Brownsville is the sixteenth most populous city in the state of Texas with a population of 181,860. It is located on the southernmost tip of Texas, United States on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, directly north and across the border from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimate places the Brownsville-Harlingen metropolitan area population at 417,276 allotting it the eighth most populous metropolitan area in the state of Texas. In addition, the Matamoros–Brownsville Metropolitan Area counts with a population of 1,136,995, allotting it the fourth-largest metropolitan area along the U.S.-Mexico border. Brownsville has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation.
The Brownsville urban area is one of the fastest growing in the United States. The city's population dramatically increased after it experienced a boom in the steel industry during the first decade of the 1900s, when steel output tripled. Nowadays, the Port of Brownsville is a major economic hub for South Texas, where shipments from Mexico, other parts of the United States and the world arrive. Brownsville's economy is mainly based on its international trade with Mexico through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and is home to one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors in the nation. In addition, Brownsville's climate has often been recognized among the best pro-business climates in the United States, and the city has also been ranked among the least expensive places to live in the U.S.
Brownsville served as a site for several battles and events in the Texas Revolution, the Mexican American War, and the American Civil War. And right across the U.S-Mexico border lies Matamoros, Tamaulipas, a city with a population of 500,000 people and a major site of the Mexican War of Independence, the Mexican Revolution, and the French Intervention.