2015 DALLAS FED TEXAS COLONIAS STUDY
counties with colonias in texas
SOURCE: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, 2013.
To provide an update on successes and challenges that have occurred in Texas colonias since the 1996 report, the Community Development Department of the Dallas Fed conducted a comprehensive study of colonias in the six Texas counties with the highest concentration of colonias:
- El Paso County
- Maverick County
- Webb County
- Starr County
- Hidalgo County
- Cameron County
Methodology: Quantitative and Qualitative Research*
The study relied on traditional quantitative data but also incorporated qualitative research methods to reveal a more multidimensional picture of colonias and their residents.
Quantitative data was drawn from the 2010 Census, the 2011 American Community Survey, the Texas Attorney General, the Texas Secretary of State, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Qualitative data was gathered by conducting in-depth interviews and focus groups of residents, service providers and community leaders along the 1,250-mile Texas–Mexico border, in the six counties listed above.
*See the 2015 report pdf for an extensive description of the methodology.
The Dallas Fed formed a steering committee to guide fieldwork and connect the research team with key stakeholders for interviews.
Texas Colonia Study Steering Committee Members
The Dallas Fed released its latest report, “Las Colonias in the 21st Century: Progress Along the Texas–Mexico Border” pdf in April 2015.
The report examines successes, challenges and opportunities in these communities in the focus areas of:
It highlights progress made by community organizers, residents, elected officials, nonprofits and government agencies to improve living conditions in Texas colonias, as well as needs that still remain.
Key Demographic Findings
|Demographics in Colonias Differ From Texas and U.S.|
||Colonias sample †
|Hispanic or Latino (%)
|Speak English less than very well (%)
|Foreign born (%)
|Citizenship status (%)
||Citizenship rate under 18
|Citizenship rate 18 and older
|Citizenship rate, all ages
|Educational attainment, population
25 and older (%)
|Less than high school diploma
|High school diploma
|College degree or higher
|Employment status, population 16 and older (%)
|Not In labor force
|Household income ($)
|Poverty status (%)
|Government assistance (%)
||Public assistance or food stamps
† Colonia sample is based on available census data and includes colonia residents from Cameron, El Paso, Hidalgo, Maverick, Starr and Webb counties.
*“Near poverty” is defined as 100 to 150 percent of the poverty line.
SOURCES: Census Bureau, 2010 census unless otherwise noted for population, housing and age data; for all other demographic data, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
The majority of colonia residents are U.S. citizens.
Additional 2015 Resources