The front of the Zapata County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
|Founded||January 22, 1858|
|Named for||Colonel Jose Antonio de Zapata|
|o Total||1,058 sq mi (2,740 km2)|
|o Land||998 sq mi (2,580 km2)|
|o Water||60 sq mi (200 km2) 5.6%%|
|o Density||14/sq mi (5/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
Zapata County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 14,018. Its county seat is Zapata. The county is named for Colonel Jose Antonio de Zapata, a rancher in the area who rebelled against Mexico.
Zapata County comprises the Zapata, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area.
The South Texas Oil Boom included wells drilled in Zapata County in the early 1920s through the work of Laredo industrialist Oliver Winfield Killam, a Missouri native who once served as an Oklahoma state legislator. It is east from the Mexico-United States border.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,182 people, 3,921 households, and 3,164 families residing in the county. Zapata County is estimated to be the eleventh fastest growing county (+15.8%) in the state of Texas since the year 2000 (based on % of population change). The population density was 12 people per square mile (5/km²). There were 6,167 housing units at an average density of 6 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.07% White, 0.41% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 12.64% from other races, and 2.33% from two or more races. 84.78% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,921 households out of which 43.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.20% were married couples living together, 13.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.30% were non-families. 17.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.10 and the average family size was 3.52.
In the county, the population was spread out with 33.00% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 24.10% from 25 to 44, 18.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $24,635, and the median income for a family was $26,722. Males had a median income of $26,294 versus $14,579 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,486. About 29.30% of families and 35.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.10% of those under age 18 and 21.30% of those age 65 or over.
Zapata County in most elections overwhelmingly supports the Democratic Party. However, on three occasions, it gave record-setting margins to Republican Presidential nominees when it delivered the highest percentage of the vote of any county in the nation to them. First in 1896 when it gave 96.3% of the vote to William McKinley, though he lost Texas as a whole (30.8%), but won the national election. The second time in 1908, when it went 99.1% to William Howard Taft, despite losing the state to William Jennings Bryan with just 22.4%. The third and final time was in 1912 when it again gave incumbent President Taft 80.9%, but against the state and nation's preference for Democrat victor Woodrow Wilson (Taft only received 9.5% statewide). It lasted voted Republican for President (Warren Harding) in 1920, and has consistently voted Democrat for the office since 1924.
In the November 4, 2008, general election Barack Obama defeated John McCain, the presidential winner in Texas, by 1,939 votes (67.7 percent) to 918 (32 percent). Incumbent President Obama again won in 2012 over Mitt Romney by 2,527 votes (71.3%) to 997 (28%), but lost the state overall.
All of Zapata County is a part of the Zapata County Independent School District.
There are no incorporated areas in Zapata County and hence no municipal governments.
The western side of the Jesus Trevino Rancho building in the San Ygnacio Historic District; note the structural similarity to Los Corralitos Building
A two-story historic residence in San Ygnacio on U.S. Highway 83 business route
Entrance to Zapata County Cemetery from Farm-to-Market Road 496