What Bert Has To Say About McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metro Area
The McAllen area is dominated by local agriculture, border-zone factories, and commerce related to the port of entry at Reynosa into Mexico. Like other border towns, the area has a dominant Hispanic heritage, high growth rate, and a low cost of living. McAllen is in the center of a broad, flat agricultural area known locally as “The Valley” dotted with vegetable and citrus growing interspersed with small towns and expanding suburbs. The more middle-class Edinburg, 5 miles north, is home to the University of Texas Pan American campus, the largest higher education facility in south Texas. Mission is an agricultural center west. McAllen, which has a reputation for being quieter than the border towns of Brownsville and Laredo, has a nice downtown area and is nicknamed “City of Palms.”
The area serves many needs, including shopping of wealthy Mexican residents from northern Mexico as far south as Monterrey, giving a strong retail presence for the type of area. There are many new businesses run by Mexicans. The area does pick up a tourist trade, particularly with winter migrants heading south. But while the manufacturing and agricultural economy are healthy, there are more workers than there are jobs, giving high unemployment and poor residential areas around the city. Cultural and recreational amenities are minor and locally focused.
The flat Rio Grande Valley gives way to low hills and desert sage and chaparral vegetation to the northwest. The climate is subtropical, influenced by the Gulf of Mexico to the east and the Chihuahuan Desert and mountains to the west. Summers are hot with periods of rain and stronger storms- most days are over 90 degrees. Although not quite as humid year-round as Texas cities to the east, summers are humid and uncomfortable. Winters are mild, with maybe one or two below-freezing spells, and the very occasional dusting of snow, usually in January.