Brownsville is a city located in Cameron County Texas. It is also the county seat of Cameron County. With a 2020 population of 189,082, it is the 18th largest city in Texas and the 141st largest city in the United States. Brownsville is currently growing at a rate of 0.62% annually and its population has increased by 1.26% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 186,738 in 2020. Spanning over 146 miles, Brownsville has a population density of 1,429 people per square mile.
The average household income in Brownsville is $53,996 with a poverty rate of 27.46%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $754 per month, and the median house value is $92,400. The median age in Brownsville is 30.6 years, 27.8 years for males, and 33.5 years for females.
Brownsville is located in Cameron County, Texas in South Texas near the Mexican border. The city is part of the cross-border Brownsville-Metamoros conurbation which has an estimated population of 1.13 million. Brownsville is one of the most southern cities in the United States.
Brownsville has one of the highest shares of Hispanic residents in the United States. The Pew Research Center reports that metro Brownsville has about 373,000 Hispanic residents or almost 89% of its population which ranks 28th in the country. Almost 97% of Hispanic residents in Brownsville are Mexican and 0.8% are Puerto Rican. About 30% of people in Brownsville were born outside of the U.S.
Brownsville has one of the country's highest poverty rates with a median household income of $24,500. Nearly 36% of the population and 32% of families live below the federal poverty line. This includes almost half of people under 18. This makes Brownsville the second poorest urban area in the United States after the McAllen metro area.
Brownsville remains the most populous city in the Rio Grande Valley and its population more than doubled from 85,000 in 1980 to 175,000 in 2010. The city is now working on a comprehensive housing program to address its massively growing population. By 2030, Brownsville is expected to add another 10,000 people.
In its early history in the 18th century when the land was owned by Spain, the area of Brownsville was used for ranching. It had just a few settlers when Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836.
Brownsville was founded by an entrepreneur named Charles Stillman in 1848 after he founded a nearby river boat company. The city is named for Major Jacob Brown, an Army soldier who fought in the Mexican-American War. In 1848, Brownsville became part of Texas and the city was incorporated two years later. Brownsville played a major role in many historical events, including the Battle of Brownsville during the American Civil War and the Mexican-American War and Texas Revolution.