Residents are #1 in the City of Elsa. City officials and staff work hard everyday to increase opportunities for youth and adults access to parks, recreational opportunities, and healthy and safe lifestyles and COMMUNITY EVENTS!


Vital Statistics

    Total Population (2014)
  • Male population
  • Female population
  • Median age (years)
  • White Population
  • Black Population
  • Indian Population
  • Asian Population
  • Hawaiian Population
  • Hispanic Population
  • Median age (Male)
  • Median age (Female)
    Total households
  • Family households (families)
  • Average household size
  • Average family size
  • Total housing units
    Percent high school graduate or higher
  • Number of Companies
  • Median Household Income

City History

The Delta as the heart of the Rio Grande Valley connects the history, culture, language, economies, and shared societies of families whose lives and affinities, for centuries, straddle two nations.

As far back as the Sixteenth century, the area of the Rio Grande Valley has been explored by Spanish Conquistadors, most notably by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. Cabeza de Vaca is officially recognized as the first European to have visited the Rio Grande Valley in the 1530s. As the Spanish began the conversion of indigenous populations to Catholicism, indigenous people, living from the land, one could say the original agricultural base, were force to settle. In the 1700s, Spain began to grant the land to Spanish nobles. The land now encompassing the Rio Grande Valley was issued to Juan Jose Ynojosa de Balli. After his death the land was divided among his children.  

Once A part of Mexico and lost during the 1836 Texas Revolution and the Rio Grande Valley region ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. It was in this region that the initial military clashes between Americans and Mexicans led to the Mexican War and it was here that the last battle of the American Civil War took place (The Battle of Palmito Ranch). These crucial historical events occurred in what is known as the Rio Grande Valley. As we examine the demographics of today, see the disparity and poverty, and discuss solutions to centuries of injustice, we can better understand that the elements of human suffering are still very evident on both sides of the Rio Grande Valley, specifically the Delta area as the geographical center of the region. 

The history of the Delta dates from the sale of lots on a plot of forty acres located almost in the geographical center of the rich Rio Grande Valley. The Delta Area became a busy agricultural center in the Rio Grande Valley during the 1920s when the Southern Pacific Railroad laid train tracks through here. The area was coined the “Magic Valley” in an attempt to draw people to the area. Families migrated to the area to develop the land. According to the Texas Historical Society, the Delta Area claimed a 0% unemployment rate while the rest of the country was suffering through the 1930s Depression, due in large part to a vibrant agricultural industry. During this boom, many Mexican families came to the area looking for work in the large factories, manufacturing plants and subsequent agricultural and place based businesses within the area.

The agricultural boom of the early 20th century was built by “outsiders” on the backs of Mexican labor. This practice was profitable for very few families, while it simultaneously and systematically neglected the overall developmental needs of the workers and their children. These laborers suffered from years of geographic and social isolation (Jim Crow regulations), economic stagnation and educational neglect. The communities of the Delta Area struggled with these tensions for decades, and the issue surfaced into the mainstream consciousness with the 1968 walkout of Edcouch-Elsa High School students protesting what they saw as a racially oppressive school environment. Gaining national media attention, the Edcouch-Elsa High School walkout is documented as being the beginning of a movement to recognize the injustices in education created by the culture of local leadership at that time. 

Over time, however, a number of factors led to a decline in the local agricultural industry including the freezes of 1949 and 1951, the development of mechanized labor, and the development of roadways that ultimately replaced railroads as the primary means to transport crops. The hardships from the displacement of the agricultural industry remain today. The rural cities of the Delta, located 15 miles north of the Mexican border, are home to a community that is 95% Hispanic, with almost 50% of school-age children participating in the migrant stream. The Edcouch-Elsa school district is recognized as the third poorest in Texas and has a significantly higher economically disadvantaged population (85.1%) compared to the state average of 45.1%. 

There are strong historical origins to how the Delta’s predominately Mexican-American population defines itself in relation to the rest of Texas, the United States and Mexico. The Delta’s region is grounded in ever shifting geographic boundaries, warfare, colonization, and the continuing search for an identity of a people who appear to be in continuous transition on the border. This region’s identity is impacted by its geographic location and by a burgeoning demography and in many instances political and economic policies and events that begin in the capitals of Mexico City’s Federal District and Washington, D.C. Although the region has suffered, the Delta community is resistant and has been able to retain a rich culture of agriculture and indigenous values and pride. According to Chad Richardson a former historian at the University of UTRGV states, “international borders often create unusual situations. Few situations are more unusual that the one on the southern end of the Texas-Mexico border. This region, a frequently disputed territory in the past has emerged as neither fully American nor fully Mexican.” The Delta as the heart of the Rio Grande Valley connects the history, culture, language, economies, and shared societies of families whose lives and affinities, for centuries, straddle two nations. 

Please see for more information, historical documentation and photography of the Delta region in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.