) [Spanish]
- KBFM-FM Wild 104.1 FM (Hip-Hop/R&B/Reggaeton)
- KJAV-FM 104.9 FM Jack FM (“Playing What We Want”)(Adult Hits)
- XQXX-FM The X 105.5 FM (Classic-rock)
- KHKZ-FM Kiss 106.3 FM (Hot AC)
- XHVTH-FM La Mas Buena 107.1 FM (Regional Mexican) [Spanish]
- KVLY-FM Mix 107.9 FM (Today’s Modern Music (Mix FM))
- The Monitor is headquartered in McAllen
- Valley Morning Star
- Viva South Texas – owned by White Coyote Productions
Architecture and points of interest
- Tallest buildings
- Chase Texas Tower (tallest tower in McAllen)
- BBVA Compass Tower
- Bentsen Tower
- Embassy Suites Hotel
- McAllen Medical Center
- Inter National Bank
- Rio Grande Regional Hospital
- McAllen Botanical Gardens
- Quinta Mazatlan
- McAllen Convention Center
- La Plaza Mall
- Downtown McAllen
- Rio Grande Speedway
- South Texas College
- International Museum of Art and Science
- Cine El Rey
- Cities within 75 miles (121 km)
- Alamo, Texas1
- Brownsville, Texas
- Donna, Texas
- Edinburg, Texas
- Harlingen, Texas
- Hidalgo, Texas
- Mercedes, Texas
- Mission, Texas
- Pharr, Texas
- Reynosa, Tamaulipas (Mexico)
- San Juan, Texas
- Weslaco, Texas
Nearest major cities
- Cities with a population over 250,000 within 200 miles (320 km)
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Laredo, Texas
- Matamoros, Tamaulipas
- Monterrey, Nuevo León
- Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
- Reynosa, Tamaulipas