How Big is Texas, Really?

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Texas is a really big state. No one will argue with that. It’s probably the first state anyone can identify while looking at the map of the United States – it’s so big that it’s hard to miss.

Factually speaking, Texas is the second-largest state in the United States (the first one is Alaska) with an area of 268,597 square miles or 171,902,080 acres. This state is 60% larger than California, the third largest state.

Why is Texas a lot bigger than most states? Back then, New Union states were created by subdividing territories. At the time it joined the Union, Texas was already a large independent state and wasn’t divided up. At one point, Texas even covered some parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas. 

There’s a whole lot of Texas sitting between Orange and El Paso, and anyone who has taken a long trip through the Lone Star State could tell you. To give you an idea as to how big Texas is, check out these fascinating facts:

  • Fifteen of the smallest states in the United States can fit within Texas, such as Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Maine, Vermont, Maryland, West Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Hawaii, Delaware, and Rhode Island. 
  • Every state, except Alaska, can fit in the size of Texas. California can fit into Texas about 1.6 times. Rhode Island – the smallest state – can fit into the Lone Star State about 221 times.
  • The entire world population of about 7.8 billion can fit in the entire state of Texas, assuming that it has the same population density of New York City of 27,000 per square mile. 
  • The drive from the north to south of Texas is 805 miles, which would take 13 hours. You would start in Texhoma, a town that sits on the border of Oklahoma and Texas, then all the way down to Brownsville, the southernmost city located at the tip of the state. 
  • From east to west, the drive across Texas is about 773 miles, and it takes around 11 hours and 15 minutes to drive, plus an additional hour or two for stops. Starting from El Paso, you would drive east on I-10 to I-20, which is about 160 miles. Then, you would take I-20 through Odessa to Waskom, one of the farthest east cities before the Texas-Louisiana border. 
  • If Texas was a country of its own, it would be the 40th largest out of the 193 countries in the world. Texas is even bigger than any European country. 
  • Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Macedonia, and Hungary would all fit inside Texas. That’s 10 European countries fitting inside the Lone Star State. 
  • England is less than one-fifth the size of Texas in land area. The country’s capital and most populous city, London, is smaller than the land area of Houston.
  • France is about the same size of Texas, but the state is still larger. You can comfortably stuff Switzerland inside it like an accessory. Paris has a land area of 40.7 miles, which is about the same size as Galveston. 
  • Iraq can fit inside Texas about 1.5 times. 
  • A large part of Vietnam fits snugly along the stretch from Texarkana to Corpus Christi. 
  • Austin, Texas is closer to New Orleans than it is to El Paso. San Diego, California, is closer to El Paso than Houston is.
  • The Dallas-Fort Worth area is closer to the state boundaries of Hawaii than London.
  • The distance between New York and Washington, D.C. is about 228 miles, or equivalent to a four-hour drive. Meanwhile, the distance from Dallas to Houston is about 230 miles, or a little over four hours of driving. 
  • Houston to New York City is roughly about a 1,416-mile drive. It’s like driving from Houston to El Paso and back.
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