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Rio Grande Valley facts for kids

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Rio Grande Valley
Country  US
State  Texas
Region South Texas
Lowest point
 - location Gulf of Mexico
 - elevation m (0 ft)
Area 12,619 km² (Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",". sq mi)
Population 1,336,323 (2014)
Density 259 /km² (671 /sq mi)
Timezone Central (UTC-6)
Area code 956

The Rio Grande Valley (RGV), The Valley, is an area located in the southernmost tip of South Texas. It lies along the northern bank of the Rio Grande river, which separates Mexico from the United States. The four-county region, consisting of Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, and Starr counties, is one of the fastest growing places in the United States. From having about 325,000 people in 1969, to today a population over 1,300,000 in 2014. Some of the biggest cities in the region are; Brownsville, McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Pharr, Weslaco, Harlingen, Rio Grande City, and Hidalgo.

Geography and demographics

The Rio Grande Valley is not a true valley, but a floodplain, containing many oxbow lakes or resacas formed from pinched-off meanders in earlier courses of the Rio Grande. Early 20th-century land developers, attempting to capitalize on unclaimed land, utilized the name "Magic Valley" to attract settlers and appeal to investors. The Rio Grande Valley is also called El Valle, the Spanish translation of "the valley", by those who live there. The residents of the Rio Grande Valley occasionally refer to the area as "El Mágico Valle del Río Grande" ("The Magical Valley of the Rio Grande"), and also simply by the initials R.G.V.

The main region is within four Texan counties: Starr County, Hidalgo County, Willacy County, and Cameron County. As of January 1, 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population of the Rio Grande Valley at 1,305,782. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2008, 86 percent of Cameron County, 90 percent of Hidalgo County, 97 percent of Starr County, and 86 percent of Willacy County are Hispanic.

The largest city is Brownsville (Cameron County), followed by McAllen (Hidalgo County). Other major cities include Harlingen, Edinburg, Mission, Rio Grande City, Raymondville, Weslaco, Hidalgo and Pharr. {{#lst:Brownsville, Texas|weather box}}


The Lower Rio Grande Valley encompasses landmarks that attract tourists, and popular destinations include: Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park; and on the coast: South Padre Island, Brazos Island, and the Port Isabel Lighthouse.

The Valley is a popular waypoint for tourists visiting Northeast Mexico. Popular destinations across the border and Rio Grande include: Matamoros, Nuevo Progreso, Río Bravo, and Reynosa, all located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

The Valley also attracts tourists from the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Mexico, D.F. (México City).

Places of historical interest

Chimney park sunset
The First Lift Station in Mission, Texas once provided water for irrigating the crops of the early Rio Grande Valley.

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