McAllen, Texas

McAllen, Texas
City of McAllen
—  City  —
Nickname(s): City of Palms and The Texas Tropics
Location within the state of Texas
Coordinates: 26°12′59″N 98°14′11″W / 26.21639°N 98.23639°W / 26.21639; -98.23639Coordinates: 26°12′59″N 98°14′11″W / 26.21639°N 98.23639°W / 26.21639; -98.23639
Country United StatesUnited States
State TexasTexas
County Hidalgo
 - Type Council-Manager
 - City Council Mayor Richard F. Cortez
Scott Crane
Marcus Barrera
Hilda Salinas
Aida Ramirez
John Ingram
Jim Darling
 - City Manager Mike Perez
 - City 46.3 sq mi (119.8 km2)
 - Land 46.0 sq mi (119.1 km2)
 - Water 0.3 sq mi (0.8 km2)
Elevation 121 ft (37 m)
Population (2010)
 - City 129,876 (city proper)
 - Density 2,314.7/sq mi (893.8/km2)
 Metro 1,700,000
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 78501-78505
Area code(s) 956
FIPS code 48-45384[1]
GNIS feature ID 1374829[2]

McAllen is the largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. It is located at the southern tip of Texas in an area known as the Rio Grande Valley and is part of the American Southwest. Its southern boundary is located about five miles from the U.S.–Mexico border and the Mexican city of Reynosa, the Rio Grande and about 70 miles (110 km) west of South Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico. The 2010 census put the city's population at 129,877 and the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission metropolitan area at 774,769. The Reynosa–McAllen Metropolitan Area counts with a population of nearly 1.7 million.[3] The city's sharp increase in annual Medicare billing, from a national average in 1992 to one of the nation's highest in 2006, has attracted scrutiny.



McAllen is located at 26°12′59″N 98°14′11″W / 26.21639°N 98.23639°W / 26.21639; -98.23639 (26.216263, -98.236385)[4]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 46.3 square miles (120 km2). 46.0 square miles (119 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (0.63%) is water.

Although McAllen is named the City of Palms, tropical vegetation is only locally dominant. There are many deciduous trees such as Rio Grande Ash (Fraxinus berlandieriana), Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia), Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata) and Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa). In winter, when these trees are bare, many neighborhoods take on a much more temperate appearance.


McAllen has a humid subtropical climate, similar to that of the Tampa Bay Area of Florida but with less precipitation and slightly higher summer maximum temperatures. The average high in January is 70 °F and the average low is 50 °F. The average high is 96 °F and the average low is 76 °F in August. The warm season is extremely long, as average high temperatures are above 90°F (32 °C) and average low temperatures are above 70 °F (21 °C), with relatively high dew point values resulting in higher relative humidity values and heat index values from May through September. Heat index values can consistently reach over 100 °F from May through September.

Average annual precipitation is only 22.96 inches (583 mm). Most precipitation occurs in the warm season, with the least precipitation distinctly occurring in the cooler winter. As September is the peak of the north Atlantic hurricane season and tropical storms and hurricanes occasionally drop copious amounts of rainfall on the region, this month tends to be by far the wettest, averaging 4.08 inches (104 mm) of rain. The driest month is March, with only 0.72 inches (18 mm) of precipitation.

Temperatures are frequently above 100 °F (38 °C), occasionally as early as February and as late as the end of October, the highest temperature ever recorded in McAllen is 110 °F (43 °C), once in 1998 and once in 1999. The lowest temperature ever recorded in McAllen is 13 °F (-11 °C), on January 12, 1962.

Climate data for McAllen, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 69.9
Average low °F (°C) 50.3
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.22
Source: National Weather Service[5]''

Population and demographics

McAllen's population was 129,877 according to the 2010 census. The 2000 census put the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission metropolitan area at a population of 569,463, and growth increased the metropolitan area's population to 774,769 according to the 2010 Census. It is the 187th largest city in the U.S. and the 70th largest metropolitan area.

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 106,414 people, 33,151 households, and 26,089 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,314.7 people per square mile (893.8/km²). There were 37,922 housing units at an average density of 824.9 per square mile (318.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city 78.46% White, 0.61% African American, 0.40% Native American, 4.93% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 15.85% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 77.28% of the population.

There were 33,151 households out of which 43.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.3% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.18 and the average family size was 3.64.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.8% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 90.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,641, and the median income for a family was $36,050. Males had a median income of $30,089 versus $22,480 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,939. About 20.9% of families and 23.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.5% of those under age 13 and 20.3% of those age 65 or over.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1910 150
1920 5,331 3,454.0%
1930 9,074 70.2%
1940 11,877 30.9%
1950 20,067 69.0%
1960 32,728 63.1%
1970 37,636 15.0%
1980 66,281 76.1%
1990 89,000 34.3%
2000 106,414 19.6%
2010 129,871 22.0%


Mass transit

  • McAllen Express Transit (MET) has provided public transportation for the City of McAllen since June 1997. In the beginning, McAllen’s public transportation system, McAllen Express (ME), was administered by the Lower Rio Grande Development Council. Since 2005, MET has been operated as a Department of the City of McAllen. MET now has seven fixed routes serving residents and visitors of McAllen. MET operates six days out of the week, 13 hours per day. In 2003, changes in the census affected McAllen’s urbanized area, and MET lost $1.5 million in operating funds. Nonetheless, the City of McAllen has worked diligently to ensure that service levels are maintained, and continues to plan for service improvements. Ridership in 1997 totaled 42,578 passenger trips. The first full year of operation was in 1998, and the ridership recorded for that year was 201,506 passenger trips. In 2008 McAllen Express Transit accomplished record high numbers in ridership, totalling 412,151 passenger trips, accounting for more than twice the ridership recorded in 1998.

Fare Structure

Adults Students Elderly
$1.00 $0.50 $0.50

Downtown Bus Terminal

The City of McAllen also operates the bus terminal facility in downtown McAllen, known as McAllen Central Station. Central Station serves as a hub for MET and for 14 private domestic and international bus lines. Approximately 60 buses depart from Central Station on a daily basis. Central Station also hosts 2 million visitors per year.


U.S. 83 travels through McAllen as its major east-west artery. It runs less than five miles south of downtown McAllen.


  • McAllen-Miller International Airport[6] was the Rio Grande Valley's busiest airport in 2009 It is served by American Airlines with non-stop service to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Continental with non-stop service to Houston, Allegiant Airlines with non-stop flights to Las Vegas and Orlando-Sanford, and Delta Air Lines with non-stop service to Atlanta, Georgia.


Paseo Plaza at 10th Street and U.S. Highway 83

Prior to ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement, economic activity in McAllen was centered around agriculture and petroleum.

A Foreign trade zone is located on the southwest side of the city. In addition to the industrial activity, there is a retail sector that is heavily dependent on purchases made by wealthier, and largely, Mexican middle and upper middle-class consumers. This sector benefits greatly from the express highway links, on the Mexican side of the border, to Monterrey, Cd. Victoria and Tampico.

A Forbes article on the internet list McAllen as one of the best real estate markets in the United States.. September 2010 ranked McAllen on having the Fastest Growing Real Estate Market. ranks McAllen top 10 city to live in 2010

McAllen Ranked Third Lowest Cost of Living in the Nation – ACCRA 2007

McAllen ranks in top 11 cities for beating the recession; longest period of job growth – MetroMonitor, Brookings Institute June 2010

In 2011, listed the McAllen metro area the poorest in the nation.[7]

Health care industry

In 1999, McAllen had one of the lowest concentrations of physicians per person in the U.S., with a value of 1 primary care physician per 2500 people, despite a 53% increase in the physican supply since 1979.[8]

In 2006, McAllen had the second highest per capita Medicare spending in the United States, eclipsed only by Miami (which has higher living and labor costs).[9] That fact served as the basis of a 2009 article in The New Yorker by surgeon and author Atul Gawande[10] which "made waves".[11] In 1992, McAllen was in line with average Medicare spending (~$4,900 for each beneficiary a year).[9] By 2006, the spending had increased to ~$15,000 for each beneficiary a year—almost double the national average.[9] With a $12,000 per capita income, Medicare billing per beneficiary was three thousand dollars higher than the average income of residents.[9] El Paso, a town with similar demographics, billed Medicare ~$7,500 per beneficiary in 2006.[9] El Paso hospitals, despite spending significantly less, outperformed McAllen hospitals on 23 of 25 health indicators.[10]

Using price adjusted 2007 Medicare data (based on the methods of Gottlieb et al.[12]) McAllen had spending elevations of 86% versus El Paso and 75% versus the national average.[13]

Media and journalism

Television stations

Radio stations

  • KCAS The New KCAS 91.5 FM -
  • KURV 710 AM News Talk Radio
  • XERDO LA RADIO 1450 AM (Spanish Oldies/News)
  • XEMS Radio Mexicana 1490 AM (Regional Mexican)
  • XHRYS Uni 90.1 FM (Spanish Hit Radio)
  • XHRYN Uni 90.5 FM (Spanish Hit Radio)
  • XHRYA MasMusic 90.9FM (Bilingual Hit Music)
  • XMLS EXA 91.3 FM (Spanish Hit Radio)
  • XHAAA La Caliente 93.1 FM (Mexican Norteño)
  • KFRQ Q94.5 FM (Classic/Modern/Hard Rock)
  • XHRT Xtrema 95.3 FM (Spanish Hit Radio)
  • KBTQ Recuerdo 96.1 FM (Mexican Oldies)
  • KVMV Family Friendly & Commercial Free 96.9 FM (Adult Contemporary Christian)
  • KGBT-FM Solamente Exitos 98.5 FM (Mexican Norteño)
  • KKPS Que Pasa 99.5 FM (Local Tejano Music)
  • KTEX South Texas Country 100.3 FM (Country)
  • KNVO-FM JOSE 101.1 FM (Spanish)
  • XHAVO 101.5 FM 92.7 Musica International
  • KBFM Wild 104.1 FM (Hip-Hop/R&B/Reggaeton)
  • KJAV 104.9 FM Jack FM ("Playing What We Want")(Adult Hits)
  • KQXX The X 105.5 FM (Classic-rock)
  • KHKZ Kiss 106.3 FM (Hot AC)
  • XHVTH La mas buena 107.1 FM (Mexican Norteño)
  • KVLY Mix 107.9 FM (Today's Modern Music Mix FM)
  • KHID 88.1 FM McAllen (National Public Radio)


  • City The Magazine (printed monthly and Spanish Language Content) owned by 2 Rios Media Group
  • RGVmag (printed monthly) owned by Fantich Media
  • MagX (printed monthly) owned by MagX
  • Contempo Magazine (print monthly and online daily) owned by Contempo Magazine,Inc. McAllen]
  • Valley Christian Magazine (printed monthly) owned by Christian Torres

Area newspapers

  • The Monitor is headquartered in McAllen
  • Valley Morning Star
  • El Periódico USA - Spanish Language Newspaper - Headquartered in McAllen
  • The Advance News Journal
  • Town Crier
  • The Business Times
  • ¿qué pasa? - a virtual newspaper and event guide -

Government and infrastructure

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates an office in McAllen.[14]

The United States Postal Service operates two post offices in McAllen, including the McAllen Post Office and the Downtown McAllen post office.[15][16]

McAllen is located in a county that usually votes for the Democratic Party. McAllen is represented by two Representatives: Ruben Hinojosa of the 15th Congressional District, and Henry Cuellar of the 28th Congressional District.


Area colleges and universities

  • University of Texas–Pan American (approximately 18,744 students as of Fall 2010) in nearby Edinburg.
  • South Texas College (over 27,000 students spread across their 5 campuses in Hidalgo and Starr counties and the eSTC virtual campus. Main campus is located in McAllen.)

Primary and secondary schools

McAllen Independent School District serves most of the city. Portions of the city extend into Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District and that district operates two elementary schools located in the City of McAllen. The Hidalgo Independent School District, La Joya Independent School District, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, Sharyland Independent School District, and Valley View Independent School District also serve the City of McAllen.

In addition, residents are allowed to apply to magnet schools operated by the South Texas Independent School District. IDEA Public Schools also has Quest Academy & College Preparatory in North McAllen (mile 17 &1/2 and Rooth road).

The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville operates Our Lady of Sorrows School, an elementary and middle school.

Public libraries

McAllen Public Library operates a main library and two branches, the Lark Branch and the Palm View Branch. And will be opening a New Main branch in the Fall of 2011.[17]

Architecture and points of interest

  • Tallest buildings
Chase Texas Tower
  1. Chase Texas Tower (tallest tower in McAllen)
  2. BBVA Compass Tower
  3. Bentsen Tower
  4. Embassy Suites Hotel
  5. Mcallen Medical Center
  6. Inter National Bank
  7. Rio Grande Regional Hospital
  • Gardens
  1. McAllen Botanical Gardens
  2. Quinta Mazatlan
  • Others
  1. Mcallen Convention Center]
  2. La Plaza Mall
  3. Downtown McAllen
  4. Rio Grande Speedway
  5. South Texas College
  6. International Museum of Art and Science
  7. Cine El Rey

Surrounding cities

Nearest cities

Nearest major cities

Recreation and sports

Birdwatching - The McAllen is positioned on the migratory path between North and South America, presenting bird and butterfly expeditions. The landscape hosts a diverse wildlife population.

McAllen has hosted the NAIA national football championship and NCAA Division II national football championship games in the 1980s. McAllen is home to Rio Grande Speedway, a 1/4 mile dirt track with races the 1st, and 3rd Saturday of each month from March through November, and a national multi-day event around December.

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "McAllen Overview". McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "National Weather Service Brownsville". 2006-07-21. Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  6. ^ "McAllen International Airport - Welcome". Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  7. ^ Martha C. White (October 21, 2011) "Poorest place in US? McAllen, Texas, and here's why" Accessed November 5, 2011.
  8. ^ David C. Goodman (2004). "Twenty-year trends in regional variations in the U.S. physician workforce". Health Affairs (Project Hope) Suppl Variation: VAR90–VAR97. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.var.90. PMID 15471767. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Atul Gawande (June 1, 2009). "The Cost Conundrum — What a Texas town can teach us about health care". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Katty Kay (July 7, 2009). "Texas town's healthcare puzzle". BBC News. Retrieved June 19, 2011. 
  11. ^ Bryant Furlow (October 2009). "US reimbursement systems encourage fraud and overutilisation". The Lancet Oncology 10 (10): 937–938. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(09)70297-9. PMID 19810157. 
  12. ^ Daniel J. Gottlieb, Weiping Zhou, Yunjie Song, Kathryn Gilman Andrews, Jonathan S. Skinner & Jason M. Sutherland (March-April 2010). "Prices don't drive regional Medicare spending variations". Health Affairs (Project Hope) 29 (3): 537–543. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0609. PMID 20110290. 
  13. ^ Luisa Franzini, Osama I. Mikhail & Jonathan S. Skinner (December 2010). "McAllen And El Paso revisited: Medicare variations not always reflected in the under-sixty-five population". Health Affairs (Project Hope) 29 (12): 2302–2309. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0492. PMID 21134933. 
  14. ^ "Parole Division Region IV." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  15. ^ "Post Office™ Location MCALLEN." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 9, 2010.
  16. ^ "Post Office™ Location - DOWNTOWN MCALLEN." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 9, 2010.
  17. ^ "McAllen Public Library - New Main Library - opening 2011". Retrieved 2011-09-04. 

External links

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