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Jefferson County, Texas facts for kids

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Jefferson County
The Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont. The Art Deco-style building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 17, 1982. The top five floors once served as the County Jail.
The Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont. The Art Deco-style building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 17, 1982. The top five floors once served as the County Jail.
Official seal of Jefferson County
Map of Texas highlighting Jefferson 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 1837
Named for Thomas Jefferson
Seat Beaumont
Largest city Beaumont
 • Total 1,113 sq mi (2,880 km2)
 • Land 876 sq mi (2,270 km2)
 • Water 236 sq mi (610 km2)  21%%
 • Estimate 
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 14th

Jefferson County is a county in the Coastal Plain or Gulf Prairie region of Southeast Texas. The Neches River forms its northeast boundary. As of the 2010 census, the population was 256,526. The county seat of Jefferson County is Beaumont.

The county was established in 1835 as a municipality of Mexico, which had gained independence from Spain. Because the area was lightly settled, the Mexican government allowed European Americans from the United States to settle here if they pledged loyalty to Mexico. This was organized as a county in 1837 after Texas achieved independence as a republic. It was named by European-American settlers for U.S. president Thomas Jefferson. Texas later became part of the US.

Jefferson County is part of the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area and has the highest population of the four-county MSA. It has three state correctional facilities and a federal high-security prison in unincorporated areas of the county. Together they have a maximum capacity of nearly 9,000 prisoners.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,113 square miles (2,880 km2), of which 876 square miles (2,270 km2) is land and 236 square miles (610 km2) (21%) is water.

Jefferson County is located on the plains of the Texas Gulf Coast in the southeastern part of the state. The county is bounded on the north by Pine Island Bayou, on the northeast by the Neches River, and on the east by Sabine Lake and the mouth of the Sabine River, a natural outlet called Sabine Pass. The southern part of the county is largely marshland, much of which is contained within Sea Rim State Park, reaching to the storm-battered beach at the Gulf of Mexico.

Major highways

  • I-10.svg Interstate 10
  • US 69.svg US 96.svg US 287.svg U.S. Highway 69/U.S. Highway 96/U.S. Highway 287
  • US 90.svg U.S. Highway 90
  • Texas 73.svg State Highway 73
  • Texas 82.svg State Highway 82
  • Texas 87.svg State Highway 87
  • Texas 105.svg State Highway 105
  • Texas 124.svg State Highway 124
  • Texas 326.svg State Highway 326
  • Texas 347.svg State Highway 347

Adjacent counties and parishes

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,836
1860 1,995 8.7%
1870 1,906 −4.5%
1880 3,489 83.1%
1890 5,857 67.9%
1900 14,239 143.1%
1910 38,182 168.2%
1920 73,120 91.5%
1930 133,391 82.4%
1940 145,329 8.9%
1950 195,083 34.2%
1960 245,659 25.9%
1970 244,773 −0.4%
1980 250,938 2.5%
1990 239,397 −4.6%
2000 252,051 5.3%
2010 252,273 0.1%
2020 256,526 1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2020

2020 census

Jefferson County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 112,503 96,047 44.60% 37.44%
Black or African American alone (NH) 84,500 83,856 33.50% 32.69%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 747 622 0.30% 0.24%
Asian alone (NH) 8,525 9,943 3.38% 3.88%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 64 66 0.03% 0.03%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 255 867 0.10% 0.34%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 2,780 6,210 1.10% 2.42%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 42,899 58,915 17.00% 22.97%
Total 252,273 256,526 100.00% 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.



Census-designated places

Unincorporated areas


The area is served by deep-water ports located at Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, and Sabine Pass. The Sabine Neches Waterway provides deep-water access to ocean-going vessels, which are served by public ports within the county. The waterway is the 3rd largest port in the US by tonnage.

The county is traversed by Interstate Highway 10, US Highways 90 and 69-96-287, State Highways 73, 87, and 105 and three farm-to-market roads. Rail and motor freight carriers also provide freight service to the county. The Jack Brooks Regional Airport located between Beaumont and Port Arthur provides passenger and freight service and is currently serviced by one commuter passenger air carrier.

The economy of the county is based primarily on petroleum refining; the production and processing of petrochemicals, bio-fuels and other chemicals; the fabrication of steel and steel products; shipping activity; the manufacture of wood, pulp, food and feed products; agriculture; and health care services. The county continues to diversify its economic base as evidenced by the increase of jobs in the services and government sectors. The county is also home to the largest military off-load port in the world.

Several large projects are in construction, permitting, and development for the area and the county continues to work with other taxing entities to create a business environment conducive to this growth. These include such notables as Lucite, Air Products, Vitol, Golden Pass Products, OCI, Exxon Mobil, Golden Pass LNG, and Sempra Energy.

Petrochemical expansions at the Motiva, Total, and Valero facilities located in Jefferson County represent approximately $15 billion in project improvements. In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on terminal and pipeline facilities to support these projects. Construction of the Trans-Canada Keystone XL pipeline which would deliver Canadian tar sands crude to Jefferson County and proponents say would help in relieving US dependence on oil from more politically volatile regions is awaiting federal permit approval. In addition, recent rail terminal facility expansions and new construction has significantly increased the transportation of Canadian tar sands oil and bitumen to the area for processing by area refineries.

Cheniere, one of two companies with Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals on the border of the Texas/Louisiana Coast, is completing construction of a $10 billion liquefaction facility. Golden Pass LNG opened their terminal in mid-2011. With their opening, the ship channel is now home to over 40% of the nation's LNG capacity. Golden Pass LNG has filed with federal authorities for permits allowing it to build a $10 billion gas liquefaction facility in Jefferson County, as has Sempra Energy. It is anticipated that these permits should move through the approval process more expeditiously now that former Texas governor Rick Perry has been confirmed as the new Secretary of Energy.

The county has participated in a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers into the feasibility of deepening the Sabine-Neches waterway. This will allow ports in Southeast Texas, the third largest in the nation, to accommodate newer deep draft vessels and thus remain competitive with other ports on the Gulf Coast. Recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued their “Chief’s Report” which paves the way for federal funding of this project. The U S House and Senate recently passed legislation which was signed by the President authorizing the construction of the waterway improvements at a cost in excess of $1 billion. Congressional appropriations for the project are expected shortly.

The county continues to work with industry leaders, the Texas Workforce Commission, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar University and non-profit groups to supply a workforce able to handle the growing labor needs of the county. This is especially critical given the interest of the international community in locating facilities to the county.

The resurgence in U. S. oil and gas exploration and production has made the county the place of choice for those industrial sectors seeking to exploit opportunities to profit from historically low priced energy commodities.


School districts:

  • Beaumont Independent School District
  • Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District
  • Hardin-Jefferson Independent School District
  • Nederland Independent School District
  • Port Arthur Independent School District
  • Port Neches–Groves Independent School District
  • Sabine Pass Independent School District

Hamshire-Fannett and Sabine Pass ISDs are assigned to Galveston College in Galveston. Legislation does not specify a community college for the remainder of the county.

Beaumont is home to Lamar University, a public research university with an enrollment of 14,889 students as of the fall 2014 semester; it offers 96 undergraduate, 50 master's, and eight doctoral degree programs. Port Arthur is home to Lamar State College–Port Arthur, offering two-year degrees and one-year certifications, including 34 associate degrees and 24 technical programs. Fall 2014 enrollment totaled 2,075 students.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Jefferson (Texas) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Prominent Hispanic scientists
Severo Ochoa
Sarah Stewart
Mario J. Molina
Rodolfo Llinás
F. J. Duarte
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