Fort Bend County, Texas facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Fort Bend County, Texas
Seal of Fort Bend County, Texas
Map
Map of Texas highlighting Fort Bend County
Location in the state of Texas
Map of the USA highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded 1838
Seat Richmond
Largest City Sugar Land
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

885 sq mi (2,292 km²)
861 sq mi (2,230 km²)
24 sq mi (62 km²), 2.7%
Population
 - (2014)
 - Density

652,365
697/sq mi (269/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website: www.co.fort-bend.tx.us
Named for: A blockhouse positioned in a bend of the Brazos River
(Fort Bend County Court House, Richmond, Texas) (12819388513)
Fort Bend County Court House in 1948

Fort Bend County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 585,375, making it the tenth-most populous county in Texas. Fort Bend County is the wealthiest county in Texas with a median household income of $95,389 and a median family income of $105,944, having surpassed Collin and Rockwall counties (Dallas suburbs) since the 2000 census. The county seat is Richmond, while its largest city is Sugar Land. The county was founded in 1837 and organized the next year. It is named for a blockhouse at a bend of the Brazos River; the fort was the start of the community in early days.

Fort Bend County is included in the HoustonThe Woodlands–Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was listed by Forbes as the 5th fastest-growing county in the United States.

History

Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by the Karankawa Indians. Mexican colonists had generally not reached this area, settling more in south Texas.

After Mexico achieved independence from Spain, Anglo-Americans started entering from the east. In 1822, a group of Stephen F. Austin's colonists, headed by William Travis, built a fort at the present site of Richmond. The fort was called "Fort Bend", since it was built in the bend of the Brazos River. The city of Richmond was incorporated under the Republic of Texas along with nineteen other towns in 1837. Fort Bend County was created from parts of Austin, Harris, and Brazoria counties in 1838.

Fort Bend developed a plantation economy based on cotton and, due to the high number of African-American slaves held as laborers, it was one of six majority-black counties in the state by the 1850s. In 1860 the slave population totaled 4,127, more than twice that of the 2,016 whites. There were very few free blacks, as Texas refused them entry.

While the area began to attract immigrants in the late 19th century, it continued as majority black during and after Reconstruction, when Republicans were elected to office. By the 1880s, most white residents belonged to the Democratic Party, but factional tensions were fierce, largely along racial lines. The Jaybirds, representing the majority of the whites, were struggling to regain control from the Woodpeckers, who were made up of some whites consistently elected to office by the majority of African-Americans; several had been former Republican officials during Reconstruction. Fort Bend County was the site of the Jaybird–Woodpecker War in 1888-1889. After a few murders were committed, the political feud culminated in a gun-battle at the courthouse on August 16, 1889 when several more people were killed and the Woodpeckers were routed from the seat of government.

Governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross sent in militia forces and declared martial law. With his support, the Jaybirds ordered a list of certain blacks and Woodpecker officials out of the county. The Jaybirds took over county offices and established a "white-only pre-primary," disenfranchising the African Americans from the only competitive contests in the county. This device lasted until 1950 when Willie Melton and Arizona Fleming won a lawsuit against the practice in United States District Court, though it was overturned on appeal. In 1953 they ultimately won their suit when the Jaybird primary was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in Terry v. Adams, the last of the white primaries cases.

20th century to present

While party alignments have changed since the early 20th century, with conservative whites now supporting the Republican Party, minority voting by minorities has been reviewed by the federal government under provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In April 2009, as part of a settlement with the United States Department of Justice, officials of Fort Bend County agreed to increase assistance to Spanish-speaking Latino voters in elections held in the county.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 885 square miles (2,290 km2), of which 861 square miles (2,230 km2) is land and 24 square miles (62 km2) (2.7%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 2,533
1860 6,143 142.5%
1870 7,114 15.8%
1880 9,380 31.9%
1890 10,586 12.9%
1900 16,538 56.2%
1910 18,168 9.9%
1920 22,931 26.2%
1930 29,718 29.6%
1940 32,963 10.9%
1950 31,056 −5.8%
1960 40,527 30.5%
1970 52,314 29.1%
1980 130,846 150.1%
1990 225,421 72.3%
2000 354,452 57.2%
2010 585,375 65.1%
Est. 2015 716,087 102.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2014
Demographic profile 2010
Total Population 585,375 – 100.0%
Not Hispanic or Latino 446,408 – 76.3%
White alone 211,680 – 36.2%
Black or African American alone 123,267 – 21.1%
Asian alone 98,762 – 16.9%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 1,159 – 0.2%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone 174 – 0.0%
Some other race alone 1,341 – 0.2%
Two or more races alone 10,025 – 1.7%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 138,967 – 23.7%

As of the census of 2000, there were 354,452 people, 110,915 households, and 93,057 families residing in the county. The population density was 405 people per square mile (156/km²). There were 115,991 housing units at an average density of 133 per square mile (51/km²). The racial or ethnic makeup of the county was 56.96% White (46.21% White Non-Hispanic), 19.85% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 11.20% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 9.10% from other races, and 2.56% from two or more races. 21.12% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Other self-identifications were 8.8% of German ancestry, 6.3% American and 5.8% English ancestry according to the 2000 United States Census.

In 2006 Fort Bend county had a population of 493,187. This represented a growth of 39.1% since 2000. The county's racial or ethnic makeup was 53.96% White (39.63% White Non-Hispanic), 20.88% African American, 14.77% Asian, 0.51% Native American, 7.73% other races and 2.14% from two or more races. 22.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 23.82% of the population was foreign born; of this, 50.24% came from Asia, 37.17% came from Latin America, 5.74% from Africa, 5.28% from Europe and 1.57% from other parts of the world.

In 2000 there were 110,915 households out of which 49.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.80% were married couples living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.10% were non-families. 13.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.14 and the average family size was 3.46.

In the county, the age distribution of the population shows 32.00% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 32.30% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 5.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.30 males.

As of 2002, the largest two cities within Fort Bend County were Missouri City and Sugar Land, with portions of Houston combining to make up the county's third largest "city". In that year, 38,000 residents of the City of Houston lived in Fort Bend County.

According to the 2008 American Community Survey, the median income for a household in the county was $81,456, and the median income for a family was $90,171. Males had a median income of $54,139 versus $41,353 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,862. About 5.50% of families and 7.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.50% of those under age 18 and 9.40% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2006 Fort Bend County is the wealthiest county in Texas with a median household income of $95,389 and a median family income of $105,944, having surpassed Collin and Rockwall counties (Dallas suburbs) since the 2000 census. However, the Council for Community and Economic Research ranked Fort Bend County as America's 3rd wealthiest county when the local cost of living was factored into the equation with median household income.

However, this estimate does not include property taxes and local taxes, as they didn't measure effective tax rates and home insurance. Fort Bend County, along with other Texas counties, has one of the nation's highest property tax rates.

In 2007, it was ranked 5th in the nation for property taxes as percentage of the homes value on owner occupied housing. The list only includes counties with a population over 65,000 for accuracy. Fort Bend County also ranked in the top 100 for amount of property taxes paid and for percentage of taxes of income. Part of this is due to the complex Robin Hood plan school financing law that exists in Texas.

Ethnic backgrounds

Since the 1970s, Fort Bend County has been attracting people from all types of ethnic backgrounds. According to a 2001 Claritas study, it was the fifth-most diverse U.S. county, among counties with a population of 100,000 or more.

It is one of a growing number of U.S. counties with an ethnic plurality, with no single ethnic group forming a majority of the population. Fort Bend County also has the highest percentage of Asian Americans in the Southern United States; the largest groups are of Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, and Filipino ancestry. By 2011 Fort Bend was ranked the fourth-most racially diverse county in the United States by USA Today. The newspaper based the ranking on calculating the probability that two persons selected at random would be of different ethnic groups or races. According to the USA Today methodology, the chance of people of being two different ethnic groups/races being selected was 75%. Karl Eschbach, a former demographer with the State of Texas, said in a 2011 Houston Chronicle article that many people from Houston neighborhoods and communities with clear racial identities, such as the East End, Sunnyside, and the Third Ward, moved to suburban areas that were too new to have established racial identities. Eschbach explained "[a]s a large minority middle class started to emerge, Fort Bend was virgin territory that all groups could move to."

Transportation

Major highways

EnterFortBend
Farm to Market Road 1092, a major entry into the county
  • I-10.svg Interstate 10
  • I-69.svg Interstate 69 (Under Construction)
  • US 59.svg U.S. Route 59
  • Alternate plate.svg
    US 90.svg U.S. Route 90 Alternate
  • Texas 6.svg State Highway 6
  • Texas 36.svg State Highway 36
  • Texas 99.svg State Highway 99 — Grand Parkway
  • Fort Bend Toll Road.svg Fort Bend Parkway
  • Westpark Tollway.svg Westpark Tollway
  • Texas FM 359.svg Farm to Market Road 359
  • Texas FM 442.svg Farm to Market Road 442
  • Texas FM 521.svg Farm to Market Road 521
  • Texas FM 762.svg Farm to Market Road 762
  • Texas FM 1092.svg Farm to Market Road 1092
  • Texas FM 1093.svg Farm to Market Road 1093
  • Texas FM 1464.svg Farm to Market Road 1464
  • Texas FM 1876.svg Farm to Market Road 1876
  • Texas FM 2234.svg Farm to Market Road 2234
  • Texas FM 2759.svg Farm to Market Road 2759
  • Texas FM 2977.svg Farm to Market Road 2977
  • Texas FM 3345.svg Farm to Market Road 3345

Airports

The sole publicly owned airport in the county is Sugar Land Regional Airport in Sugar Land.

Privately owned airports for public use include:

  • Houston Fort Bend Airport is in an unincorporated area east of Beasley
  • Houston Southwest Airport in Arcola
  • Westheimer Air Park is in an unincorporated area between Fulshear and Houston

Privately owned airports for private use include:

  • Cardiff Brothers Airport is in an unincorporated area near Fulshear and Katy

The following general aviation heliports (all privately owned, for private use) exist in unincorporated areas:

  • Dewberry Heliport is in an unincorporated area between Fulshear and Katy

The closest airport with regularly scheduled commercial service is Houston's William P. Hobby Airport in Harris County. The Houston Airport System stated that Fort Bend County is within the primary service area of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, an international airport in Houston in Harris County.

Mass transit

Fort Bend County officially created a department of Public Transportation in 2005 that provides commuter buses to Uptown, Greenway Plaza, and Texas Medical Center. It also provides Demand and Response Buses to Senior Citizens and the General Public that travel only in Fort Bend County to anywhere in Fort Bend County. Portions of the county, e.g., Katy, Missouri City, are participants in the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County and are served by several Park and Ride routes.

Freeway system

The TTC-69 component (recommended preferred) of the once-planned Trans-Texas Corridor went through Fort Bend County.

Toll roads

The Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority (FBCTRA), located in Sugar Land, manages and operates tolled portions of three toll roads operating in the county:

Communities

Cities (multiple counties)

Cities

Town

Villages

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost Towns

Images for kids


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