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Willacy County, Texas facts for kids

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Willacy County
Willacy County
The Willacy County Courthouse in Raymondville
The Willacy County Courthouse in Raymondville
Map of Texas highlighting Willacy County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 610: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
Country  United States
State  Texas
Founded 1912
Named for John G. Willacy
Seat Raymondville
Largest city Raymondville
 • Total 784 sq mi (2,030 km2)
 • Land 591 sq mi (1,530 km2)
 • Water 194 sq mi (500 km2)  25%%
 • Total 22,134
 • Density 37/sq mi (14/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 34th

Willacy County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 22,134. Its county seat is Raymondville. The county was created in 1911 and organized the next year.

Willacy County comprises the Raymondville micropolitan statistical area, which is included in the Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville combined statistical area, which itself is part of the larger Rio Grande Valley region.


Willacy County was formed in 1911 from parts of Cameron and Hidalgo counties and originally included what is now Kenedy County; it was named for state senator John G. Willacy. Kenedy was split from Willacy in 1921, when the long-settled ranchers of the northern (Kenedy) part of the county sought to separate from the newly arrived farmers of the southern part.

The Bermuda onion was introduced to Willacy County in 1912. It grew well and slowly displaced ranchland in the southern part of the county, becoming the most important crop. For many years the town of Raymondville held an annual Onion Festival, using the tag line, "The Breath of a Nation." In 1940, the first oil wells were sunk in the county's Willamar Oil Field; today oil production is a major part of the local economy, although increasingly eclipsed by natural gas. Also in the 1940s, sorghum was introduced to the county, gradually displacing cotton and other crops. Cattle ranching remains a substantial economic activity as well.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 784 square miles (2,030 km2), of which 591 square miles (1,530 km2) is land and 194 square miles (500 km2) (25%) is water. It borders the Gulf of Mexico.

Major highways

  • I-69E.svg Interstate 69E (Under Construction)
  • US 77.svg U.S. Highway 77
  • Texas 186.svg State Highway 186
  • Texas FM 498.svg Farm to Market Road 498

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 10,499
1940 13,230 26.0%
1950 20,920 58.1%
1960 20,084 −4.0%
1970 15,570 −22.5%
1980 17,495 12.4%
1990 17,705 1.2%
2000 20,082 13.4%
2010 22,134 10.2%
2019 (est.) 21,358 −3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2014

As of the 2010 United States Census, 22,134 people, 5,764 households, and 4,607 families were living in the county. Of all households, 46.0% had children under 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 19.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.1% had a male householder no wife, and 20.1% were not families. About 32.9% of all households contained an individual who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.28, and the average family size was 3.73.

Of the population, 85.8% of residents were White (10.1% non-Hispanic white), 2.1% Black or African American, 0.6% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 9.3% of some other race and 1.8% of two or more races. 87.2% of residents were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

In the county, the age distribution was 26.8% under 18, 12.3% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $22,881, and for a family was $25,399. The per capita income for the county was $10,800. 39.4% of families and 43.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 50.5% of those under age 18 and 38.3% of those age 65 or over. The county's per-capita income makes it among the poorest counties in the United States.

Historic sites

Willacy County has an entry on the National Register of Historic Places:



Census-designated places

Unincorporated community

  • .


School districts that serve Willacy County include:

  • Lasara Independent School District
  • Lyford Consolidated Independent School District
  • Raymondville Independent School District
  • San Perlita Independent School District

In addition, residents are allowed to apply for magnet schools operated by the South Texas Independent School District.

All of the county is in the service area of Texas Southmost College.

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