In February, 1993, headlines throughout the state of Texas announced that Starr County ranked among the poorest counties in the U.S. Of the nation’s 3,141 counties and independent cities, Starr ranked second among the poorest The other counties comprising the LRGV failed to do much better. Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy ranked 39th, 41st, and 28th - all in the top 2% of the poorest regions in the country and among the 10 poorest counties in Texas. Nearly 42% of the entire population of the LRGV was officially classified as below the poverty line by the 1990 census (see Table 2.1).