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Bell County, Texas facts for kids

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Bell County
The Bell County Courthouse in Belton
The Bell County Courthouse in Belton
Map of Texas highlighting Bell County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Texas
Founded 1850
Named for Peter Hansborough Bell
Seat Belton
Largest city Killeen
 • Total 1,088 sq mi (2,820 km2)
 • Land 1,051 sq mi (2,720 km2)
 • Water 37 sq mi (100 km2)  3.4%
 • Total 370,647
 • Density 340.67/sq mi (131.53/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districts 25th, 31st

Bell County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. It is in Central Texas and its county seat is Belton.

As of the 2020 census, its population was 370,647. Bell County is part of the KilleenTemple, Texas, Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The county was founded in 1850 and is named for Peter Hansborough Bell, the third governor of Texas.

In 2010, the center of population of Texas was located in Bell County, near the town of Holland.


  • 1834–1835 Little River becomes part of Robertson's Colony, settlers from Nashville, led by Sterling C. Robertson: families of Captain Goldsby Childers, Robert Davison, John Fulcher, Moses Griffin, John Needham, Michael Reed and his son William Whitaker Reed, William Taylor, and Judge Orville T. Tyler.
  • 1836 The settlements are deserted during the Runaway Scrape, reoccupied, deserted again after the Elmwood Creek Blood Scrape, re-occupied again. Texas Ranger George Erath establishes a fort on Little River.
  • 1843–44 Settlers return.
  • 1845 University of Mary Hardin–Baylor founded by the Republic of Texas as “Baylor Female College”.
  • 1850 Bell County is formed and named for Texas Governor Peter Hansborough Bell. Population 600 whites – 60 black slaves.
  • 1851 County seat is Belton.
  • 1859 Last serious Indian raid of the area.
  • 1860 Re-survey of the line between Bell and Milam County. Bell County assumes its present boundaries.
Confederate statue in Belton, TX IMG 2405
Confederate statue at Bell County Courthouse
  • 1861 County votes for secession from the Union.
  • 1862–1865 Union sympathizers and Confederate deserters hole up in "Camp Safety."
  • 1867 Belton Women’s Commonwealth, the first women’s movement in Central Texas, is formed by Martha McWhirter. The group provides shelter to women in abusive relationships.
  • 1865–1877 Reconstruction in the county is so troubled that Federal troops are quartered in Belton. Corruption, lawlessness, and racial divides are rampant. Bell County has a local version of the KKK.
  • 1875 Miriam A. Ferguson, first woman Governor of Texas, is born in Bell County.
  • 1881 Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, the first railroad to be built in Bell County, establishes Temple as its headquarters
  • 1884 Current Bell County Courthouse is built. Renaissance Revival design is by architect Jasper N. Preston and Sons.
  • 1905 The Belton and Temple Interurban electric railway is constructed.
  • 1920’s Ku Klux Klan revived in Bell County.
  • 1925 Miriam A. Ferguson is inaugurated as governor.
  • 1926 Temple Junior College (later Temple College) opens.
  • 1933 Miriam A. Ferguson is inaugurated for her second, but non-consecutive, term as governor.
  • 1942 Fort Hood opens as a military training base.
  • 1956 Killeen school board votes to integrate local high school.
  • 1965 Central Texas College founded in Killeen.
  • 1976 Temple Mall opens.
  • 1980 Killeen becomes the largest city in Bell County.
  • 1981 Killeen Mall opens.
  • 1987 Bell County Expo Center opens
  • 1991, October 16 - Luby's shooting
  • 1995 Four years after the Luby’s shooting, Governor George W. Bush signs new law easing restrictions on carrying handguns by allowing Texans to carry concealed weapons with a required permit for concealed weapons. Texas thus tosses out a ban on carrying weapons that had been adopted by another Republican governor, E.J. Davis, 125 years earlier during a meeting of the post-Civil War Legislature.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,088 square miles (2,820 km2), of which 1,051 square miles (2,720 km2) is land and 37 square miles (96 km2) (3.4%) is water.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 4,799
1870 9,771 103.6%
1880 20,518 110.0%
1890 33,377 62.7%
1900 45,535 36.4%
1910 49,186 8.0%
1920 46,412 −5.6%
1930 50,030 7.8%
1940 44,863 −10.3%
1950 73,824 64.6%
1960 94,097 27.5%
1970 124,483 32.3%
1980 157,889 26.8%
1990 191,088 21.0%
2000 237,974 24.5%
2010 310,235 30.4%
2020 370,647 19.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010 2020

2020 census

Bell County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 157,289 156,780 50.70% 42.30%
Black or African American alone (NH) 63,380 80,759 20.43% 21.79%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 1,484 1,448 0.48% 0.39%
Asian alone (NH) 8,350 10,884 2.69% 2.94%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 2,245 3,454 0.72% 0.93%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 500 2,063 0.16% 0.56%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 9,977 21,792 3.22% 5.88%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 67,010 93,467 21.60% 25.22%
Total 310,235 370,647 100.00% 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

As of the census of 2010, 310,235 people, 114,035 households, and 80,449 families resided in the county. The population density was 295.2 people per square mile (87/km2). The 125,470 housing units averaged 88 per square mile (34/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 61.4% White, 21.5% Black, 0.8% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander, and 5.0% from two or more races. About 21.6% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race; 14.9% were of Mexican, 3.6% were of Puerto Rican, 0.2% Cuban, and 0.2% were of Dominican descent.

Of the 85,507 households, 40.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.60% were married couples living together, 12.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.50% were not families. About 22.30% 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 2.68 and the average family size was 3.14. As of the 2010 census, about 3.6 same-sex couples per 1,000 households were in the county.

In the county, the population was distributed as 28.90% under the age of 18, 13.40% from 18 to 24, 31.90% from 25 to 44, 17.00% from 45 to 64, and 8.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,872, and for a family was $41,455. Males had a median income of $28,031 versus $22,364 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,219. About 9.70% of families and 12.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.30% of those under age 18 and 9.80% of those age 65 or over.


Major highways

These major highways run through Bell County:

Mass transit

The Hill Country Transit District operates a regularly scheduled fixed-route bus service within the urban areas of Killeen and Temple, as well as a paratransit service throughout the county. Amtrak also has scheduled service to Temple.


Bell county expo center 2014
The Bell County Expo Center, located off Interstate Highway 35 south of Belton




Census-designated Place

Unincorporated communities


Bell County is served by several school districts:

  • Academy Independent School District
  • Bartlett Independent School District (partial)
  • Belton Independent School District
  • Bruceville-Eddy Independent School District (partial)
  • Copperas Cove Independent School District (partial)
  • Florence Independent School District (partial)
  • Gatesville Independent School District (partial)
  • Holland Independent School District (partial)
  • Killeen Independent School District (partial)
  • Lampasas Independent School District (partial)
  • Moody Independent School District (partial)
  • Rogers Independent School District (partial)
  • Rosebud-Lott Independent School District (partial)
  • Temple Independent School District
  • Troy Independent School District
  • Salado Independent School District

See also

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