Brownsville is the sixteenth most populous city in the state of Texas with a population of 178,430. 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 2012 U.S. Census Bureau estimate places the Brownsville-Harlingen metropolitan area population at 415,557 allotting it the eighth most populous metropolitan area in the state of Texas. In addition, the MatamorosâBrownsville Metropolitan Area counts with a population of 1,136,995, allotting it the fourth-largest metropolitan area along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The area in Brownsville is one of the fastest growing urban areas in the United States. The city's population dramatically increased after it experienced a boom in the steel industry during the 1900s (decade), where it produced three times its annual capacity. 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.