Office of Border Public Health

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The Texas Portion of the U.S. – México Border

The U.S. – México border is the area 100 kilometers or 62.5 miles, north and south of the international boundary. This area was defined by the La Paz Agreement La Paz Agreement (epa.gov) in 1983.

The Texas border makes up about half of the U.S. – Mexico border, stretching 1,254 miles from the Gulf of México to El Paso.

Four Mexican states share borders with the state of Texas. In order from the southeast coast to the northwest desert:

  1. Tamaulipas
  2. Nuevo León
  3. Coahuila
  4. Chihuahua

The Texan border includes two federally recognized tribal nations, creating tri-national regions:

  1. Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas near Eagle Pass
  2. Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in El Paso

Some binational sister-city communities along the Texas border are:

  • Brownsville and Matamoros
  • McAllen and Reynosa
  • Rio Grande City and ciudades Miguel Alemán and Camargo
  • Laredo and Nuevo Laredo
  • Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras
  • Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña
  • Presidio and Ojinaga
  • El Paso and Ciudad Juárez

  US-Mexico Border sister cities and population

Population

The Texas border has a population of around 3 million residents. The population density is very different among the frontier, rural, and metropolitan areas. 

For example, Brewster County has 1.5 people per square mile while El Paso County has 879 people per square mile. 

Demographics

The table below compares important factors in border and non-border areas of Texas. 

Factor  Texas Border Texas Non-border
Population size 2.9 million 27.8 million
Hispanic ethnicity 87%
35%
Below poverty level
24.7%
13.1%
Adults ages 19-64 no health insurance
38.5%
21.9%
Do not speak English very well
29.7%
11.5%
No high school diploma ages 25 and older 28.9%
14.3%

Data sources: Population size and percent of Hispanic ethnicity from Texas Population Projections Program, July 2018 projections for 2022. Most recent projections available as of June 23, 2022. https://demographics.texas.gov/Data/TPEPP/Projections

Remaining data from U.S. Census Bureau, 2016-2020 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Percentages computed from files S1701 Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months, S2701 Selected Characteristics of Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, S1601 Language Spoken at Home, B15003 Educational Attainment for the Population 25 Years and Over. Most recent 5-year estimates available as of June 23, 2022. https://data.census.gov/cedsci/

how big is the texas border region

The Texas border region has lower infant mortality rates and less heart disease and stroke.

Unfortunately, there are higher obesity, diabetes, cervical cancer, and caesarian section delivery rates. There's also more risk for certain contagious diseases such as tuberculosis and Zika.

Many people lack access to primary, preventive, and specialty medical care. The public health workforce needs to be developed more also.

For more border health data please visit the Border County Data webpage.

For additional information, contact:

Office of Border Public Health - M/C 1962
Texas Department of State Health Services
P.O. Box 149347
Austin, Texas 78714-9347
Phone: (512) 776-7675
Fax: (512) 776-7262

Email Office of Border Public Health

Last updated July 20, 2022