Harlingen (/ˈhɑːrlɪndʒɪn/ HAR-lin-jin) is a city in Cameron County in the central region of the Rio Grande Valley of the southern part of the U.S. state of Texas, about 30 miles (48 km) from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The city covers more than 40 square miles (104 km) and is the second-largest city in Cameron County, as well as the fourth-largest in the Rio Grande Valley. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 64,849, for a growth rate of 12.5% since the 2000 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.3 square miles (104.4 km), of which 39.8 square miles (103.1 km) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km), or 1.22%, is covered by water.
Soils in Harlingen range in texture from fine sandy loam to clay. They are neutral to moderately alkaline with pH of 7.2 to 8.5 (most commonly around 8.2), and are moderately well drained or well drained in most cases, with small areas of poorly drained, saline clays.
As of the census of 2000, 57,564 people, 19,021 households, and 14,360 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,689.6 people per square mile (652.4/km²). The 23,008 housing units averaged 675.3/mi (260.7/km). The racial makeup of the city was 78.68% White, 0.92% Black, 0.52% Native American, 0.88% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 16.39% from other races, and 2.58% from two or more races. About 72.76% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race; most are of Mexican descent due to the proximity of the international border.
As in other cities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a significant part of Harlingen’s transient population and a significant contributor to its economy consists of “Winter Texans”, generally retirees from the northern Midwestern states and Canada, who come to escape the northern winter weather between roughly November and April.
Of the 19,021 households, 38.6% had children under the age of 18, 55.6% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were not families; 20.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94, and the average family size was 3.44.
In the city, the population was distributed as 30.7% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,296, and for a family was $34,015. Males had a median income of $27,014 versus $21,795 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,886. About 19.3% of families and 24.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.7% of those under age 18 and 16.2% of those age 65 or over.