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Harris County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texasmarker within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. As of 2000 U.S. Census, the county had a population of 3,400,578 (though a 2007 estimate placed the population at 4,011,475), making it the most populous county in Texas and the third most populous county in the United States. Its county seat is Houstonmarker , the largest city in Texas.

Harris County is named for John Richardson Harris, an early settler of the area.


The county was founded on December 22, 1836 as Harrisburg County . The name was changed to Harris County in December 1839.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,778 square miles (4,604 km²), of which, 1,729 square miles (4,478 km²) of it is land and 49 square miles (127 km²) of it (2.75%) is water. Its land area is larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Major highways

See List of Highways in Harris County for more roadways in Harris County.

Adjacent counties


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,400,578 people, 1,205,516 households, and 834,217 families residing in the county, making it the largest county by population in Texas. The population density was 1,967 people per square mile (759/km²). There were 1,298,130 housing units at an average density of 751 per square mile (290/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 58.73% White, 18.49% Black or African American, 0.45% Native American, 5.14% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 14.18% from other races, and 2.96% from two or more races. 32.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 7.2% were of German, 6.2% Americanmarker and 5.3% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 63.8% spoke English, 28.8% Spanish and 1.6% Vietnamese as their first language.

In 2006 Harris County had 3,886,207 residents. This represented 14.3% growth since 2000.

2005 saw Harris County with 37.5% of its population Latino. This represented an increase of over 120,000 in the number of Latinos in the county. 5.5% of the population was Asian. South Asians especially Indian Americans making up one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in Harris County, with 35,971 counted in the 2000 Census;..African Americans constituted 18.4% of the county's population, representing a slight decline in percentage. It however meant the total number of African-Americans in the county had risen..

In 2000 There were 1,205,516 households out of which 37.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.60% were married couples living together, 13.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.80% were non-families. 25.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family size was 3.38.

In the county, the population was spread out with 29.00% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 33.40% from 25 to 44, 19.80% from 45 to 64, and 7.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 99.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,598, and the median income for a family was $49,004. Males had a median income of $37,361 versus $28,941 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,435. About 12.10% of families and 14.97% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.60% of those under age 18 and 12.20% of those age 65 or over.

According to Children At Risk, a local non-profit research organization, 20.8% of the Harris County children live in poverty, 6.5 per 1,000 die before age 1, and 38% drop out of high school.

Harris County along with other Texas Counties has one of the nation's highest property tax rates. In 2007, the county was ranked in the top 25 at #22nd in the nation for property taxes as percentage of the homes value on owner occupied housing, the list only includes counties with a population over 65,000 for accuracy [13697] link title.


Various companies are headquartered in incorporated and unincorporated areas throughout Harris County.

Academy Sports and Outdoors, a sporting goods retailer, has its corporate offices and product distribution center in unincorporated western Harris County. Hewlett-Packard operates its United States region office in a complex northwest unincorporated Harris County; the complex formerly belonged to Compaq prior to Compaq's merger with HP. Internet America, an internet service provider, is headquartered in northwest unincorporated Harris County.

General Electric operates an aeroderivative division facility on Jacintoport in unincorporated Harris County.

In 2008 KBR announced that it will open a new office facility in an unincorporated area in western Harris County. In December KBR said that it would not continue with the plans due to a weakened economy.

In 2009 20% of the office space in northwest Harris County was vacant. As of that year, more office space is being built; in 2010 northwest Harris will have twice the amount of office space that it had in 2009. The vacancy rate in the area near Farm to Market Road 1960 and Texas State Highway 249 in north Harris County was 53% in 2009.

As Houston mostly resides in Harris County, much of the county's economy is related to Houston. See Economy of Houston.

Diplomatic missions

Various consulates are located in the county; one, the Consulate-General of Pakistan in Houston, which opened in June 2004, is at 11850 Jones Road in an unincorporated section of the county. The other consulates are in areas of Houston.

Government and politics

Presidential Election Results 1960-2008
Year Democrat Republican
2008 50.5% 590,982 48.8% 571,883
2004 44.6% 475,865 54.6% 584,723
2000 42.9% 418,267 54.3% 529,159
1996 45.2% 386,726 49.2% 421,462
1992 38.2% 360,171 43.1% 406,778
1988 42.1% 342,919 57.0% 464,217
1984 38.3% 334,135 61.5% 536,029
1980 38.1% 274,061 57.9% 416,655
1976 47.0% 321,897 52.2% 357,536
1972 36.9% 215,916 62.6% 365,672
1968 38.8% 182,546 42.9% 202,079
1964 59.5% 227,819 40.3% 154,401
1960 45.6% 148,275 51.7% 168,170

United States Congress

Senators Name Party First Elected Level
  Senate Class 1 Kay Bailey Hutchison Republican 1993 Senior Senator
  Senate Class 2 John Cornyn Republican 2002 Junior Senator
Representatives Name Party First Elected Area(s) of Harris County Represented
  District 2 Ted Poe Republican 2004 Kingwood portion of Houston, Spring, northeastern communities (including Baytown, Humble and La Porte)
  District 7 John Culberson Republican 2000 West Houston, Memorial Villages, Bellaire, West University Place, west and northwest areas of county
  District 9 Al Green Democrat 2004 Alief, Southwest Houston, Houston’s Southside
  District 10 Michael McCaul Republican 2004 Northwest
  District 18 Sheila Jackson Lee Democrat 1994 Downtown Houston, Bush IAH, northwest and northeast Houston, inner portions of Houston’s Southside
  District 22 Pete Olson Republican 2008 Clear Lake City, NASA Johnson Space Center, Ellington Field, southern and central Pasadena, Deer Park
  District 29 Gene Green Democrat 1992 East Houston, northern Pasadena, Galena Park, Channelview

List above took effect January 4, 2007.

Texas Legislature

Texas Senate

District Name Party First Elected Area(s) of Harris County Represented
  4 Tommy Williams Republican 2003 Kingwood, far eastern portions of Baytown
  6 Mario Gallegos Democrat 1995 Houston Ship Channel, eastern portions of Houston, Jacinto City, Galena Park, northern Pasadena, western portion of Baytown
  7 Dan Patrick Republican 2007 Memorial Villages, Memorial/Spring Branch area, Addicks Reservoir, northwest portions of county
  11 Mike Jackson Republican 1999 Southeast
  13 Rodney Ellis Democrat 1990 Downtown Houston, Texas Medical Center, southwest and northeast Houston, Houston’s Southside
  15 John Whitmire Democrat 1983 Northwest Houston, Bush IAH, southern portion of Humble, eastern Harris County
  17 Joan Huffman Republican 2008 Meyerland, Bellaire, West University Place, much of Katy area, far west Houston, Barker Reservoir

Texas House of Representatives

District Name Party First Elected Area(s) of Harris County Represented
  126 Patricia Harless Republican 2006 Champions/FM 1960
  127 Joe Crabb Republican 1992 Kingwood, Lake Houston, Crosby, Wallisville
  128 Wayne Smith Republican 2002 Baytown, Deer Park, La Porte
  129 John Davis Republican 1998 Clear Lake City, NASA Johnson Space Center
  130 Corbin Van Arsdale Republican 2002 Northwest
  131 Alma Allen Democratic 2004 Outer portions of Houston’s South Side
  132 Bill Callegari Republican 2000 West
  133 Kristi Thibaut Democratic 2008 West Houston, western portion of Memorial/Spring Branch, part of the Energy Corridor
  134 Ellen Cohen Democratic 2006 Inner western portions of Houston (including Meyerland, River Oaks and Memorial Park), Texas Medical Center, West University Place, Bellaire, Southside Place
  135 Gary Elkins Republican 1994 Jersey Village and southeastern segments of the Champions/FM 1960 area
  136 Beverly Woolley Republican 1994 Memorial Villages
  137 Scott Hochberg Democratic 1992 Southwest Houston
  138 Dwayne Bohac Republican 2002 Northwest Houston and parts of the Memorial/Spring Branch area north of I-10, Addicks Reservoir
  139 Sylvester Turner Democratic 1988 North Houston and Aldine west of I-45
  140 Armando Walle Democratic 2008 North Houston and Aldine east of I-45
  141 Senfronia Thompson Democratic 1972 Northeast Houston, Bush IAH, Greenspoint, southern portion of Humble
  142 Harold Dutton, Jr. Democratic 1984 East Houston, Northshore
  143 Ana Hernandez Democratic 2006 East Houston within Loop 610, Houston Ship Channel, Galena Park, Jacinto City, northern Pasadena
  144 Ken Legler Republican 2008 Southern Pasadena, far southeast Houston
  145 Carol Alvarado Democratic 1998 Inner southeastern portions of Houston (mainly east of I-45), South Houston (not part of the city of Houston)
  146 Al Edwards Democratic 2008 (also served 1979-2007) Inner portions of Houston’s South Side
  147 Garnet Coleman Democratic 1990 Downtown Houston, inner southeastern portions of Houston (mainly west of I-45)
  148 Jessica Farrar Democratic 1994 Northwest Houston mainly within Loop 610 (including Houston Heights)
  149 Hubert Vo Democrat 2004 Far west Houston, Alief, unincorporated portions of Katy area east of Fry Rd, Barker Reservoir
  150 Debbie Riddle Republican 2002 North

Harris County elected officials

Position Official Party Predecessor Party Term Predecessor Party Term Predecessor Party Term
County Judge Ed Emmett Rep
County Commissioner Precinct 1 El Franco Lee Dem
County Commissioner Precinct 2 Sylvia Garcia Dem James W. Fonteno Dem 1974-2002
County Commissioner Precinct 3 Steve Radack Rep
County Commissioner Precinct 4 Jerry Eversole Rep
County Attorney Vince Ryan Dem Mike Stafford Rep 2001-2008 Michael P. Fleming Rep 1997-2001 Mike Driscoll Dem 1981-1996
County Clerk Beverly Kaufman Rep
District Attorney Pat Lykos Rep
District Clerk Loren Jackson Dem
Sheriff Adrian Garcia Dem
Assessor-Collector Leo Vasquez Rep Paul Bettencourt Rep 1998-2009 Carl Smith Dem 1947-1998
County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez Rep
Constable Precinct 1 Jack F. Abercia Dem
Constable Precinct 2 Gary L. Freeman Dem
Constable Precinct 3 Ken Jones Dem
Constable Precinct 4 Ron Hickman Rep
Constable Precinct 5 Phil Camus Rep
Constable Precinct 6 Victor Trevino Dem
Constable Precinct 7 May Walker Dem
Constable Precinct 8 Bill Bailey Rep



Unincorporated areas

Census-designated places

Other areas


Primary and secondary schools

Harris County Department of Education - Ronald W.
Reagan Building
The Harris County Department of Education, a county division overseeing education by local school districts, is headquartered in the Ronald W. Reagan Building in the Northside district in Houston. It has an Adult Education Center in the Northside and an office in the North Post Oak Building in Spring Branch.

Several school districts serve Harris County communities.

Colleges and universities

Several colleges and universities exist in Harris County. Community college systems serving portions of the county include Houston Community College, Lone Star College System, and San Jacinto College.

Public libraries

Harris County operates its own public library system, the Harris County Public Library.

In addition, Houston has the Houston Public Library, a city-controlled public library system.

The cities of Baytownmarker, Bellairemarker, Deer Parkmarker, and Pasadenamarker have their own city-controlled libraries.

Emergency services

Police services

Incorporated areas operate their own police departments.

Harris County operates the Harris County Sheriff's Office, which serves unincorporated areas and supplements police forces of incorporated areas.

Harris County also has a constable for each of its eight precincts and hundreds of deputies assigned to each. They mainly serve in a patrol function, established to maintain peace in the county as well as providing security to county buildings such as court houses and district attorney's offices.

Fire services

Little York Volunteer Fire Department Station 81
Westfield Fire Station 2
Harris County maintains the Harris County Fire Marshall office to assist with fire investigations. The office is headquartered at 2318 Atascocita Road in an unincorporated area. Incorporated cities operate their own fire departments.

Fire departments serving unincorporated areas:
  • Aldine
  • Atascocita VFD
  • Champions VFD
  • Channelview VFD
  • Cloverleaf VFD
  • Community VFD (covers unincorporated southwest Harris County and unincorporated northeast Fort Bend County)
  • Crosby VFD
  • Cypress-Fairbanks VFD
  • Cypress Creek VFD and EMS
  • Easttex FD
  • Forest Bend VFD (Southeast unincorporated Harris County)
  • Huffman VFD
  • Klein VFD
  • Little York VFD
  • Northwest VFD
  • Ponderosa VFD (Harris County ESD #28)
  • Rosehill FD
  • Spring FD
  • Tri-County FD
  • West I-10 FD
  • Westfield

Political organization

The head of a Texas County, as set up in the Texas Constitution, is the County Judge, who sits as the chair of the county's Commissioners' Court. As of 2007, this position in Harris County is held by Judge Ed Emmett. The county is split into 4 geographical divisions called Precincts. Each precinct elects a Commissioner to sit as a representative of their precinct on the commissioners court and also for the oversight of county functions in their area.

Other elected positions in Harris County include a County Attorney, a County Clerk, a District Attorney, a District Clerk, a Sheriff, 8 Constables, a Tax Assessor-Collector, a County Treasurer, and every judge in the county except municipal judges, who are appointed by the officials of their respective cities.

Many of the organs of the Harris County government reside in the Harris County Campus in Downtown Houston.

Hospital services

Within Harris County, hospital services for the indigent and needy are provided by the Harris County Hospital District, a separate governmental entity. Harris County Hospital District operates three hospitals: LBJ General Hospital, Quentin Mease Community Hospital, and Ben Taub General Hospitalmarker, as well as many clinics.

Additionally, numerous private and public hospitals operate in Harris County, including institutions in Texas Medical Centermarker and throughout the county.


Mass transit

Many areas in Harris County are served by Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO), a public transportation agency headquartered in Downtown Houston.

Intercity buses

Greyhound Bus Lines operates various stations throughout Harris County.


Two commercial airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airportmarker and William P.marker Hobby Airportmarker, are located in Houston and in Harris County. The city of Houston operates Ellington Fieldmarker, a general aviation and military airport in Harris County.

General aviation airports for fixed-wing aircraft outside of Houston include:


The 701 Jail
The Harris County jail facilities are in northern Downtown on the north side of the Buffalo Bayou. The 1200 Jail, the 1307 Jail, (originally a TDCJ facility, leased by the county), and the 701 Jail (formed from existing warehouse storage space) are on the same site.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates some correctional facilities in Harris County, including:
  • Kegans Unit, located in Downtown Houston, is a state jail for men. It is in the north of Downtown along the north side of the Buffalo Bayou, next to the county facilities.
  • Pam Lychner Unit, named after Pam Lychner and located in unincorporated northeast Harris County, east of the city of Humblemarker, is a state jail for men.

The South Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility Unit, a parole confinement facility for males operated by Global Expertise in Outsourcing, is in Downtown Houston, west of Minute Maid Parkmarker.


  • Harris County receives more tornado warnings than any other county.
  • Harris County has sent more people to the death chamber than any other county.


Harris County CampusImage:HarrisCountyCivilCourthouseTexas.JPG|Harris County Civil CourthouseImage:HarrisCountyCriminalJusticeCenterTexas.JPG|Harris County Criminal Justice CenterImage:HarrisCountyTXDistrictAttorneyBuilding.JPG|Harris County District Attorney's BuildingImage:HarrisCountyJuryAssemblyTexas.JPG|Harris County Jury Assembly and Public ParkingImage:HarrisCountyJuvenileJusticeCenter.JPG|Harris County Juvenile Justice CenterImage:HarrisCountyTexasAnnex.JPG|Harris County AnnexImage:HarrisCountyTexas1910Courthouse.JPG|1910 Harris County Courthouse

See also


External links

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