Southwest region growing fast

In the southwest region of the state is a large, relatively rural region that also contains two fast-growing metropolitan areas. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA (pop. 570,000) on the Texas-Mexican border at the southern tip of the state grew at just under 50 percent from 1990-2000, adding about 186,000 residents during this period. In the north part of the region, historic San Antonio (pop. 1.15 million) added 209,000 residents for a respectable 22 percent gain over 10 years. However, despite the huge gains, 2000 census data reflects a lower median age in these areas than in virtually any other place in Texas (at age 30 years or less). This indicates that younger people are settling in these areas more than retirees. Although reports are that many RV-oriented “snowbirds” are spending their winters in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission-Harligen region and heading back home in the summer.

This region borders Mexico and has a very strong Mexican influence. The lower Rio Grande Valley is full of intriguing fiestas, music events, golf, tennis, fishing and sun and fun activities. The region is affordable and friendly. There are many historic sites that recall the Spanish and Mexican influence on the region.

San Antonio is a special city with theme parks, professional sports, first rate cuisine, exciting history and festivals, fiestas and celebrations held almost continually. There are several Spanish Franciscan Missions to explore and, of course, the Alamo where 189 defenders bravely fought and died facing Mexican General Santa Anna’s army. San Antonio has an international flavor, as many residents speak Spanish and English. Be prepared for a culture shock in this regard.

Larado (pop. 193,000) is another fast-growing city , adding about 60,000 residents in the last 10 years (45 percent increase). Larado is a Mexican border town known as “the Gateway to Mexico” that traces its history back to 1755. The city has served under seven flags. The local industries include importing and exporting, petroleum and natural gas, feeds and fertilizers, and brick and tile.