With a population of 138,596 in 2014, McAllen was Texas's twenty-first most populous city. With a location in the southern tip of the state, McAllen is just a river's width away from the Mexican border and city of Reynosa.
McAllen's location on the Rio Grande River makes it a natural for an agricultural-based economy, although other industries such as international trade, health care, retail, and tourism have boomed in the last few decades. McAllen residents will find plenty in terms of economic opportunity, in addition to a family-friendly lifestyle with access to natural, outdoor areas, parks, bike paths, and recreational water features.
Seven institutions of higher education reside in the McAllen, Texas area, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Included on the list are cosmetology schools, technology and vocational training centers, and a large four-year institution. Combined, those schools had a student population of 31,515 in 2014.
As a two-year career college, Kaplan College of McAllen offers a wide range of technical and vocational programs aimed at preparing students for the workforce. Student enrollment was 519 in 2014, and students enjoyed a student-to-faculty ratio of 40:1.
With 30,180 students in 2014, South Texas College was McAllen's largest school. Fortunately, students were still able to enjoy relatively small class sizes with a student-to-faculty ratio of 27:1, plus the largest number academic programs to choose from in the area.
As an institution focused primarily on health care, the South Texas Vocational Institute offers programs in dental assisting, medical assisting, massage therapy, skilled trades, and computer accounting. Only 358 students were enrolled in the school in 2014, although they enjoyed a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1.
As a health care focused career training center, the Southwest School of Business and Technical Careers offers programs in general office skills, clinical/medical assistant, pharmacy technician, medical office specialist, and computerized accounting specialist.
The University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences prepares students for careers in esthetics, cosmetology, and manicuring. Student enrollment was 223 in 2014, and students enjoyed a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1.
Vogue College of Cosmetology is another cosmetology school aimed at preparing makeup and hair artists, estheticians, and nail technologists for quick entry into the workforce. Enrollment included 198 students in 2014, and each enjoyed a student-to-faculty ratio of 24:1.
Forbes lists McAllen's key industries as agriculture and petroleum, although it is also known as a hub for international trade and distribution. Through 2013, the median household income was $41,163. Meanwhile, a low median housing value of $108,900 kept housing in McAllen affordable.
According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the population of McAllen was 138,596 in 2014. As of 2013, 27.1 percent of McAllen adults held a Bachelor's degree and 73.6 percent held a high school diploma or better. Because of McAllen's proximity to the Mexican border, 29.2 percent of its population was foreign-born through 2013. Additionally, 80 percent of residents spoke a language other than English at home.
In addition to an exciting and upbeat downtown area, McAllen is known for cultural exhibits and attractions such as the Rio Grande Speedway, the International Museum of Art and Science, the McAllen Botanical Gardens, and Quinta Mazatlan.