Discover the 5 Poorest Neighborhoods in Hidalgo County, Texas

Hidalgo County, Texas, stands out as one of the most populous and diverse counties in both the state and the nation. Situated within the Rio Grande Valley region, it boasts a significant Hispanic and Mexican American population. However, it also grapples with substantial poverty, particularly in certain neighborhoods.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Hidalgo County had a poverty rate of 31.8% in 2019, translating to approximately 264,000 out of 829,000 residents living below the poverty line. For a family of four in Texas, the poverty line in 2019 was set at $26,246.

The prevalence of poverty varies markedly among different neighborhoods within the county. Factors such as income, education, employment, housing, and access to services all contribute to this variation.

Some neighborhoods report poverty rates exceeding 40%, while others record rates below 10%. Here are five of Hidalgo County’s most impoverished neighborhoods, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for the period 2015-2019:

1. Alton

Alton is an urban area located in the northwest of Hidalgo County, adjacent to State Highway 107. Home to around 18,000 residents, primarily of Hispanic and White backgrounds, Alton has a staggering poverty rate of 40.8%, nearly three times higher than the county average.

The median household income in Alton was a mere $29,375, significantly below the county median of $110,000. Unemployment stood at 9%, surpassing the county rate of 4.4%. Challenges include limited educational attainment, poor health outcomes, and infrastructure deficiencies.

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2. San Carlos

San Carlos, an urban area in the southeast of Hidalgo County, along U.S. Route 281, houses approximately 3,000 residents, mainly Hispanic and White. With a poverty rate of 38%, more than double the county average, San Carlos faces economic hardships.

The median household income in San Carlos was just $22,500, a fraction of the county’s $110,000 median. Unemployment rates were at 8%, higher than the county rate of 4.4%. Additionally, the neighborhood contends with crime, violence, and limited social services.

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3. La Joya

Situated in the southwest of Hidalgo County along U.S. Route 83, La Joya is a rural community of roughly 4,000 residents, predominantly Hispanic and White. It ranks among the county’s poorest neighborhoods, reporting a poverty rate of 36%, more than double the county average.

Median household income in La Joya was $24,375, again well below the county median. Unemployment rates stood at 7%, higher than the county rate of 4.4%. Other challenges include substandard housing, environmental hazards, and limited recreational facilities.

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4. Edcouch

Edcouch, a rural area in the northeast of Hidalgo County along State Highway 107, houses approximately 3,000 residents, primarily Hispanic and White. It too grapples with high poverty, with a rate of 35%, more than double the county average.

Median household income in Edcouch was $25,417, below a fourth of the county median. Unemployment rates reached 6%, surpassing the county rate of 4.4%. Challenges encompass an aging population, limited access to education, and scarce economic opportunities.

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5. Elsa

Elsa, an urban area in the northeast of Hidalgo County along State Highway 107, is home to approximately 6,000 residents, mostly of Hispanic and White backgrounds. With a poverty rate of 33%, more than double the county average, Elsa faces economic difficulties.

Median household income in Elsa was $29,583, still below a third of the county median. Unemployment rates were at 5%, higher than the county rate of 4.4%. Challenges include traffic congestion, pollution, and a lack of green space.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, these neighborhoods within Hidalgo County, Texas, grapple with significant economic and social challenges, including poverty, unemployment, and limited access to essential services. Nevertheless, they also possess valuable cultural and community assets that can be harnessed to enhance their residents’ quality of life and well-being.

Addressing the underlying causes of poverty, including low income, limited education, and employment opportunities, can enable these neighborhoods to overcome their challenges and unlock their potential.

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