El Paso, Texas

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Updated January 6, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
El Paso, Texas
Source: iStock

Mayor: Oscar Leeser (since 2021)

City Manager: Tommy Gonzalez

2010 census population (rank): 649,121 (19); Male: 311,280 (48.0%); Female: 337,841 (52.0%); White: 524,764 (80.8%); Black: 22,006 (3.4%); American Indian and Alaska Native: 4,757 (0.7%); Asian: 7,723 (1.2%); Other race: 71,415 (18.2%); Two or more races: 17,547 (2.7%); Hispanic/Latino: 523,721 (80.7%). 2010 population 18 and over: 460,127; 65 and over: 72,617 (11.2%); Median age: 31.5

2015 population estimate (rank): 649,121 (19)

See additional census data

Land area: 249 sq mi. (645 sq km);

Alt.: 4,000 ft.

Avg. daily temp.: Jan., 42.8° F; July, 82.3° F

Churches: Protestant, 320; Roman Catholic, 39; Jewish, 3; others, 20;

City-owned parks: 145 (2,150 ac.);1

Radio Stations: AM, 18; FM, 17;

Television stations: 6

Civilian Labor Force (MSA) May 2015: 342,700;

Unemployed (May 2015): 5.0%;

Per capita personal income (MSA) 2013: $19,669

Chamber of Commerce: Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, 10 Civic Center Plaza, El Paso, TX 79944; Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 201 E. Main, Ste. 100, El Paso, TX 79901

1. Includes 129 developed and 16 undeveloped parks.

El Paso, the sixth-largest city in Texas and the seat of El Paso County, is located in the far western part of the state on the north bank of the Rio Grande, opposite the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez on the south bank.

On April 30, 1598, Juan de Oñate took formal possession of the area for King Philip II of Spain. Subsequently he crossed the Rio Grande near a site west of present downtown El Paso, which he called “El Paso del Rio del Norte,” meaning the crossing of the river—the first use of the name “El Paso.” In 1659, the mission of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was founded on a site that is present-day downtown Ciudad Juárez; the mission is still in use today. In 1682, Spanish colonists from Mexico founded the settlement of Ysleta on the site of the present-day city. However, it wasn't until 1827 that the first permanent settlement at El Paso was established by Juan María Ponce de León. The city's real growth started with the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1881. El Paso was incorporated as a city in 1873.

In 1888, Mexico changed the name of Paso del Norte to Ciudad Juárez in honor of Benito Juárez. Later, in 1967, the U.S. agreed to cede a long-disputed part of El Paso to Mexico due to changes in the course of the Rio Grande, which forms the international boundary between the two countries. El Paso and its sister city of Ciudad Juárez across the U.S./Mexico border are inexorably joined by culture and economy. El Paso and Juárez make up the largest international metroplex in the world.

El Paso is an important port of entry to the U.S. from Mexico. The high-technology, medical-device manufacturing, plastics, refining, automotive, food processing, and defense-related industries are important to the economy. El Paso's service sector has experienced healthy growth since the 1980s. El Paso is also a major tourist resort.

See also Encyclopedia: El Paso.

Facts About Texas

Discover even more fascinating El Paso facts and Texas in-depth: historic events, disasters, entertainment, animals, geographic landmarks, travel ideas, and haunted places in Texas!

Selected famous natives and residents:

  • Manuel Acosta artist;
  • Don Bluth animation director;
  • Vicki Carr singer;
  • Jose Cisneros artist;
  • Sam Donaldson newsman;
  • Albert Fall government official;
  • Judith Ivey actress;
  • Guy Kibbee actor;
  • Sandra Day O'Connor Supreme Court justice;
  • Debbie Reynolds actress;
  • Irene Ryan actress.


Profiles of the 50 Largest Cities of the United States


Profiles of the 50 Largest Cities of the United States
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