Matagorda County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 36,702. Its county seat is Bay City, not to be confused with the larger Baytown in Harris and Chambers Counties. Matagorda County is named for the canebrakes that once grew along the coast (matagorda is a Spanish word meaning “thick bush”).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,613 square miles (4,180 km), of which 1,100 square miles (2,800 km) is land and 512 square miles (1,330 km) (32%) is water. The water area includes Matagorda Bay. It borders the Gulf of Mexico.
As of the census of 2000, there were 37,957 people, 13,901 households, and 9,925 families residing in the county. The population density was 34 people per square mile (13/km²). There were 18,611 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 67.83% White, 12.72% Black or African American, 0.67% Native American, 2.38% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 13.98% from other races, and 2.38% from two or more races. 31.35% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 10.3% were of German, 8.2% American, 5.4% English and 5.2% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 73.9% spoke English, 24.0% Spanish and 1.6% Vietnamese as their first language.
There were 13,901 households out of which 36.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.80% were married couples living together, 12.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% were non-families. 25.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.25.
In the county, the population was spread out with 30.00% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 26.90% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,174, and the median income for a family was $40,586. Males had a median income of $37,733 versus $21,871 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,709. About 14.90% of families and 18.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.00% of those under age 18 and 13.60% of those age 65 or over.