Texas facts for kids
|State of Texas|
|Nickname(s): The Lone Star State|
|State anthem: Texas, Our Texas|
|Official language||No official language
(see Languages spoken in Texas)
|Spoken languages||Predominantly English;
Spanish spoken by sizable minority
Tejano (Usually only used for Hispanics)
|Largest metro||Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington|
|- Total||268,581 sq mi
|- Width||773 miles (1,244 km)|
|- Length||790 miles (1,270 km)|
|- % water||2.5|
|- Latitude||25° 50′ N to 36° 30′ N|
|- Longitude||93° 31′ W to 106° 39′ W|
|Number of people||Ranked 2nd|
|- Total||27,862,596 (2016 est)|
|- Density||103.7/sq mi (40.0/km2)
|- Average income||$56,473 (26th)|
|Height above sea level|
|- Highest point||Guadalupe Peak
8,751 ft (2667.4 m)
|- Average||1,700 ft (520 m)|
|- Lowest point||Gulf of Mexico
|Before statehood||Republic of Texas|
|Became part of the U.S.||December 29, 1845 (28th)|
|- most of state||Central: UTC −6/−5|
|- El Paso, Hudspeth, and northwestern Culberson counties||Mountain: UTC −7/−6|
|Abbreviations||TX, Tex. US-TX|
|Texas state symbols|
The Flag of Texas
The Seal of Texas
|Bird||Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)|
|Fish||Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculii)|
|Flower||Bluebonnet (Lupinus spp., namely Texas bluebonnet, L. texensis)|
|Insect||Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)|
|Mammal||Texas longhorn, nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)|
|Reptile||Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum)|
|Tree||Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)|
|Shell||Lightning whelk (Busycon perversum pulleyi)|
|Slogan||The Friendly State|
|Song||"Texas, Our Texas"|
|Other||Molecule: Buckyball (For more, see article)|
|State route marker|
Released in 2004
|Lists of United States state symbols|
Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the south central part of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.
Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify its former status as an independent republic, and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico. The "Lone Star" can be found on the Texan state flag and on the Texan state seal. The origin of Texas's name is from the word "Tejas", which means "friends" in the Caddo language.
The term "six flags over Texas" refers to several nations that have ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845, Texas joined the United States as the 28th state. The state's annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846. A slave state before the American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the U.S. in early 1861, and officially joined the Confederate States of America on March 2 of the same year.
Texas leads the nation Texas leads the nation in the production of cattle. Due to its long history as a center of the industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy.
The state's economic fortunes changed in the early 20th century, when oil discoveries initiated an economic boom in the state.
- Images for kids
During Spanish colonial rule, the area was officially known as the Nuevo Reino de Filipinas: La Provincia de Texas.
Texas is the second largest U.S. state, behind Alaska, with an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2). Though 10 percent larger than France and almost twice as large as Germany or Japan, it ranks only 27th worldwide amongst country subdivisions by size. If it were an independent country, Texas would be the 40th largest behind Chile and Zambia.
Texas is in the south central part of the United States of America. Three of its borders are defined by rivers. The Rio Grande forms a natural border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south. The Red River forms a natural border with Oklahoma and Arkansas to the north. The Sabine River forms a natural border with Louisiana to the east. The Texas Panhandle has an eastern border with Oklahoma at 100° W, a northern border with Oklahoma at 36°30' N and a western border with New Mexico at 103° W. El Paso lies on the state's western tip at 32° N and the Rio Grande.
With 10 climatic regions, 14 soil regions and 11 distinct ecological regions, regional classification becomes problematic with differences in soils, topography, geology, rainfall, and plant and animal communities. One classification system divides Texas, in order from southeast to west, into the following: Gulf Coastal Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and Basin and Range Province.
The Gulf Coastal Plains region wraps around the Gulf of Mexico on the southeast section of the state. Vegetation in this region consists of thick piney woods. The Interior Lowlands region consists of gently rolling to hilly forested land and is part of a larger pine-hardwood forest.
The Great Plains region in central Texas is located in spans through the state's panhandle and Llano Estacado to the state's hill country near Austin. This region is dominated by prairie and steppe. "Far West Texas" or the "Trans-Pecos" region is the state's Basin and Range Province. The most varied of the regions, this area includes Sand Hills, the Stockton Plateau, desert valleys, wooded mountain slopes and desert grasslands.
Texas has 3,700 named streams and 15 major rivers, with the Rio Grande as the largest. Other major rivers include the Pecos, the Brazos, Colorado, and Red River. While Texas has few natural lakes, Texans have built over 100 artificial reservoirs.
The size and unique history of Texas make its regional affiliation debatable; it can be fairly considered a Southern or a Southwestern state, or both. The vast geographic, economic, and cultural diversity within the state itself prohibits easy categorization of the whole state into a recognized region of the United States. Notable extremes range from East Texas which is often considered an extension of the Deep South, to Far West Texas which is generally acknowledged to be part of the interior Southwest.
Texas is the southernmost part of the Great Plains, which ends in the south against the folded Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. The continental crust forms a stable Mesoproterozoic craton which changes across a broad continental margin and transitional crust into true oceanic crust of the Gulf of Mexico. The oldest rocks in Texas date from the Mesoproterozoic and are about 1,600 million years old.
These Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks underlie most of the state, and are exposed in three places: Llano uplift, Van Horn, and the Franklin Mountains, near El Paso. Sedimentary rocks overlay most of these ancient rocks. The oldest sediments were deposited on the flanks of a rifted continental margin, or passive margin that developed during Cambrian time.
This margin existed until Laurasia and Gondwana collided in the Pennsylvanian subperiod to form Pangea. This is the buried crest of the Appalachian Mountains–Ouachita Mountains zone of Pennsylvanian continental collision. This orogenic crest is today buried beneath the Dallas–Waco—Austin–San Antonio trend.
The late Paleozoic mountains collapsed as rifting in the Jurassic period began to open the Gulf of Mexico. Pangea began to break up in the Triassic, but seafloor spreading to form the Gulf of Mexico occurred only in the mid and late Jurassic. The shoreline shifted again to the eastern margin of the state and the Gulf of Mexico passive margin began to form. Today 9 to 12 miles (14 to 19 km) of sediments are buried beneath the Texas continental shelf and a large proportion of remaining US oil reserves are located here. At the start of its formation, the incipient Gulf of Mexico basin was restricted and seawater often evaporated completely to form thick evaporite deposits of Jurassic age. These salt deposits formed salt dome diapirs, and are found in East Texas along the Gulf coast.
East Texas outcrops consist of Cretaceous and Paleogene sediments which contain important deposits of Eocene lignite. The Mississippian and Pennsylvanian sediments in the north; Permian sediments in the west; and Cretaceous sediments in the east, along the Gulf coast and out on the Texas continental shelf contain oil. Oligocene volcanic rocks are found in far west Texas in the Big Bend area. A blanket of Miocene sediments known as the Ogallala formation in the western high plains region is an important aquifer. Located far from an active plate tectonic boundary, Texas has no volcanoes and few earthquakes.
- See also: List of mammals of Texas, List of birds of Texas, List of reptiles of Texas, and List of amphibians of Texas
A wide range of animals and insects live in Texas. It is the home to 65 species of mammals, 213 species of reptiles and amphibians, and the greatest diversity of bird life in the United States—590 native species in all. At least 12 species have been introduced and now reproduce freely in Texas.
Texas plays host to several species of wasps. Texas is one of the regions that has the highest abundance of Polistes exclamans. Additionally, Texas has provided an important ground for the study of Polistes annularis.
During the spring Texas wildflowers such as the state flower, the bluebonnet, line highways throughout Texas. During the Johnson Administration the first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, worked to draw attention to Texas wildflowers.
The large size of Texas and its location at the intersection of multiple climate zones gives the state highly variable weather.
The Panhandle of the state has colder winters than North Texas, while the Gulf Coast has mild winters. Texas has wide variations in precipitation patterns. El Paso, on the western end of the state, averages 8.7 inches (220 mm) of annual rainfall, while parts of southeast Texas average as much as 64 inches (1,600 mm) per year. Dallas in the North Central region averages a more moderate 37 inches (940 mm) per year.
Snow falls multiple times each winter in the Panhandle and mountainous areas of West Texas, once or twice a year in North Texas, and once every few years in Central and East Texas. Snow falls south of San Antonio or on the coast in rare circumstances only.
Maximum temperatures in the summer months average from the 80s °F (26 °C) in the mountains of West Texas and on Galveston Island to around 100 °F (38 °C) in the Rio Grande Valley, but most areas of Texas see consistent summer high temperatures in the 90 °F (32 °C) range.
Night-time summer temperatures range from the upper 50s °F (14 °C) in the West Texas mountains to 80 °F (27 °C) in Galveston.
Thunderstorms strike Texas often, especially the eastern and northern portions of the state. Tornado Alley covers the northern section of Texas. The state experiences the most tornadoes in the United States, an average of 139 a year. These strike most frequently in North Texas and the Panhandle. Tornadoes in Texas generally occur in the months of April, May, and June.
Some of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history have impacted Texas. A hurricane in 1875 killed about 400 people in Indianola, followed by another hurricane in 1886 that destroyed the town. These events allowed Galveston to take over as the chief port city. The 1900 Galveston hurricane subsequently devastated that city, killing about 8,000 people or possibly as many as 12,000. This makes it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
Other devastating Texas hurricanes include the 1915 Galveston hurricane, Hurricane Audrey in 1957 which killed over 600 people, Hurricane Carla in 1961, Hurricane Beulah in 1967, Hurricane Alicia in 1983, Hurricane Rita in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008. Tropical storms have also caused their share of damage: Allison in 1989 and again during 2001, and Claudette in 1979 among them.
Texas emits the most greenhouse gases in the U.S. The state emits nearly 1.5 trillion pounds (680 billion kg) of carbon dioxide annually. As an independent nation, Texas would rank as the world's seventh-largest producer of greenhouse gases. Causes of the state's vast greenhouse gas emissions include the state's large number of coal power plants and the state's refining and manufacturing industries. In 2010, there were 2,553 "emission events" which poured 44.6 million pounds of contaminants into the Texas sky.
Texas lies between two major cultural spheres of Pre-Columbian North America: the Southwestern and the Plains areas. Archaeologists have found that three major indigenous cultures lived in this territory, and reached their developmental peak before the first European contact. These were:
- the Pueblo from the upper Rio Grande region, centered west of Texas;
- the Mississippian culture, also known as Mound Builders, which extended along the Mississippi River Valley east of Texas; and
- the civilizations of Mesoamerica, centered south of Texas. Influence of Teotihuacan in northern Mexico peaked around AD 500 and declined over the 8th to 10th centuries.
No culture was dominant in the present-day Texas region, and many peoples inhabited the area. Native American tribes that lived inside the boundaries of present-day Texas include the Alabama, Apache, Atakapan, Bidai, Caddo, Coahuiltecan, Comanche, Choctaw, Coushatta, Hasinai, Jumano, Karankawa, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Tonkawa, and Wichita. The name Texas derives from táyshaʔ, a word in the Caddoan language of the Hasinai, which means "friends" or "allies".
Whether a Native American tribe was friendly or warlike was critical to the fates of European explorers and settlers in that land. Friendly tribes taught newcomers how to grow indigenous crops, prepare foods, and hunt wild game. Warlike tribes made life difficult and dangerous for Europeans through their attacks and resistance to the newcomers.
The first historical document related to Texas was a map of the Gulf Coast, created in 1519 by Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda. Nine years later, shipwrecked Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his cohort became the first Europeans in what is now Texas.
European powers ignored the area until accidentally settling there in 1685. Miscalculations by René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle resulted in his establishing the colony of Fort Saint Louis at Matagorda Bay rather than along the Mississippi River. The colony lasted only four years before succumbing to harsh conditions and hostile natives.
In 1690 Spanish authorities, concerned that France posed competitive threat, constructed several missions in East Texas. After Native American resistance, the Spanish missionaries returned to Mexico. When France began settling Louisiana, mostly in the southern part of the state, in 1716 Spanish authorities responded by founding a new series of missions in East Texas. Two years later, they created San Antonio as the first Spanish civilian settlement in the area.
Hostile native tribes and distance from nearby Spanish colonies discouraged settlers from moving to the area. It was one of New Spain's least populated provinces. In 1749, the Spanish peace treaty with the Lipan Apache angered many tribes, including the Comanche, Tonkawa, and Hasinai. The Comanche signed a treaty with Spain in 1785 and later helped to defeat the Lipan Apache and Karankawa tribes. With more numerous missions being established, priests led a peaceful conversion of most tribes. By the end of the 18th century only a few nomadic tribes had not converted to Christianity.
When the United States purchased Louisiana from France in 1803, American authorities insisted that the agreement also included Texas. The boundary between New Spain and the United States was finally set at the Sabine River in 1819, at what is now the border between Texas and Louisiana. Eager for new land, many United States settlers refused to recognize the agreement. Several filibusters raised armies to invade the area west of the Sabine River. In 1821, the Mexican War of Independence included the Texas territory, which became part of Mexico. Due to its low population, Mexico made the area part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas.
Hoping that more settlers would reduce the near-constant Comanche raids, Mexican Texas liberalized its immigration policies to permit immigrants from outside Mexico and Spain. Under the Mexican immigration system, large swathes of land were allotted to empresarios, who recruited settlers from the United States, Europe, and the Mexican interior.
The population of Texas grew rapidly. In 1825, Texas had about 3,500 people, with most of Mexican descent. By 1834, the population had grown to about 37,800 people, with only 7,800 of Mexican descent.
Many immigrants openly flouted Mexican law, especially the prohibition against slavery. Combined with United States' attempts to purchase Texas, Mexican authorities decided in 1830 to prohibit continued immigration from the United States. New laws also called for the enforcement of customs duties angering both native Mexican citizens (Tejanos) and recent immigrants.
The Anahuac Disturbances in 1832 were the first open revolt against Mexican rule and they coincided with a revolt in Mexico against the nation's president. Texians sided with the federalists against the current government and drove all Mexican soldiers out of East Texas.
Within Mexico, tensions continued between federalists and centralists. In early 1835, wary Texians formed Committees of Correspondence and Safety. The unrest erupted into armed conflict in late 1835 at the Battle of Gonzales. This launched the Texas Revolution, and over the next two months, the Texians defeated all Mexican troops in the region. Texians elected delegates to the Consultation, which created a provisional government. The provisional government soon collapsed from infighting, and Texas was without clear governance for the first two months of 1836.
During this time of political turmoil, Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna personally led an army to end the revolt. The Mexican expedition was initially successful. General José de Urrea defeated all the Texian resistance along the coast culminating in the Goliad massacre. Santa Anna's forces, after a thirteen-day siege, overwhelmed Texian defenders at the Battle of the Alamo. News of the defeats sparked panic amongst Texas settlers.
The newly elected Texian delegates to the Convention of 1836 quickly signed a Declaration of Independence on March 2, forming the Republic of Texas. After electing interim officers, the Convention disbanded. The new government joined the other settlers in Texas in the Runaway Scrape, fleeing from the approaching Mexican army. After several weeks of retreat, the Texian Army commanded by Sam Houston attacked and defeated Santa Anna's forces at the Battle of San Jacinto. Santa Anna was captured and forced to sign the Treaties of Velasco, ending the war.
On December 29, 1845, Congress admitted Texas to the U.S. as a constituent state of the Union.
After Texas's annexation, Mexico broke diplomatic relations with the United States. While the United States claimed that Texas's border stretched to the Rio Grande, Mexico claimed it was the Nueces River. While the former Republic of Texas could not enforce its border claims, the United States had the military strength and the political will to do so. President Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor south to the Rio Grande on January 13, 1846. A few months later Mexican troops routed an American cavalry patrol in the disputed area in the Thornton Affair starting the Mexican–American War. The first battles of the war were fought in Texas: the Siege of Fort Texas, Battle of Palo Alto and Battle of Resaca de la Palma. After these decisive victories, the United States invaded Mexican territory ending the fighting in Texas.
After a series of United States victories, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the two-year war. In return, for US$18,250,000, Mexico gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas, ceded the Mexican Cession in 1848, most of which today is called the American Southwest, and Texas's borders were established at the Rio Grande.
The Compromise of 1850 set Texas's boundaries at their present form. U.S. Senator James Pearce of Maryland drafted the final proposal where Texas ceded its claims to land which later became half of present-day New Mexico, a third of Colorado, and small portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming to the federal government, in return for the assumption of $10 million of the old republic's debt. Post-war Texas grew rapidly as migrants poured into the cotton lands of the state.
They also brought or purchased enslaved African Americans, whose numbers tripled in the state from 1850 to 1860, from 58,000 to 182,566.
Civil War and Reconstruction (1860–1900)
Texas was at war again after the election of 1860. At this time, blacks comprised 30 percent of the state's population, and they were overwhelmingly enslaved. When Abraham Lincoln was elected, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Five other Lower South states quickly followed. A State Convention considering secession opened in Austin on January 28, 1861. On February 1, by a vote of 166–8, the Convention adopted an Ordinance of Secession from the United States. Texas voters approved this Ordinance on February 23, 1861. Texas joined the newly created Confederate States of America on March 4, 1861 ratifying the permanent C.S. Constitution on March 23.
Texas contributed large numbers of men and equipment to the rest of the Confederacy. Union troops briefly occupied the state's primary port, Galveston. The final battle of the Civil War was fought near Brownsville, Texas at Palmito Ranch with a Confederate victory.
President Johnson, in 1866, declared the civilian government restored in Texas. Despite not meeting reconstruction requirements, Congress resumed allowing elected Texas representatives into the federal government in 1870.
Earlier 20th century
In 1900, Texas suffered the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history during the Galveston hurricane.
On January 10, 1901, the first major oil well in Texas, Spindletop, was found south of Beaumont. Other fields were later discovered nearby in East Texas, West Texas, and under the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting "oil boom" transformed Texas. Oil production eventually averaged three million barrels per day at its peak in 1972.
In 1901, the Democratic-dominated state legislature passed a bill requiring payment of a poll tax for voting, which effectively disenfranchised most blacks, and many poor whites and Latinos.
The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl dealt a double blow to the state's economy, which had significantly improved since the Civil War. Migrants abandoned the worst hit sections of Texas during the Dust Bowl years. Especially from this period on, blacks left Texas in the Great Migration to get work in the Northern United States or California and to escape the oppression of segregation. In 1940, Texas was 74 percent Anglo, 14.4 percent black, and 11.5 percent Hispanic.
World War II had a dramatic impact on Texas, as federal money poured in to build military bases, munitions factories, POW detention camps and Army hospitals; 750,000 young men left for service; the cities exploded with new industry; the colleges took on new roles; and hundreds of thousands of poor farmers left the fields for much better paying war jobs, never to return to agriculture. Texas manufactured 3.1 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking eleventh among the 48 states.
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Texas was 27,469,114 on July 1, 2015.
As of 2004, the state had 3.5 million foreign-born residents (15.6 percent of the state population), of which an estimated 1.2 million are illegal. Texas from 2000 to 2006 had the fastest growing illegal immigration rate in the nation.
Two-thirds of all Texans live in a major metropolitan area such as Houston. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area is the largest in Texas. While Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest city in the United States, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is larger than that of Houston.
Race and ethnicity
According to the 2010 United States census, the racial composition of Texas was the following:
- White American 70.4 percent (Non-Hispanic whites 45.3 percent)
- Black or African American: 11.8 percent
- American Indian: 0.7 percent
- Asian: 3.8 percent (1.0 percent Indian, 0.8 percent Vietnamese, 0.6 percent Chinese, 0.4 percent Filipino, 0.3 percent Korean, 0.1 percent Japanese, 0.6 percent Other Asian)
- Pacific Islander: 0.1 percent
- Some other race: 10.5 percent
- Two or more races: 2.7 percent
German, Irish, and English Americans are the three largest European ancestry groups in Texas. German Americans make up 11.3 percent of the population, and number over 2.7 million members. Irish Americans make up 8.2 percent of the population, and number over 1.9 million members.
There are roughly 600,000 French Americans and 472,000 Italian Americans residing in Texas; these two ethnic groups make up 2.5 percent and 2.0 percent of the population respectively.
In the 1980 United States Census the largest ancestry group reported in Texas was English with 3,083,323 Texans citing that they were of English or mostly English ancestry making them 27 percent of the state at the time. Their ancestry primarily goes back to the original thirteen colonies and thus many of them today identify as "American" in ancestry, though they are of predominately British stock. There are nearly 200,000 Czech-Americans living in Texas, the largest number of any state.
African Americans are the largest racial minority in Texas.
Native Americans are a smaller minority in the state. Native Americans make up 0.5 percent of Texas' population, and number over 118,000 individuals. Native Americans of non-Hispanic origin make up 0.3 percent of the population, and number over 75,000 individuals. Cherokee made up 0.1 percent of the population, and numbered over 19,400 members. In contrast, only 583 identified as Chippewa.
German descendants inhabit much of central and southeast-central Texas.
Over one-third of Texas residents are of Hispanic origin; while many have recently arrived, some Tejanos have ancestors with multi-generational ties to 18th century Texas.
Cities and towns
- See also: List of cities in Texas
The state has three cities with populations exceeding one million: Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. These three rank among the 10 most populous cities of the United States. As of 2010, six Texas cities had populations greater than 600,000 people. Austin, Fort Worth, and El Paso are among the 20 largest U.S. cities. Texas has four metropolitan areas with populations greater than a million: Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, San Antonio–New Braunfels, and Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos. The Dallas–Fort Worth and Houston metropolitan areas number about 6.3 million and 5.7 million residents, respectively.
In contrast to the cities, unincorporated rural settlements known as colonias often lack basic infrastructure and are marked by poverty. The office of the Texas Attorney General stated, in 2011, that Texas had about 2,294 colonias and estimates that about 500,000 lived in the colonias. Hidalgo County, as of 2011, has the largest number of colonias. Texas has the largest number of people of all states, living in colonias.
Largest Cities in Texas
- Houston - population 2,195,914
- San Antonio - population 1,409,019
- Dallas - population 1,257,676
- Austin - population 885,400
- Fort Worth - population 792,727
- El Paso - population 674,433
- Arlington - population 379,577
- Corpus Christi - population 316,381
- Plano - population 274,409
- Laredo - population 248,142
As of 2010, 65.8% (14,740,304) of Texas residents age 5 and older spoke only English at home, while 29.2% (6,543,702) spoke Spanish, 0.75 percent (168,886) Vietnamese, and Chinese (which includes Cantonese and Mandarin) was spoken by 0.56% (122,921) of the population over the age of five.
Other languages spoken include German (including Texas German) by 0.33% (73,137,) Tagalog with 0.29% (73,137) speakers, and French (including Cajun French) was spoken by 0.25% (55,773) of Texans. Reportedly, Cherokee is the most widely spoken Native American language in Texas.
In total, 34.2% (7,660,406) of Texas's population aged five and older spoke a language at home other than English.
Texas's large population, abundance of natural resources, thriving cities and leading centers of higher education have contributed to a large and diverse economy. Since oil was discovered, the state's economy has reflected the state of the petroleum industry.
Agriculture and mining
Texas has the most farms and the highest acreage in the United States. The state is ranked #1 for revenue generated from total livestock and livestock products. It is ranked #2 for total agricultural revenue, behind California. At $7.4 billion or 56.7 percent of Texas' annual agricultural cash receipts, beef cattle production represents the largest single segment of Texas agriculture. This is followed by cotton at $1.9 billion (14.6 percent), greenhouse/nursery at $1.5 billion (11.4 percent), broilers at $1.3 billion (10 percent), and dairy products at $947 million (7.3 percent).
Texas leads the nation in the production of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, wool, mohair and hay. The state also leads the nation in production of cotton which is the number one crop grown in the state in terms of value. The state grows significant amounts of cereal crops and produce. Texas has a large commercial fishing industry. With mineral resources, Texas leads in creating cement, crushed stone, lime, salt, sand and gravel.
Texas throughout the 21st century has been hammered by drought. This has cost the state billions of dollars in livestock and crops.
Ever since the discovery of oil at Spindletop, energy has been a dominant force politically and economically within the state. If Texas were its own country it would be the sixth largest oil producer in the world.
Texas has known petroleum deposits of about 5 billion barrels (790,000,000 m3), which makes up about one-fourth of the known U.S. reserves. The state's refineries can process 4.6 million barrels (730,000 m3) of oil a day. The Baytown Refinery in the Houston area is the largest refinery in America. Texas also leads in natural gas production, producing one-fourth of the nation's supply. Several petroleum companies are based in Texas such as: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Conoco-Phillips, Exxon-Mobil, Halliburton, Marathon Oil, Tesoro, and Valero, Western Refining.
The Austin area is nicknamed the "Silicon Hills" and the north Dallas area the "Silicon Prairie". Texas has the headquarters of many high technology companies, such as Dell, Inc., Texas Instruments, Perot Systems, Rackspace and AT&T.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (NASA JSC) located in Southeast Houston, sits as the crown jewel of Texas's aeronautics industry. Fort Worth hosts both Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics division and Bell Helicopter Textron. Lockheed builds the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the largest Western fighter program, and its successor, the F-35 Lightning II in Fort Worth.
Historically, Texas culture comes from a blend of Southern (Dixie), Western (frontier), and Southwestern (Mexican/Anglo fusion) influences, varying in degrees of such from one intrastate region to another. A popular food item, the breakfast burrito, draws from all three, having a soft flour tortilla wrapped around bacon and scrambled eggs or other hot, cooked fillings. Adding to Texas's traditional culture, established in the 18th and 19th centuries, immigration has made Texas a melting pot of cultures from around the world. East Texas and the Gulf Coastal Plains regions near the Louisiana border have a Cajun/Creole influence.
Texas has made a strong mark on national and international pop culture. The state is strongly associated with the image of the cowboy shown in westerns and in country western music. The state's numerous oil tycoons are also a popular pop culture topic as seen in the hit TV series Dallas.
Texans have historically had difficulties traversing Texas due to the state's large size and rough terrain. Texas has compensated by building both America's largest highway and railway systems in length.
Located centrally in North America, the state is an important transportation hub. From the Dallas/Fort Worth area, trucks can reach 93 percent of the nation's population within 48 hours, and 37 percent within 24 hours. Texas has 33 foreign trade zones (FTZ), the most in the nation. In 2004, a combined total of $298 billion of goods passed though Texas FTZs.
The first Texas freeway was the Gulf Freeway opened in 1948 in Houston. As of 2005, 79,535 miles (127,999 km) of public highway crisscrossed Texas (up from 71,000 miles (114,263 km) in 1984).
In central Texas, the southern section of the State Highway 130 toll road has a speed limit of 85 miles per hour (137 km/h), the highest in the nation.
Texas has 730 airports, second most of any state in the nation. Largest in Texas by size and passengers served, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is the second largest by area in the United States, and fourth in the world with 18,076 acres (73.15 km2). In traffic, DFW is the busiest in the state, the fourth busiest in the United States, and sixth worldwide.
Texas's second-largest air facility is Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
Around 1,150 seaports dot Texas's coast with over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of channels. Ports employ nearly one-million people and handle an average of 317 million metric tons.
The Port of Houston today is the busiest port in the United States in foreign tonnage, second in overall tonnage, and tenth worldwide in tonnage.
Part of the state's tradition of cowboys is derived from the massive cattle drives which its ranchers organized in the nineteenth century to drive livestock to railroads and markets in Kansas, for shipment to the East. Towns along the way, such as Baxter Springs, the first cow town in Kansas, developed to handle the seasonal workers and tens of thousands of head of cattle being driven.
The first railroad to operate in Texas was the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway, opening in August 1853. The first railroad to enter Texas from the north, completed in 1872, was the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. With increasing railroad access, the ranchers did not have to take their livestock up to the Midwest, and shipped beef out from Texas. This caused a decline in the economies of the cow towns.
Since 1911, Texas has led the nation in length of railroad miles within the state.
Both Dallas and Houston feature light rail systems.
Terminal E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.
Images for kids
Texas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.