Fort Bend County

Fort Bend County Courthouse

Fort Bend County MapAbout Fort Bend County:

Fort Bend County is located in the Houston metropolitan area of southeast Texas. It encompasses a total of 875.0 square miles (562,560 acres). The terrain varies from level to gently rolling with elevations from 46 to 127 feet above sea level, with an average elevation of 85 feet. US 59 traverses the center of the County from northeast to southwest, while US 90A crosses from east to west. State Highways (SH) 6, 36 and 99 provide important north-south routes. Neighboring counties are Austin, Brazoria, Harris, Waller and Wharton.

The growing season is 296 days, with an average annual rainfall of 45.3 inches. The average first freeze date in the fall is December 7, and the average last freeze date is February 14. Temperatures range from a mean minimum in January of 41º to a mean maximum in July of 93º. The Gulf of Mexico is located only 50 miles from Fort Bend County and its close proximity helps to hold the summer and winter temperatures to moderate levels. Extremes in climatic changes are usually short in duration.

Fort Bend County has approximately 11 square miles of surface water in rivers, creeks and small lakes. The County is drained by the Brazos and San Bernard Rivers as well as Oyster Creek. The Brazos River formed a broad alluvial valley, up to ten miles wide in places. The resulting fertile soils have been a major contributing factor to the agricultural industry in the County. The three permanently floatable waterways in Fort Bend County are the Brazos River, the San Bernard River south of Farm to Market Road 442, and Oyster Creek south of State Highway 6. The San Bernard River south of Interstate Highway 10 is a seasonally floatable waterway, shared on the west with adjacent counties. Soils vary from the rich alluvial soils in the Brazos River Valley to sandy loam and clay on the prairies. Native trees include pecan, oak, ash and cottonwood, with some old bottomland forests remaining along waterways.

Fort Bend County holds a prominent place in Texas history. Karankawa Indians once roamed the plains and inhabited the river bottoms. In the early 1820’s, the Anglo-American colonization of Texas under grants from the Spanish government was initiated. The arrival of Stephan F. Austin’s original colony of 300 families at the bend of the Brazos River was delayed until 1822 by the death of Moses Austin and the independence of Mexico. Ninety miles inland from the coast the settlers built a two-room cabin that was known both as Fort Settlement and Fort Bend. Fifty-three of the land grants to the early settlers were in Fort Bend. They found the area suitable for crops and livestock.

In 1837, the Congress of the Republic of Texas incorporated Richmond and eighteen other towns. Later in the same year, the County of Fort Bend was created from portions of Austin, Harris and Brazoria County. Notable citizens of the county included Jane Long, Mirabeau B. Lamar, and Samuel May Williams. During the Texas Revolution, many of the residents fled from Santa Anna’s troops in what became known as the Runaway Scrape. They returned to find their homes plundered and their livestock scattered or dead.

Richmond became a prosperous trade center for the surrounding agricultural region. Cotton and sugar and other products were sent down the Brazos River to the Port of Galveston. The early sugar cane plantations and farms supplied the Imperial Sugar industrial complex and its company town evolved into the current City of Sugar Land. When the railroad from Galveston through Richmond was built in the 1850’s, the county became a ready provider of agricultural products and raw materials to coastal markets and beyond. Cotton became and continues to be a staple of the agricultural economy.

Beginning in the early 1970’s with Houston’s expansion, Fort Bend saw new growth in the form of increased residential development. Greatwood, New Territory and Cinco Ranch followed the master-planned communities of Quail Valley, First Colony and Pecan Grove. More recently Sienna Plantation, River Park East and West, Canyon Gate, Bridlewood and Texana have joined the ranks.  Fort Bend has a long and richly varied history and an exceedingly bright future as it continues to build on the foundations established by the original settlers of Texas.

Major Highways
  • U.S. Highway 59
  • U.S. Highway 90 Alternate
  • State Highway 60
  • State Highway 71
Adjacent counties
  • Austin and Waller Counties (north)
  • Harris County (east)
  • Brazoria County (south)
  • Matagorda County (southwest)
  • Wharton County (west)
Cities
  • Arcola
  • Beasley
  • Fulshear
  • Houston (mostly in Harris County)
  • Katy
  • Meadows Place
  • Missouri City (majority in Fort Bend)
  • Needville
  • Orchard
  • Richmond
  • Rosenberg
  • Simonton
  • Stafford
  • Sugar Land
  • Weston Lakes
Census-designated areas
  • Cinco Ranch
  • Cumings
  • Fifth Street
  • Four Corners
  • Fresno
  • Greatwood
  • Mission Bend
  • New Territory
  • Pecan Grove
  • Sienna Plantation
Other unincorporated areas
  • Booth
  • Crabb
  • Clodine
  • Foster
  • Guy
  • Juliff
  • Long Point
  • Pittsville
  • Powell Point
  • Tavener
Public school districts

Kendleton Independent School District closed in 2010.

Community colleges
University centers
Libraries

Fort Bend County Libraries operates many libraries in the county.

Houston Public Library operates one branch in the county.

Demographics
People QuickFacts Fort Bend County Texas
Population, 2011 estimate    606,953 25,674,681
Population, 2010 (April 1) estimates base    585,377 25,145,561
Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011    3.7% 2.1%
Population, 2010    585,375 25,145,561
Persons under 5 years, percent, 2011     7.3% 7.6%
Persons under 18 years, percent, 2011     29.0% 27.1%
Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2011     7.7% 10.5%
Female persons, percent, 2011     50.8% 50.4%
Living in same house 1 year & over, 2006-2010    87.4% 81.5%
Foreign born persons, percent,  2006-2010    24.5% 16.1%
Language other than English spoken at home, pct age 5+, 2006-2010    37.0% 34.2%
High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+, 2006-2010    88.6% 80.0%
Bachelor’s degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+, 2006-2010    40.4% 25.8%
Veterans, 2006-2010    25,352 1,635,367
Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16+, 2006-2010    30.6 24.8
Housing units, 2010    197,030 9,977,436
Homeownership rate, 2006-2010    80.8% 64.8%
Housing units in multi-unit structures, percent, 2006-2010    10.2% 24.1%
Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2006-2010    $171,500 $123,500
Households, 2006-2010    167,620 8,539,206
Persons per household, 2006-2010    3.2 2.78
Per capita money income in past 12 months (2010 dollars) 2006-2010    $32,016 $24,870
Median household income 2006-2010    $79,845 $49,646
Persons below poverty level, percent, 2006-2010    8.0% 16.8%
Business QuickFacts Fort Bend County Texas
Private nonfarm establishments, 2009     8,932 519,028
Private nonfarm employment, 2009    111,961 8,925,096
Private nonfarm employment, percent change 2000-2009    42.4% 11.2%
Nonemployer establishments, 2009    48,925 1,844,130
Total number of firms, 2007    50,412 2,164,852
Manufacturers shipments, 2007 ($1000)    4,986,616 593,541,502
Merchant wholesaler sales, 2007 ($1000)    6,615,255 424,238,194
Retail sales, 2007 ($1000)    5,306,163 311,334,781
Retail sales per capita, 2007    $10,440 $13,061
Accommodation and food services sales, 2007 ($1000)    583,427 42,054,592
Building permits, 2011     5,598 97,450
Federal spending, 2010    1,338,529 225,724,926
Geography QuickFacts Fort Bend County Texas
Land area in square miles, 2010    861.48 261,231.71
Persons per square mile, 2010    679.5 96.3
FIPS Code    157 48

 

Agriculture in Fort Bend County:

Average size of farms: 266 acres
Average value of agricultural products sold per farm: $31,956
Average value of crops sold per acre for harvested cropland: $279.91
The value of nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod as a percentage of the total market value of agricultural products sold: 21.49%
The value of livestock, poultry, and their products as a percentage of the total market value of agricultural products sold: 26.71%
Average total farm production expenses per farm: $33,753
Harvested cropland as a percentage of land in farms: 31.43%
Irrigated harvested cropland as a percentage of land in farms: 11.41%
Average market value of all machinery and equipment per farm: $45,762
The percentage of farms operated by a family or individual: 90.32%
Average age of principal farm operators: 55 years
Average number of cattle and calves per 100 acres of all land in farms: 13.15
Corn for grain: 12775 harvested acres
Upland cotton: 54654 harvested acres
Soybeans for beans: 1994 harvested acres
Land in orchards: 1,317 acre