Travis County, Texas

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Travis County, Texas
County
Travis courthouse 2011.jpg
Travis-county-tx-seal.jpg
Seal
Map of Texas highlighting Travis County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of USA TX.svg
Texas's location within the U.S.
Founded1840 (1840)
Named for William B. Travis
Seat Austin
Largest cityAustin
Area
  Total1,023 sq mi (2,650 km2)
  Land990 sq mi (2,564 km2)
  Water33 sq mi (85 km2), 3.2%
Population (est.)
  (2018)1,248,743
  Density1,300/sq mi (490/km2)
Congressional districts 10th, 17th, 21st, 25th, 35th
Time zone Central: UTC−6/−5
Website traviscountytx.gov

Travis County is a county in south central Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,024,266; the estimated population in 2017 was 1,226,698. [1] It is the fifth-most populous county in Texas. Its county seat is Austin, [2] the capital of Texas. The county was established in 1840 and is named in honor of William Barret Travis, the commander of the Republic of Texas forces at the Battle of the Alamo.

County (United States) Subdivision used by most states in the United States of America

In the United States, an administrative or political subdivision of a state is a county, which is a region having specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs respectively.

Central Texas geographic region

Central Texas is a region in the U.S. state of Texas surrounding Austin and roughly bordered by Brady to Brenham to Seguin to Waco. Central Texas contains the Texas Hill Country and corresponds to a physiographic section designation within the Edwards Plateau, in a geographic context.

2010 United States Census 23rd national census of the United States, taken in 2010

The 2010 United States Census is the twenty-third and most recent United States national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010. The census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, with enumerators serving to spot-check randomly selected neighborhoods and communities. As part of a drive to increase the count's accuracy, 635,000 temporary enumerators were hired. The population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538, a 9.7% increase from the 2000 Census. This was the first census in which all states recorded a population of over half a million, as well as the first in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 200,000.

Contents

Travis County is part of the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is along the Balcones Fault, the boundary between the Edwards Plateau to the west and the Blackland Prairie to the east.

Round Rock, Texas City in Texas, United States

Round Rock is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, in Williamson County, which is a part of the Greater Austin, Texas metropolitan area. The population was 99,887 at the 2010 census.

Greater Austin Metropolitan area in Texas, United States

Austin–Round Rock is a five-county metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Texas, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget. Commonly referred to as Greater Austin, the metropolitan area is situated in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, and borders San Antonio–New Braunfels to the south.

Balcones Fault

The Balcones Fault or Balcones Fault Zone is a tensional structural system in the U.S. state of Texas that runs approximately from the southwest part of the state near Del Rio to the north central region near Dallas along Interstate 35. The Balcones Fault zone is made up of many smaller features, including normal faults, grabens, and horsts. One of the obvious features is the Mount Bonnell Fault.

History

Pre-Columbian and colonial periods

Evidence of habitation of the Balcones Escarpment region of Texas can be traced to at least 11,000 years ago. Two of the oldest Paleolithic archeological sites in Texas, the Levi Rock Shelter and Smith Rock Shelter, are in southwest and southeast Travis County, respectively. [3] Several hundred years before European settlers arrived, a variety of nomadic Native American tribes inhabited the area. These indigenous peoples fished and hunted along the creeks, including present-day Barton Springs, [4] which proved to be a reliable campsite. [5] At the time of the first permanent settlement of the area, the Tonkawa tribe was the most common, with the Comanches and Lipan Apaches also frequenting the area. [6]

Paleolithic Prehistoric period, first part of the Stone Age

The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers c. 99% of human technological prehistory. It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools by hominins c. 3.3 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene c. 11,650 cal BP.

Levi Rock Shelter

The Levi Rock Shelter, named for former property owner Malcolm Levi, is an archeological site west of Austin, Texas where Paleo-Indian Native American artifacts dating back 10,000 years or more have been discovered.

Smith Rock Shelter

The Smith Rock Shelter is a natural limestone overhang in McKinney Falls State Park near Austin, Texas. The shelter is believed to have been used by Native Americans from 500 BCE until the 18th century. The last known occupants were related to the Tonkawa. It is accessible via the 0.8 mile round-trip Smith Rockshelter Trail in the park.

The region (along with all of modern Texas) was claimed by the Spanish Empire in the 1600s, but at the time no attempt was made to settle the area (or even to fully explore it). [7] In 1691 Domingo Terán de los Ríos made an inspection tour through East Texas that likely took him through Travis Country. The first European settlers in the area were a group of Spanish friars who arrived from East Texas in July 1730. They established three temporary missions, La Purísima Concepción, San Francisco de los Neches and San José de los Nazonis, on a site by the Colorado River near Barton Springs. The friars found conditions undesirable and relocated to the San Antonio River within a year of their arrival. [8]

Spanish Empire world empire from the 16th to the 19th century

The Spanish Empire, historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy and as the Catholic Monarchy, was one of the largest empires in history. From the late 15th century to the early 19th, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory in the New World and the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies". It also included territories in Europe, Africa and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Portuguese Empire. It was the world's most powerful empire during the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, reaching its maximum extension in the 18th century. The Spanish Empire was the first empire to be called "the empire on which the sun never sets".

Domingo Terán de los Ríos served as the first governor of Spanish Texas from 1691 to 1692.

Mission (station) location for missionary work

A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work.

Mexican period

In 1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain, and the new government enacted laws encouraging colonists to settle the Texas frontier by granting them land and reduced taxation. Over the next decade, thousands of foreign immigrants (primarily from the United States) moved into Texas; in particular, American empresario Stephen F. Austin established one of his colonies near what is now Bastrop, Texas (in future Travis County) in 1827. [9] Josiah and Mathias Wilbarger, Reuben Hornsby, Jacob M. Harrell, and John F. Webber were early settlers who moved into the area in the early 1830s.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

The Colonization Law of August 18, 1824 was a Mexican statute allowing foreigners to immigrate to the country.

Empresario person who had been granted the right to settle on land in exchange for recruiting and taking responsibility for new settlers. The word is Spanish for entrepreneur

An empresario was a person who had been granted the right to settle on land in exchange for recruiting and taking responsibility for settling the eastern areas of Coahuila y Tejas in the early nineteenth century. The word is Spanish for entrepreneur.

Republican period

In 1836 Texas declared and won its independence from Mexico, forming a new Republic of Texas. After Texas Vice President Mirabeau B. Lamar visited central Texas during a buffalo-hunting expedition between 1837 and 1838, he proposed that the republic's capital (then located in Houston) be relocated to a site on the north bank of the Colorado River. In 1839 the site was officially chosen as the republic's new capital and given the name Waterloo, Texas; shortly thereafter the city's name was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin. [10] A new county was also established the following year, of which Austin would be the seat; the county was named Travis County, after William B. Travis. Though the Republic's capital moved briefly back to Houston during the events surrounding the Texas Archive War, by 1845 Austin was again the capital, and it became the capital of the new State of Texas when Texas was annexed by the United States later that year.

Texas Declaration of Independence Document of Texan Indpendence from Mexico

The Texas Declaration of Independence was the formal declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico in the Texas Revolution. It was adopted at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, and formally signed the next day after mistakes were noted in the text.

Texas Revolution military conflict

The Texas Revolution was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos in putting up armed resistance to the centralist government of Mexico. While the uprising was part of a larger one that included other provinces opposed to the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government believed the United States had instigated the Texas insurrection with the goal of annexation. The Mexican Congress passed the Tornel Decree, declaring that any foreigners fighting against Mexican troops "will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag." Only the province of Texas succeeded in breaking with Mexico, establishing the Republic of Texas, and eventually being annexed by the United States.

Mirabeau B. Lamar American politician

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was an attorney born in Georgia, who became a Texas politician, poet, diplomat and soldier. He was a leading Texas political figure during the Texas Republic era. He was elected as the second President of the Republic of Texas after Sam Houston. He was known for waging war against bands of Cherokee and Comanche peoples to push them out of Texas, and for establishing a fund to support public education.

Civil War and beyond

In 1861 Travis County was one of the few Texas counties to vote against secession from the Union. Since the majority of the state did favor secession, Travis County then became a part of the Confederacy for the duration of the Civil War. After the Confederacy's defeat, Texas was fully readmitted to the Union in 1870.

From the end of the Civil War to the early twenty-first century, Travis County has experienced steady, rapid population growth (averaging more than a 36% increase every decade from 1870 to 2010), driven largely by the growth of Austin and its suburbs; it is now the fifth most populous county in Texas, after Harris (Houston), Dallas, Tarrant (Fort Worth) and Bexar (San Antonio) counties.

Geography

Travis County Justice Complex TravisCountyJusticeCenterTX.JPG
Travis County Justice Complex

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,023 square miles (2,650 km2), of which 990 square miles (2,600 km2) is land and 33 square miles (85 km2) (3.2%) is water. [11] Travis County is located in the southern part of central Texas, between San Antonio and Dallas–Fort Worth. The county's geographical center lies two miles northwest of downtown Austin at 30°18' north latitude and 97°45' west longitude. [12]

Travis County straddles the Balcones Fault, the boundary between the Edwards Plateau to the west and the Texas Coastal Plain to the east. The western part of the county is characterized by the karst topography of the Texas Hill Country, while the eastern part exhibits the fertile plains and farmlands of the Blackland Prairie. The Colorado River meanders through the county from west to east, forming a series of man-made lakes (Lake Travis, Lake Austin, and Lady Bird Lake).

Springs

The limestone karst geology of the western and southwestern parts of Travis County gives rise to numerous caverns and springs, some of which have provided shelter and water for humans in the region for thousands of years. Notable springs in the county include Barton Springs, Deep Eddy and Hamilton Pool.

Major highways

Travis County is crossed by Interstate Highway 35, US Highways 183 and 290, and Texas Highway 71. IH-35 leads northward to Waco and Dallas–Fort Worth and southward to San Antonio. US-183 leads northward through Cedar Park to Lampasas and southward to Lockhart. US-290 leads westward to Fredericksburg and eastward to Houston. TX-71 leads westward to Marble Falls and eastward to Bastrop.

Other major highways within the county include Texas Highway Loop 1 (the "Mopac Expressway"), which runs from north to south through the center of the county, and Texas Highway 45, which forms parts of an incomplete highway loop around Austin. Texas Highway 130 (constructed as an alternative to IH-35 for long-distance traffic wishing to avoid Austin and San Antonio) also runs from north to south through the sparsely populated eastern part of the county.

Adjacent counties

Protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1850 3,138
1860 8,080157.5%
1870 13,15362.8%
1880 27,028105.5%
1890 36,32234.4%
1900 47,38630.5%
1910 55,62017.4%
1920 57,6163.6%
1930 77,77735.0%
1940 111,05342.8%
1950 160,98045.0%
1960 212,13631.8%
1970 295,51639.3%
1980 419,57342.0%
1990 576,40737.4%
2000 812,28040.9%
2010 1,024,26626.1%
Est. 20181,248,743 [13] 21.9%
U.S. Decennial Census [14]
1850–2010 [15] 2010–2014 [1]

2015 Texas Population Estimate Program

As of the 2015 Texas Population Estimate Program, the population of the county was 1,169,907, non-Hispanic whites 562,223 (48.1%). Black Americans 90,218 (7.7%). Other non-Hispanic 106,174 (9.0%). Hispanics and Latinos (of any race) 411,292 (35.2%). [16]

2010 Census

According to the census of 2010, there were 1,024,266 people, 320,766 households, and 183,798 families residing in the county. The population density was 1034 persons per square mile (387/km²). There were 335,881 housing units at an average density of 340 per square mile (131/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.21% White, 9.26% Black or African American, 0.58% Native American, 4.47% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 14.56% other races, and 2.85% from two or more races. 28.20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. English is the sole language spoken at home by 71.42% of the population age 5 or over, while 22.35% speak Spanish, and a Chinese language (including Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Cantonese) is spoken by 1.05%. As of the 2010 census, there were about 11.1 same-sex couples per 1,000 households in the county. [17]

2000 Census

According to the census of 2000, there were 812,280 people, of which 29.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.60% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.70% were non-families. 30.10% of all households were composed of individuals and 4.40% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.15. 12.0% were of German, 7.7% English, 6.6% Irish and 5.5% American ancestry according to Census 2000 [18]

The population's age distribution was 23.80% under the age of 18, 14.70% from 18 to 24, 36.50% from 25 to 44, 18.20% from 45 to 64, and 6.70% age 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.50 males.

Government and infrastructure

Ned Granger Administration Building in Austin TravisCounty.JPG
Ned Granger Administration Building in Austin

Like other Texas counties, Travis County is governed by a Commissioners' Court composed of the county judge and four county commissioners. The court levies county taxes and sets the budgets for county officials and agencies. The judge and commissioners are elected for four-year terms (the judge at-large, and the commissioners from geographic precincts). The other major county-wide official is the county clerk, who maintains the county's records, administers elections, and oversees legal documentation (such as property deeds, marriage licenses and assumed name certificates). The clerk is also elected at-large for a four-year term.

The Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse is located in downtown Austin. The county courthouse holds civil and criminal trial courts and other functions of county government. As of 2017, the county's probate courts are in the process of being moved from the county courthouse into Austin's 1936 United States Courthouse, which was acquired by the county in 2016. [19]

Corrections

The Travis County Jail and the Travis County Criminal Justice Center are located in Downtown Austin. [20] [21] The Travis County Correctional Complex is located in an unincorporated area in Travis County, next to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. [22]

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates the Travis County Unit, a state jail for men, in eastern Austin. [23]

Economy

A county complex at 1010 Lavaca Street TravisCountyComplex.JPG
A county complex at 1010 Lavaca Street

As of 2013, Travis County had a median household income of $58,025 per year, and a per capita income of $33,206 per year. 17.4% of the population lived below the poverty level. [1] The county's largest employers are governments (the State of Texas, the US Federal Government, Travis County and the City of Austin) and public education bodies . Other major employers are concentrated in industries relating to semiconductors, software engineering and healthcare. [24]

Travis County, along with other Texas counties, has one of the nation's highest property tax rates. In 2009, the county was ranked 88th in the nation for property taxes as percentage of the homes value on owner-occupied housing. [25] Travis County also ranked in the top 100 for amount of property taxes paid and for percentage of income paid as tax. Property tax rates are generally high in Texas because the state does not levy an income tax.

Education

School districts

Travis County is served by a number of public school districts; the largest is Austin Independent School District, serving most of Austin. Other districts wholly or mainly located in Travis County include Eanes ISD, Lake Travis ISD, Lago Vista ISD, Leander ISD, Del Valle ISD, Manor ISD, and Pflugerville ISD. Parts of Elgin ISD, Coupland ISD, Round Rock ISD, Marble Falls ISD, Johnson City ISD, Dripping Springs ISD and Hays Consolidated ISD also cross into Travis County.

Colleges and universities

The largest university in Travis County is the University of Texas at Austin. Other universities include St. Edward's University, Huston–Tillotson University, and Concordia University Texas. The region's major community college system is Austin Community College District.

Culture

Within Texas, Travis County is known as an exceptionally culturally "liberal" region and a stronghold of the Texas Democratic Party. [26] The county voted for the Democratic candidate in six of the most recent seven US Presidential elections (and its one vote for a Republican was for George W. Bush, the sitting Texas Governor). Few county-wide elected positions are even contested by Republican candidates. [27] In 2005 it was the only county in Texas to vote against the Proposition 2 state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Politics

Travis County is one of the most consistently Democratic counties in Texas, having voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in twelve of the last fifteen elections since 1960.

Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results [28]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 27.1% 127,20965.8%308,2607.1% 33,251
2012 36.2% 140,15260.1%232,7883.7% 14,117
2008 34.3% 136,98163.5%254,0172.2% 8,890
2004 42.0% 147,88556.0%197,2352.0% 6,993
2000 46.9%141,23541.7% 125,52611.5% 34,502
1996 40.0% 98,45452.4%128,9707.7% 18,877
1992 31.9% 88,10547.3%130,54620.9% 57,584
1988 44.9% 105,91554.1%127,7831.0% 2,386
1984 56.8%124,94442.8% 94,1240.3% 745
1980 45.7% 73,15146.9%75,0287.4% 11,914
1976 46.7% 71,03151.6%78,5851.7% 2,597
1972 56.3%70,56143.2% 54,1570.5% 611
1968 41.6% 34,30948.1%39,66710.4% 8,544
1964 31.0% 19,83868.9%44,0580.1% 62
1960 44.9% 22,10754.9%27,0220.3% 135
1956 54.0%23,55145.8% 19,9820.2% 98
1952 52.1%20,85047.8% 19,1550.1% 46
1948 22.0% 5,99472.0%19,5985.9% 1,615
1944 12.1% 2,32474.8%14,38413.1% 2,522
1940 15.3% 3,12884.4%17,3000.4% 75
1936 8.6% 1,15490.1%12,0921.3% 179
1932 11.5% 1,53287.6%11,7180.9% 126
1928 51.8%4,84748.0% 4,4870.2% 17
1924 19.4% 1,90977.1%7,5733.5% 345
1920 20.4% 1,20460.0%3,54119.6% 1,160
1916 15.5% 69082.5%3,6822.0% 89
1912 12.0% 46870.5%2,74117.4% 677

Communities

Cities (multiple counties)

Cities

Villages

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

See also

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Coordinates: 30°20′N97°47′W / 30.33°N 97.78°W / 30.33; -97.78