Border Region

Border Map

The Commission, in cooperation with the Department of Geography Spatial Applications Research Center (SpARC) of the New Mexico State University, has produced a high resolution border map utilizing GIS mapping tools. To download this map. To view instructions on how to utilize map features.

The U.S. – México Border Region

The United States-México border region is defined as the area of land being 100 kilometers (62.5 miles) north and south of the international boundary (La Paz Agreement).  It stretches approximately 2000 miles from the southern tip of Texas to California.  The population for this expanse of land is estimated to be approximately 12 million inhabitants.  This population is expected to double by the year 2025.  The combined population of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California is 61,637,146 (2000 Census).  The estimated combined population of the six Mexican border states in 1990 was 12,246,991.  Two of the ten fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States – Laredo and McAllen – are located on the Texas-México border.   Additionally, there are 154 Native American tribes totaling 881,070 Native Americans living in the 4 U.S. border states.  In the actual border region, there are approximately 25 Native American Nations.

This is a dynamic region that is medically underserved with a population that has pressing health and social conditions, higher uninsured rates, high rates of migration, inequitable health conditions and a high rate of poverty.  The border area comprises:

  • Two sovereign nations
  • Four states in the United States and six states in México
  • A total of 44 counties in the U.S. and 80 municipalities in México
  • 15 pairs of sister cities

The U.S. Hispanic population is now the nation’s largest minority group.  In 2002, Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to reside in the West and the South.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2000), statistics indicate that in the U.S. border counties, 25%-30% of the population is uninsured; inhabitants have less private health insurance, 40% vs. 60% for the state average; and the average yearly income is $14,560.

In general, educational attainment is lower along the border when compared to the rest of the United States.  With the exception of San Diego, 25 year olds in the border counties average two to three less years of school than in the United States as a whole.

In the border region:

  • Three of the ten poorest counties in the United States are located in the border area
  • Twenty-one of the counties on the border have been designated as economically distressed areas
  • Due to rapid industrialization, the communities on the Mexican side of the border have less access to basic water and sanitation services than the rest of the nation>

México is the United States second-largest trading partner, with U.S. $261.7 billion in two-way trade in 2000 (about U.S. $700 million/day).  U.S. exports to México in 2000 were over U.S. $110 billion and U.S. imports from México were over U.S. $135 billion.  Exports to México more than quadrupled between 1986 and 1994, going from U.S. $12.3 billion to over U.S.  $50 billion and then doubled again by 2000.

Although, there have been significant economic changes due to international trade agreements with México, there continues to be major problems associated with the general poverty of the border area.  Without increases and sustained federal, state and local governmental and private funding for health programs, infrastructure and education the border populations will continue to lag behind the rest of the United States in these areas.