El Paso is a city located in El Paso County, Texas. With a 2020 population of 685,575, it is the 6th largest city in Texas and the 22nd largest city in the United States. El Paso is currently growing at a rate of 0.21% annually and its population has increased by 5.62% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 649,121 in 2010. Spanning over 258 miles, El Paso has a population density of 2,663 people per square mile.
The average household income in El Paso is $62,132 with a poverty rate of 20.00%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $814 per month, and the median house value is $123,900. The median age in El Paso is 32.9 years, 31 years for males, and 35.1 years for females. For every 100 females there are 95.8 males.
The estimated population of El Paso gives it a population density of 2,500 people per square mile (980/square mile). The larger metropolitan area, covering all of Hudspeth and El Paso counties, has a population of 837,000 while the El Paso-Las Cruces CSA has a population of 1.05 million. Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso form a broad international metropolitan area often called the Paso del Norte or the El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces with more than 2.7 million residents. This constitutes the Western Hemisphere's largest bilingual, binational work force.
El Paso has been ranked as one of the top three safest large U.S. cities since 1997 and the safest for the last three years. The city is known for its strong military presence, including Biggs Army Airfield and Fort Bliss -- one of the largest U.S. Army military complexes and the country's largest training area. El Paso is also the headquarters for the U.S. Border Patrol Special Operations Group, the Joint Task Force North, and the El Paso Intelligence Center.
El Paso Population Growth
While the Texas population grew by 20% from 2000 to 2010, El Paso grew by 15% during the same period. A great deal of the growth is attributed to people leaving the fringe communities and moving into the large urban center of El Paso. The increase in the Hispanic population is attributed to immigration and high fertility rates. It's believed Hispanics and Latinos will have an 85% share of the population by 2020, although the military presence and university will maintain diversity in the city.
The El Paso area has been inhabited for thousands of years, initially by maize farmers. When the Spanish arrived, the Suma, Manso, and Jumano people lived in the area and were incorporated later into the Mestizo culture with immigrants from other parts of Texas.
Spanish explorer Don Juan de Onate was the first New Spain or Mexican explorer to see the Rio Grande near El Paso, celebrating Thanksgiving Mass in the area in 1598, which was decades before the famous Pilgrims' Thanksgiving.
Fray Garcia de San Francisco established the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission of El Paso del Norte in 1659. It was the construction of this mission that allowed the village of El Paso del Norte to grow.
The Texas Revolution in 1836 did not affect the area much, although Texas claimed the El Paso area as part of a treaty with Mexico. The village of El Paso remained a self-governing community with Texan and Mexican representatives until Texas took full control in 1846. Americans continued settling in the area during this time.
The city of El Paso experienced a booming population when the railroads arrived, with the population exploding by more than 9,000 between 1881 and 1890. Most were Americans from Texas. The city became a violent boomtown called the Six Shooter Capital with gambling and prostitution flourishing until WWI when the Army pressured authorities to crack down on the city's vices.
By 1920, the population was more than 100,000 with a white majority. It wasn't until 1965 that Hispanics once more claimed a majority in the city.
The first bridge crossing the Rio Grande at El Paso del Norte was constructed more than 250 years ago. There are now several bridges serving the area, including the Santa Fe Street Bridge, the Bridge of the Americas, and the Ysleta Bridge.