if we compare East Texas to other regions, such as North Texas, it is quite different. For instance, you can clearly see many differences in culture, geography, and ecology there. According to the Handbook of Texas, East Texas is separated from the rest of the state by a border that extends from the Red River in Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone County.
East Texas is located east of I-45 and west of the Louisiana border. On the southern edge of this region, you will see the Gulf of Mexico, while on its northern border, there is Oklahoma. Housing more than 1.9 million people (as of 2019), East Texas comprises 38 counties. Most of it consists of the Piney Woods ecoregion.
To define the region more vividly, we can divide it into the following:
- Deep East Texas
This part of East Texas is home to 12 counties and stretches from Nacogdoches County south down to Tyler County, while it extends from Trinity County eastward to Newton County, on the border of Louisiana.
The famous cities in this part of the region include Nacogdoches, Groveton, Crockett, Lufkin, Livingston, and Woodville. East Texas’ total area is about 9,906 square miles and is home to more than 370,000 residents.
- Upper East Texas
Upper East Texas comprises 23 counties, and it stretches from the piney woods to Louisiana and Arkansas to the edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The total population of this area is about 1,138,000 people.
- South East Texas
This part consists of 3 counties (Hardin, Orange, and Jefferson Counties) and comprises cities, including Port Arthur, Beaumont, Orange, and Lumberton. About 389,000 residents are living in South East Texas that come from all walks of life.
Population and Demographics
East Texas consists of 41 countries, out of which 38 collaborate in the East Texas Council of Governments, the Ark-Tex Council of Governments, the Deep East Texas Council of Governments, and the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission.
According to the 2010 consensus, the five most popular counties of East Texas are:
- Jefferson County (252,273)
- Smith County (209,714)
- Gregg County (121,730)
- Bowie County (92,565)
- Angelina County (86,771)
According to the same consensus, East Texas had 65.93% White non-Hispanic, 14.29% Hispanic or Latino origin, 17.44% African American, and 2.34% other (including Native American and Asian). Jefferson County is considered the most diverse county of East Texas in terms of ethnicity and race. Also, it is the largest one. It includes the city of Beaumont with 34.1% African American, 4.1% White non-Hispanic, 17.7% Hispanic or Latino origin, and 4.1% other (including Native American and Asian).
Geography and Climate
Climate is the unique factor of East Texas. It has a humid subtropical climate and occasionally sees intrusions of cold air from the North. Moreover, this part of Texas receives more rainfall annually, about 35 to 60 inches, than the rest of the state. The average temperature in Houston in January remains about 50.4°F.
The major rivers in this East Texas include the Sabine, Angelina, Trinity, and Sulphur rivers.
Culture of East Texas
The predominant culture in East Texas comes from traditions and customs passed down from European-American and African-American southerners. They came to this part of the state during the mid and late 19th century. African Americans were brought to this area as slaves, but they had a major influence on the people already living there. According to most linguists, East Texans usually pronounce Southern English with a drawl similar to that of Lower South.
However, East Texas lacks the influence of the late 19th and early 20th century immigrants who came from Germany and Central Europe. In the same way, the immigrants coming from India, Latin America, and other Asian countries since the 20th century have shown quite less influence in East Texas.
East Texas is home to the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, situated in Carthage. East Texans love different kinds of music; for instance, their love for music is influenced by bluegrass, rock, blues, country, gospel, soul, R&B, and Cajun knows no bounds.
Texas Blues also originated in East Texas. Moreover, many legends are born in this part of the state, including T-Bone Walker and Lightnin’ Hopkins.
Sports and Outdoors
Like other parts of the state, high school football is considered East Texas’ most popular sports. Both the residents of towns and rural communities of East Texas heavily crowd the stadiums to support their favorite teams. In addition, many high schools located in East Texas have won several Texas state championships and have produced quite many quality players for the country.
Moreover, a significant number of players participate in soccer, softball, and Little League Baseball. Also, church leagues provide several opportunities for softball and basketball to both youth and adults of East Texas. In recent years, East Texas has seen a growing number of cowboy churches that offer rodeo events for their youth to have fun.
The Lifestyle of People Living in East Texas
The counties of East Texas consists of several small towns and cities. From big cities, such as Tyler and Beaumont, to small ones, including Rusk, Jasper, Paris, Canton, and Crockett, East Texas is no short of recreational opportunities. And not to mention the amazing lifestyle of people of every class.
There are many lakes in East Texas, and 30 of them provide skiing, fishing, boating, and several other recreational opportunities for both visitors and residents. The popular destinations that you must visit in this part of Texas include Lake Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend Reservoir, Lake Fork, Lake Palestine, Lake Livingston, and the list never stops.
Consisting of the best golf courses, a number of cultural attractions, joyful festivals, several state parks, walking trails, and big shopping malls to art museums, East Texas has everything. Whether you want to move here or just want to visit, you will find East Texas’s environment just perfect.