West Texas

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West Texas
Region
West Texas Hwy 302 west of NoTrees.jpg
West of Notrees
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Map of Texas
Country United States
State Texas

West Texas is a loosely defined part of the U.S. state of Texas, generally encompassing the arid and semiarid lands west of a line drawn between the cities of Wichita Falls, Abilene, and Del Rio.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.

Semi-arid climate climat with precipitation below potential evapotranspiration

A semi-arid climate or steppe climate is the climate of a region that receives precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a desert climate. There are different kinds of semi-arid climates, depending on variables such as temperature, and they give rise to different biomes.

Contents

There is no consensus on the boundary between East Texas and West Texas. [1] While most Texans understand these terms, no boundaries are officially recognized and any two individuals are likely to describe the boundaries of these regions differently. Walter Prescott Webb, the American historian and geographer, suggested that the 98th meridian separates East and West Texas; [2] Texas writer A.C. Greene proposed that West Texas extends west of the Brazos River. [3]

East Texas cultural, geographic and ecological area in the US federated state of Texas

East Texas is a distinct cultural, geographic, and ecological area in the U.S. state of Texas.

Walter Prescott Webb was an American historian noted for his groundbreaking work on the American West. As president of the Texas State Historical Association, he launched the project that produced the Handbook of Texas. He is also noted for his early criticism of the water usage patterns in the region.

98th meridian west line of longitude west of the Greenwich Meridian

The meridian 98° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

West Texas is often subdivided according to distinct physiographic features. The portion of West Texas that lies west of the Pecos River is often referred to as "Far West Texas" or the "Trans-Pecos", a term first introduced in 1887 by Texas geologist Robert T. Hill. [4] The Trans-Pecos lies within the Chihuahuan Desert, and is the most arid portion of the state. Another part of West Texas is the Llano Estacado, a vast region of high, level plains extending into Eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. To the east of the Llano Estacado lies the “redbed country” of the Rolling Plains and to the south of the Llano Estacado lies the Edwards Plateau. The Rolling Plains and the Edwards Plateau subregions act as transitional zones between eastern and western Texas.

Pecos River river in the United States of America

The Pecos River originates in north-central New Mexico and flows into Texas, emptying into the Rio Grande. Its headwaters are on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in Mora County north of Pecos, NM, at an elevation of over 12,000 feet (3,700 m) feet. The river flows for 926 miles (1,490 km) before reaching the Rio Grande near Del Rio. Its drainage basin encompasses about 44,300 square miles (115,000 km2).

Trans-Pecos

The Trans-Pecos, as originally defined in 1887 by the Texas geologist Robert T. Hill, is the portion of Texas that lies west of the Pecos River. The term is considered synonymous with "Far West Texas", a subdivision of West Texas. The Trans-Pecos is part of the Chihuahuan Desert, the largest desert in North America. It is the most mountainous and arid portion of the state, and most of its area is vast and sparsely populated, comprising seven of the ten largest counties by area in Texas. The area is known for the natural environment of the Big Bend and the gorge of the Rio Grande, part of which has been designated a National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. With the notable exceptions of Big Bend Ranch State Park, Big Bend National Park and the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the vast majority of the Trans-Pecos region consists of privately owned ranchland. However, the majority of the region's population reside in the El Paso metropolitan area.

Robert T. Hill United States geologist

Robert Thomas Hill was a significant figure in the development of American geology during the late nineteenth century and in the early part of the twentieth century. As a pioneer Texas geologist, Hill discovered and named the Comanche Series of the Lower Cretaceous, and was a lifelong student of the structure and stratigraphy of the Cretaceous deposits of Central Texas and neighboring regions.

Counties

The counties included in the West Texas region vary depending on the organization. The Texas Counties.net website acknowledges the variations, and includes 70 counties in its definition, based on the five principal metropolitan areas it contains: El Paso, Lubbock, Abilene, Midland/Odessa, and San Angelo. [5]

El Paso, Texas City in Texas, United States

El Paso is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, in the far western part of the state. The 2018 population estimate for the city from the U.S. Census was 682,669. Its metropolitan statistical area (MSA) covers all of El Paso and Hudspeth counties in Texas, and has a population of 840,758.

Lubbock, Texas City in Texas, United States

Lubbock is the 11th-most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas and the county seat of Lubbock County. With a population of 256,042 in 2015, the city is also the 83rd-most populous in the United States. The city is in the northwestern part of the state, a region known historically and geographically as the Llano Estacado, and ecologically is part of the southern end of the High Plains, lying at the economic center of the Lubbock metropolitan area, which has a projected 2020 population of 327,424.

Abilene, Texas City in Texas, United States

Abilene is a city in Taylor and Jones counties in Texas, United States. The population was 117,463 at the 2010 census, making it the 27th-most populous city in the state of Texas. It is the principal city of the Abilene Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2017 estimated population of 170,219. It is the county seat of Taylor County. Dyess Air Force Base is located on the west side of the city.

The counties included are Andrews, Bailey, Borden, Brewster, Brown, Callahan, Castro, Cochran, Coke, Coleman, Comanche, Concho, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Eastland, Ector, El Paso, Fisher, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Glasscock, Hale, Haskell, Hockley, Howard, Hudspeth, Irion, Jeff Davis, Jones, Kent, Kimble, King, Knox, Lamb, Loving, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, Menard, Midland, Mitchell, Motley, Nolan, Parmer, Potter, Pecos, Presidio, Randall, Reagan, Reeves, Runnels, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Taylor, Terrell, Terry, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, Winkler and Yoakum.

Andrews County, Texas County in the United States

Andrews County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,786. Its county seat is Andrews. Andrews is named for Richard Andrews, a soldier of the Texas Revolution. The county was created August 21, 1876, from Tom Green County and organized in 1910.

Bailey County, Texas County in the United States

Bailey County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,165. This county is east from the New Mexico state line. Its county seat is Muleshoe. The county was created in 1876 and later organized in 1919. It is named for Peter James Bailey, a defender of the Alamo.

Borden County, Texas County in the United States

Borden County is a rural county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 641, making it the fourth-least populous county in Texas. Its county seat is Gail. The county was created in 1876 and later organized in 1891. Gail and Borden County are named for Gail Borden, Jr., businessman, publisher, surveyor, and inventor of condensed milk. Borden County is one of six prohibition or entirely dry counties in the state of Texas.

Cities and towns of West Texas

Cities

Region rankCityCensus 2013
population estimate [6]
State rankCounty
1 El Paso 674,4336 El Paso County
2 Lubbock 239,53811 Lubbock County
3 Amarillo 196,42914 Potter County
4 Midland 123,93326 Midland County
5 Abilene 120,09927 Taylor County
6 Odessa 110,72030 Ector County
7 San Angelo 97,49237 Tom Green County
8 Socorro 32,51777 El Paso County
9 Big Spring 28,125104 Howard County
10 Plainview 22,194128 Hale County
Amarillo, Texas City in Texas, United States

Amarillo is the 14th-most populous city in the state of Texas, United States. It is also the largest city in the Texas Panhandle, and the seat of Potter County. A portion of the city extends into Randall County. The estimated population was 199,826 as of 2017. The Amarillo metropolitan area has an estimated population of 276,020 in four counties as of 2017. The metro population is projected to surpass 310,000 in 2020.

Midland, Texas City in Texas

Midland is a city in and the county seat of Midland County, Texas, United States, on the Southern Plains of the state's western area. A small portion of the city extends into Martin County.

Odessa, Texas City in Texas

Odessa is a city in and the county seat of Ector County, Texas, United States. It is located primarily in Ector County, although a small section of the city extends into Midland County. Odessa's population was 118,918 at the 2010 census, making it the 29th-most populous city in Texas; estimates as of July 2015 indicate a population of 159,436 in the city. It is the principal city of the Odessa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ector County. The metropolitan area is also a component of the larger Midland–Odessa combined statistical area, which had a 2010 census population of 278,801; a recent report from the United States Census Bureau estimates that the combined population as of July 2015 is 320,513. In 2014, Forbes magazine ranked Odessa as the third-fastest growing small city in the United States.

Some of the smaller West Texas cities and towns include: Alpine, Andrews, Anthony, Brownfield, Canutillo, Canyon, Coyanosa, Crane, Fort Davis, Fabens, Fort Bliss, San Elizario, Fort Stockton, Hale Center, Iraan, Kermit, Lamesa, Levelland, Littlefield, Marathon, Marfa, McCamey, Mertzon, Monahans, Ozona, Pampa, Pecos, Horizon City, Post, Rankin, Seminole, Slaton, Snyder, Sweetwater, and Van Horn.

Climate

West Texas receives much less rainfall than the rest of Texas and has an arid or semiarid climate, requiring most of its scant agriculture to be heavily dependent on irrigation. This irrigation, and water taken out farther north for the needs of El Paso and Juarez, Mexico, has reduced the once mighty Rio Grande to a stream in some places, even dry at times. Much of West Texas has rugged terrain, including many small mountain ranges while there are none in other parts of the state.

Politics

Except for the Trans-Pecos region, West Texas has become well known as a stronghold for conservative politics. Some of the most heavily Republican counties in the United States are located in the region. Former U.S. President George W. Bush spent most of his childhood in West Texas.

The Panhandle and several counties in or west of Midland were one of the first areas of Texas to abandon the state’s “Solid SouthDemocratic roots; nine counties [lower-alpha 1] have not supported a Democrat for president since 1948. The Rolling Plains to the east remained Democratic for substantially longer: even Walter Mondale in 1984 when losing Texas by 27.50 percentage points carried five counties in this region. [lower-alpha 2] However, since 2000 this region has swung very rapidly towards the Republican Party due to its population’s intransigent opposition to the liberal social policies of the Democratic Party [7] and by 2016 has become nearly so Republican as the Panhandle.

Economy

Major industries include livestock, petroleum and natural gas production, textiles such as cotton, grain, and, because of very large military installations such as Fort Bliss, the defense industry. West Texas has become notable for its numerous wind turbines producing clean, alternative electricity.

As of 2018, the West Texan economy is in an economic period, which has been described as the "West Texas oil boom". [8] [9]

Sports

West Texas does not have major league sports teams. Instead the region has college teams such as Texas Tech Red Raiders and UTEP Miners, which play in NCAA Division I, and NCAA Division II teams of the West Texas A&M Buffaloes, the Texas–Permian Basin Falcons, and the Lubbock Christian Chaparrals and Lady Chaps. El Paso also hosts the El Paso Chihuahuas, a AAA baseball team and Midland hosts the Midland RockHounds, a Double-A baseball team. Oddly in the heat ravaged climate of West Texas, the winter sport of ice hockey can be found in the city of Odessa through a Tier II junior ice hockey team playing out of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) called the Odessa Jackalopes. In 2019, The San Antonio Missions will move to Amarillo and continue play at the Double-A level [10] ; a mascot and team name have yet to be announced.

"West of the Pecos" has become a metaphor for the universe of westerns. "Fastest draw west of the Pecos" and similar superlatives are a cliche, and the title character of Chisum observed ”There’s no law west of Dodge, and no God west of the Pecos”. See West of the Pecos (disambiguation).

See also

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References

  1. Cochran, M., Lumpkin, J. and Heflin, R. 1999. West Texas: a portrait of its people and their raw and wondrous land. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 176 pp.
  2. Webb, W.P. 1935. The Texas Rangers: a century of frontier defense. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 583 pp.
  3. Greene, A.C. 1998. Sketches from the five states of Texas. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 176 pp.
  4. Hill, R.T. 1887. The topography and geology of the Cross Timbers and surrounding regions in Northern Texas. The American Journal of Science, 3rd Series, 33:291–303.
  5. "The Regions of Texas". Texas Counties.net. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  6. factfinder2.census.gov
  7. Cohn, Nate; ‘Demographic Shift: Southern Whites’ Loyalty to G.O.P. Nearing That of Blacks to Democrats’, New York Times , April 24, 2014
  8. Clifford, Krauss (March 28, 2018). "$9.5 Billion Purchase by Concho Is Latest Sign of West Texas Oil Boom". New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  9. Saphir, Ann (May 1, 2018). "Boom in West Texas oil patch lifts wages, prices". Reuters. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  10. http://www.newschannel10.com/story/35716024/missions-aa-baseball-coming-to-amarillo

Notes

  1. West Texas counties voting Republican at every election since 1952 comprise Ector County, Gray County, Hansford County, Hutchinson County, Lipscomb County, Midland County, Ochiltree County, Randall County and Roberts County.
  2. West Texas Plains “Bible Belt“ counties voting for Mondale in 1984 were Cottle County (which was in fact one of 130 counties nationwide to vote for George McGovern in 1972), Dickens County, Fisher County, Stonewall County and Swisher County.