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La Joya is a city in western Hidalgo County, Texas, United States, along U.S. Route 83 between Mission and Rio Grande City. The population was 3,985 at the 2010 census,[5] and in 2016 the estimated population was 4,293.[6] La Joya is part of the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission and Reynosa–McAllen metropolitan areas.

La Joya, Texas
The Jewel of the Rio Grande Valley[1]
Location of La Joya, Texas
Location of La Joya, Texas
Hidalgo County LaJoya.svg
Coordinates: 26°14′31″N 98°28′48″W / 26.24194°N 98.48000°W / 26.24194; -98.48000Coordinates: 26°14′31″N 98°28′48″W / 26.24194°N 98.48000°W / 26.24194; -98.48000
Country United States of America
State Texas
County Hidalgo
 • Total4.4 sq mi (11.4 km2)
 • Land4.2 sq mi (10.9 km2)
 • Water0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
174 ft (53 m)
 • Total3,985
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,021/sq mi (394.2/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)956
FIPS code48-40384[3]
GNIS feature ID1339334[4]


Its name, meaning "the jewel", was inspired by a small natural lake west of the city; early settlers were said to observe that the lake shined in the sun like a jewel.[7] The site on which La Joya was founded was part of what was known as "Los Ejidos de Reynosa Viejo". The ejidos were the shared grazing lands used for the livestock of the settlers of Reynosa Viejo ("Old Reynosa"). During the early 1800s, at the site of what is now La Joya, Francisco de la Garza, a descendant of the early colonizers of the area who soon decided to change his last name from de la Garza to Garza, founded a community, called "Tabasco", adjacent to the northern bank of the Rio Grande. It was a prosperous community that died out after floods in 1908 and 1909. The settlers moved their belongings just north to higher and less flood-prone ground, present-day La Joya.[7]


La Joya is located in southwestern Hidalgo County at 26°14′31″N 98°28′48″W / 26.24194°N 98.48000°W / 26.24194; -98.48000 (26.241996, -98.480138).[8] It is bordered to the east by the city of Penitas and to the west by unincorporated Havana. U.S. Route 83 passes through the center of La Joya, leading east 16 miles (26 km) to the center of McAllen and northwest 24 miles (39 km) to Rio Grande City.

According to the United States Census Bureau, La Joya has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.4 km2), of which 4.2 square miles (10.9 km2) are land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2), or 4.05%, are water.[5] Walker Lake is in the southeast part of the city limits.

Walker Lake Reservoir


Census Pop.
Est. 20164,293[6]7.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 3,303 people, 860 households, and 766 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,187.6 people per square mile (458.7/km²). There were 969 housing units at an average density of 348.4 per square mile (134.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 63.94% White, 0.18% African American, 0.51% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 33.18% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 97.18% of the population (Latinos and Hispanics are not an official race).

There were 860 households out of which 51.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.0% were married couples living together, 18.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 10.9% were non-families. 9.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.84 and the average family size was 4.10.

In the city, the population was spread out with 34.9% under the age of 18, 12.2% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 17.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,820, and the median income for a family was $23,156. Males had a median income of $18,494 versus $14,597 for females. The per capita income for the city was $7,923. About 38.9% of families and 40.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 50.6% of those under age 18 and 31.2% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructureEdit

The United States Postal Service operates the La Joya Post Office.[10]


La Joya is served by the La Joya Independent School District.[11][12] The zoned schools for residents of La Joya city are Tabasco Elementary School,[13] Lorenzo de Zavala Middle School,[14] and La Joya High School.[15]

In addition, residents are allowed to apply to magnet schools operated by the South Texas Independent School District.

La Joya Public Library is located in the city.[16]

Notable peopleEdit


Mrs. James Watson, The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and Its Builders (Mission, Texas, 1931)

  1. ^ "City of La Joya Texas". City of La Joya. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): La Joya city, Texas". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Chapa, Jr., Amancio J. (15 June 2010). "LA JOYA, TX". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "Post Office Location - LA JOYA Archived 2010-05-19 at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 9, 2010.
  11. ^ "2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: La Joya city, TX." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 17, 2018.
  12. ^ "SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP (2010 CENSUS): Hidalgo County, TX." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "Elementary School Zones 2017-2018 Archived 2018-09-16 at the Wayback Machine." La Joya Independent School District. Retrieved on September 16, 2018.
  14. ^ "Middle School Zones 2017-2018 Archived 2018-09-16 at the Wayback Machine." La Joya Independent School District. Retrieved on September 16, 2018.
  15. ^ "High School Zones 2017-2018 Archived 2018-09-16 at the Wayback Machine." La Joya Independent School District. Retrieved on September 16, 2018.
  16. ^ Home Archived 2010-08-17 at the Wayback Machine. La Joya Public Library. Retrieved on May 9, 2010.

External linksEdit