Local Government

Texas has 254 counties, a number which has not changed since 1931 when Loving County was organized. Loving County had a population of 82 according to the 2010 U.S. census, compared with 164 in 1970 and a peak of 285 in 1940. It is the least-populous county in Texas. In contrast, Harris County has the most residents, with a 2010 population of 4,092,459.

Loving County Courthouse  

Loving County Courthouse. Photo by Robert Plocheck.


Counties range in area from Rockwall's 148.7 square miles to the 6,192.3 square miles in Brewster, which is equal to the combined area of the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The Texas Constitution makes a county a legal subdivision of the state. Each county has a commissioners court. It consists of four commissioners, each elected from a commissioner's precinct, and a county judge elected from the entire county. In smaller counties, the county judge retains judicial responsibilities in probate and insanity cases.

There are 1,218 incorporated Texas municipalities ranging in size from 17 residents in Los Ybanez to Houston's 2,338,187, according to the 2019 population estimates of the Texas Demographic Center. More than 80 percent of the state's population lives in counties meeting the U.S. Census Bureau definition of metropolitan areas.

Texas had 419 cities with more than 5,000 population, according to the state data center. Under law, these cities may adopt their own charters (called home rule) by a majority vote. Cities of less than 5,000 may be chartered only under the general law.

• Local Option Alcohol: Map by Counties

  Sam Houston portrait

Sam Houston.


Lists of Historical Government Officials

Governors and presidents

Lt. Governors

Attys. General


State Government

Texas state government is divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches under the Texas Constitution adopted in 1876.

The chief executive is the governor, whose term is for four years. Other elected state officials with executive responsibilities include the lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller of public accounts, commissioner of the General Land Office and commissioner of agriculture. The terms of those officials are also four years.

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Federal Government

Besides the two members of the U.S. Senate allocated to each state, Texas was allocated 36 members in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 115th Congress. The term of office for members of the House is two years; the tems of all members expire on January 3 of odd-numbered years. Senators serve six-year terms. Sen. John Cornyn's term will end in 2021. Sen. Ted Cruz's term will end in 2025. 

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Feature Article: The Money Factory in Fort Worth

There is $7 billion under a big pyramid near Blue Mound, Texas.

Digging to it will not work though, because the cash is stashed in a large vault with walls so thick that when they were built in 1990 there was no concrete to be had in all of Dallas-Fort Worth for the following three days, or so the story goes.

The bills, mostly $20s, $10s, $5s and $1s, are at the only money factory outside Washington, D.C.

The glass pyramid, a motif taken from the greenback, is atop the entrance to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Western Currency Facility. The gray and white building on the prairie in northwest Fort Worth feels and looks as crisp as a new dollar bill and it smells like money.

Ten printing presses produce around three million notes a year, which is one-third the volume of the D.C. plant. Plans are for this second U.S. plant to do about one-half the volume of the main D.C. plant. . . 


• Federal Courts in Texas

• Major U.S. Military Installations in Texas


Federal Funds to Counties

Click for complete list of counties.


 IRS collections in Texas

 Click to enlarge.