Hays County, Texas
Hays County is a county on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas. Hays County is part of the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, its official population had reached 157,107. The county seat is San Marcos. Hays, along with Comal and Kendall counties, was listed in 2017 as one of the nation's ten fastest-growing large counties with a population of at least ten thousand. From 2015 to 2016, Hays County, third on the national list, had nearly ten thousand new residents during the year. Comal County, sixth on the list, grew by 5,675 newcomers, or 4.4 percent. Kendall County, the second-fastest-growing county in the nation, grew by 5.16 percent. As a result of this growth, the counties have experienced new home construction, traffic congestion, and greater demand for public services. Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, grew by 1.75 percent during the year, but its sheer number of new residents exceeded 33,000.
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
|Coordinates: 30°04′N 98°02′W|
|Named for||John Coffee Hays|
|Largest city||San Marcos|
|• Total||680 sq mi (1,800 km2)|
|• Land||678 sq mi (1,760 km2)|
|• Water||1.9 sq mi (5 km2) 0.3%%|
|• Density||232/sq mi (90/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|Congressional districts||21st, 25th, 35th|
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 680 square miles (1,800 km2), of which 678 square miles (1,760 km2) are land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) (0.3%) are covered by water.
School districts in Hays county include the San Marcos Consolidated, Dripping Springs Independent, Wimberley Independent, and Hays Consolidated Independent school districts. As of 2009, the county has three high schools, five middle schools, and 11 elementary schools.
Higher education in Hays County includes one four-year institution, Texas State University, in San Marcos. Austin Community College operates three distance learning centers that offer basic and Early College Start classes, along with testing centers for online classes.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
2015 Texas population estimate program
As of the 2015 Texas population estimate program, the county's population was 193,963: non-Hispanic whites, 106,919 (55.1%); non-Hispanic blacks, 5,860 (3.0%); other non-Hispanics, 6,624 (3.4%); and Hispanics and Latinos (of any race), 74,560 (38.4%).
As of the census of 2000, 97,589 people, 51,265 households, and 22,150 families resided in the county. The population density was 144 people per square mile (56/km²). The 55,643 housing units averaged 53 per mi2 (20/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 78.92% White, 3.68% Black or African American, 0.69%Native American, 0.79% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 13.36% from other races, and 2.49% from two or more races. About 29.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 33,410 households, 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.10% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.70% were not families; 21.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.21.
The county's population was distributed as 24.50% under the age of 18, 20.50% from 18 to 24, 28.20% from 25 to 44, 19.10% from 45 to 64, and 7.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.50 males.
The county's median household income was $45,006 and the median family income was $56,287. Males had a median income of $35,209 versus $27,334 for females. The county's per capita income was $19,931. About 6.40% of families and 14.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.30% of those under age 18 and 9.70% of those age 65 or over.
- 6000 BC Paleo-Indians were the first inhabitants.
- Archeological evidence at Timmeron site indicates the Tonkawa tribe was involved in agriculture around 1200 AD.
- Father Isidro Félix de Espinosa, Father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares, and Pedro de Aguirre traveled through the area in 1709.
- French-Canadian explorer Louis Juchereau de St. Denis was attacked by Comanches in 1714.
- In 1755, Mission San Francisco Xavier de los Dolores was established among the Apache tribe.
- In 1831, Coahuila y Tejas issued a land grant to Juan Martín de Veramendi, to Juan Vicente Campos in 1832, and to Thomas Jefferson Chambers in 1834.
- The Mexican government issued a land grant to the first Anglo-American settler in the county, Thomas G. McGhee of Tennessee in 1835.
- On March 1, 1848, the legislature formed Hays County from Travis County. The county is named for Tennessee native Captain John Coffee Hays of the Texas Rangers. San Marcos was named as the county seat.
- The legislature established Blanco from part of Hays in 1858, but incorporated part of Comal into Hays. Risher and Hall Stage Lines controls 16 of 31 passenger and mail lines in Texas.
- In 1861, voters in the county favored secession from the Union.
- The legislature transferred more of Comal County to Hays County in 1862.
- In 1867, the first cattle drive from Hays County to Kansas occurred.
- International-Great Northern Railroad was completed from Austin to San Marcos in 1880.
- Camp Ben McCulloch, named after a brigadier general, was organized in 1896 for reunions of United Confederate Veterans.
- A teacher’s college, Southwest Texas State Normal School, was established in San Marcos in 1899.
- Wonder Cave opened to the public in 1900.
- The current Hays County Courthouse in San Marcos was erected in 1908. Beaux-Arts style by Architect C.H. Page & Bros.
- The Aquarena Springs tourist site opened in 1928 in San Marcos.
- Lyndon Baines Johnson graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1930.
- In 1942, construction of San Marcos Army Air Field began.
- San Marcos Army Air Field was renamed Gary Air Force Base in 1953 to honor Second Lieutenant Arthur Edward Gary, the first San Marcos resident killed in World War II.
- The state legislature resurveyed the Hays and Travis County lines, adding 16,000 acres (65 km2) to Hays County in 1955.
- In 1964, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced the establishment of a Job Corps center based at the deactivated Gary Air Force Base.
Like the rest of Texas, Hays County was once a strongly Democratic Party leaning county in federal elections. However, like other suburban counties in the state, the county has been trending towards the Republican Party, though tends to lean less Republican than the state as a whole. The last Democrat to carry Hays County in a presidential election was Bill Clinton with a plurality of 39.8% of the vote in 1992. The last Democrat to win a majority of the vote in the county was Jimmy Carter with 54.4% in 1976. Lloyd Bentsen had been the last Democratic Senate candidate to carry the county, winning 69.2% of the vote in 1988, until 2018, when Beto O'Rourke carried the county with 57.1% of the vote.
The county is no less Republican at the state level. Ann Richards was the last Democratic gubernatorial candidate to win the county with 56.6% of the vote in 1990, until Lupe Valdez won with a 49.6% plurality in 2018.
Democratic strength lies primarily along the I-35 Corridor and communities east of there, while communities west of the highway lean Republican. San Marcos, where Texas State University is located, and the city of Kyle vote Democratic, while Buda, Dripping Springs, and Wimberley vote Republican.
Cities (multiple counties)
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