Changes in population density, rapid urbanization and rising land values have altered much of the historically rural landscape of the Texas borderlands, according to a recent Texas Land Trends report.
The report, “Trends in Land Ownership Along Texas Borderlands,” was produced by the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, or NRI, in collaboration with the Borderlands Research Institute, or BRI, at Sul Ross State University.
It evaluates changes in population density and examines how land ownership patterns and use have changed over the last few centuries within Texas borderland counties due to these drivers of change. It also identifies regions where more rapid transformations have occurred and where similar changes may be expected to occur in the future.
County population totals for the report’s 1900 estimates were obtained through the Texas State Historical Association, and 2018 estimates were obtained from the Texas Demographic Center. The report also employed data from the Original Texas Land Survey, a geographic collection of Spanish and Mexican land grants from the 1700s and 1800s.
The report shows between 1900 and 2018 the Trans-Pecos counties of Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Presidio, Brewster and Terrell had low population growth, while the Middle Valley counties of Val Verde, Kinney, Maverick, Webb and Zapata had moderate growth. And the Lower Valley counties of Starr, Hidalgo and Cameron saw the highest growth during that period.
The report also shows from 1900 to 2018, the total number of land parcels grew from 30,533 to more than a million.
In the coming years many borderland counties will be facing very different challenges related to infrastructure, energy, natural resources and other necessities.
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