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Hays County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its official population had reached 157,107.[1] The county seat is San Marcos.[2] The county is named for John Coffee Hays, a Texas Ranger and Mexican–American War officer.

Hays County, Texas
Hays courthouse.jpg
Hays County Courthouse, built in 1908 using the eclectic style of architecture
Map of Texas highlighting Hays County
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1848
Named for John Coffee Hays
Seat San Marcos
Largest city San Marcos
 • Total 680 sq mi (1,761 km2)
 • Land 678 sq mi (1,756 km2)
 • Water 1.9 sq mi (5 km2), 0.3%
 • (2010) 157,107
 • Density 232/sq mi (90/km²)
Congressional districts 21st, 25th, 35th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Hays County Annex Building across from the courthouse in San Marcos
Hays County Veterans Monument in San Marcos

Hays County is part of the Austin-Round Rock, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Hays, along with Comal and Kendall counties, was listed in 2017 of the nation's ten fastest-growing large counties with a population of at least ten thousand. From 2015 to 2016, Hays County, third on the national list, had nearly ten thousand new residents during the year. Comal County, sixth on the list, grew by 5,675 newcomers, or 4.4 percent. Kendall County, the second-fastest-growing county in the nation, grew by 5.16 percent. As a result of this growth, the counties have experienced new home construction, traffic congestion, and greater demand for public services. Bexar County. which includes San Antonio, grew by 1.75 percent during the year, but its sheer number of new residents exceeded 33,000.[3]




According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 680 square miles (1,800 km2), of which 678 square miles (1,760 km2) are land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) (0.3%) are covered by water.[20]

Major highwaysEdit

Adjacent countiesEdit


Census Pop.
1850 387
1860 2,126 449.4%
1870 4,088 92.3%
1880 7,555 84.8%
1890 11,352 50.3%
1900 14,142 24.6%
1910 15,518 9.7%
1920 15,920 2.6%
1930 14,915 −6.3%
1940 15,349 2.9%
1950 17,840 16.2%
1960 19,934 11.7%
1970 27,642 38.7%
1980 40,594 46.9%
1990 65,614 61.6%
2000 97,589 48.7%
2010 157,127 61.0%
Est. 2016 204,470 [21] 30.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[22]
1850–2010[23] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[24] of 2000, 97,589 people, 51,265 households, and 22,150 families resided in the county. The population density was 144 people per square mile (56/km²). The 55,643 housing units averaged 53 per mi2 (20/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 78.92% White, 3.68% Black or African American, 0.69%Native American, 0.79% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 13.36% from other races, and 2.49% from two or more races. About 29.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 33,410 households, 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.10% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.70% were not families; 21.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.21.

A Williams Institute analysis of 2010 census data found there were about 7.4 same-sex couples per 1,000 households in the county.[25]

In the county, the population was distributed as 24.50% under the age of 18, 20.50% from 18 to 24, 28.20% from 25 to 44, 19.10% from 45 to 64, and 7.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,006, and for a family was $56,287. Males had a median income of $35,209 versus $27,334 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,931. About 6.40% of families and 14.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.30% of those under age 18 and 9.70% of those age 65 or over.


School districts in Hays county include the San Marcos Consolidated, Dripping Springs Independent, Wimberley Independent, and Hays Consolidated schools. As of 2009, three high schools, five middle schools, and 11 elementary schools are in the county.

Higher education in Hays County includes one four-year institution, Texas State University, in San Marcos. Three Distance Learning Centers are operated by Austin Community College. These centers offer basic and Early College Start classes, along with testing centers for online classes.


Like the rest of Texas, Hays County was once a strongly Democratic Party leaning county in federal elections, even by Solid South standards. However, like other rural and suburban counties in the state, the county has been leaning towards the Republican Party. The last Democrat to carry Hays County in a presidential election was Bill Clinton with a plurality of 39.8% of the vote in 1992. The last Democrat to win a majority of the vote in the county was Jimmy Carter with 54.4% in 1976. Lloyd Bentsen is the last Democratic senatorial candidate to carry the county, winning 69.2% of the vote in 1988.[26]

The county is no less Republican at the state level. Ann Richards is the most recent Democratic gubernatorial candidate to win the county, having done so in 1990 with 56.6% of the vote.[27]

Democratic strength lies primarily in the city of San Marcos due to the presence of Texas State University. Republican strength lies within the more rural cities of Buda, Kyle, and Wimberley.


Cities (multiple counties)Edit



Census-designated placeEdit

Ghost townEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Zeke MacCormack, "Folks flocking to area counties: Kendall, Comal, and Hays are on the top 10 list", San Antonio Express-News, March 24, 2017, pp. 1, A11.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cecil, Paul F; Greene, Daniel P. "Hays County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Foster, William C (1995). Spanish Expeditions into Texas, 1689-1768. University of Texas Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-292-72489-1. 
  6. ^ Weddle, Robert S (1991). The French Thorn: Rival Explorers in the Spanish Sea, 1682-1762. TAMU Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-89096-480-4. 
  7. ^ Arias, David (2009). The First Catholics of the United States. pp. 180–181. ISBN 978-0-557-07527-0. 
  8. ^ "Coahuila and Tejas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  9. ^ "Juan Martín de Veramendi". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  10. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 153. 
  11. ^ "San Marcos, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  12. ^ Winfrey, Dorman. "Camp Ben Mcculloch". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  13. ^ "San Marcos Campus". Texas State University. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  14. ^ "Wonder World Park". Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "Hays County Courthouse". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  16. ^ "Aquarena Springs". Texas State University. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  17. ^ Pietrusza, David (2008). 1960--LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign That Forged Three Presidencies. Union Square Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-4027-6114-0. 
  18. ^ a b Ratisseau, Shirley. "Gary Air Force Base". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  19. ^ "Gary Job Corps Center". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  20. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  22. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  24. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  25. ^ Where Same-Sex Couples Live, June 26, 2015, retrieved July 6, 2015 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "City of Austin Full Purpose Jurisdiction" (PDF). City of Austin. 2006-03-09. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 

Further readingEdit

  • DeCook, K.J. (1963). Geology and ground-water resources of Hays County, Texas [U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1612]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

External linksEdit