Harlingen is located in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Harlingen is 30 miles off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. With a population of more than 65,000, it is the second largest city in Cameron County and the sixth largest city in the Rio Grande Valley. Being the principle city in the Brownsville-Harlingen Metropolitan Area, many people are moving to Harlingen every year. Harlingen offers a variety of accommodation options and has a well-developed infrastructure for residential services. Moving companies in Cameron County have detailed information for those interested in Harlingen.
The healthcare, education and technology sectors are the major employers in the city. Three of the top ten employers are healthcare providers; others are from the telecommunications industry and educational institutions. Harlingen CISD is the largest employer with 2,848 full time workers. The Valley Baptist Centre employs almost 2,000 people and the Advanced Call Centre Technologies employs 1,170. This shows that all three sectors are equally strong and so the city has a stable economy that is not dependant on only one industry. Estimates show the median household income to be $28,611 in 2009. Some of the other cities in Texas do have higher median incomes but there is a compromise on the comfort of the residential neighbourhood and the cost of living. Harlingen offers a suitable balance between income and living cost. This attracts a lot of people into moving here.
The earliest settlement in the area was started when Lon C. Hill purchased a large area for agricultural purposes in 1904. He constructed irrigation canals and marketed the fertile land to farmers in the Midwest. Many farmers bought acreages and started agricultural activity. The town was named Harlingen after Harlingen in Norway. The Norwegian town had a similar irrigation system. In the early days vegetables and cotton were the main produce and primary factors of the economy. During World War II, a number of military facilities were established near Harlingen. This brought in many people and increased the population of the area significantly. The large influx of population initiated commercial and transport activity. In a few years Harlingen was a prominent commercial hub. Agricultural activity, however, remained important even during the late 1980s.
Harlingen is most popularly known because of bird watching. The city is located close to the South Padre Island Beach and also at the junction of the two main flyways. Most of the Great Texas Coastal Trail locations are in Harlingen. This includes the Harlingen Thicket Bird Sanctuary. Many bird watchers come here every year and many others have decided to make the city their home. The Los Ebanos Preserve is also a place worth visiting for nature lovers. The Preserve includes trails, gardens and many species of birds and butterflies. The World Birding Centre also has a large trail area. Perhaps the most famous event of the region is the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, which is held every year.