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McAllen, Texas - Border Towns With Low Cost of Living

Updated on October 17, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is an award-winning Employment & Training pro with regional records and tens of thousands placed into gainful employment.

The Warrior, McAllen area.
The Warrior, McAllen area. | Source

The Nature of the McAllen Borderplex

Borderplex, or McAllen Borderplex, is a kind of Tex-Mex metropolitan area that includes cities on both sides of the Rio Grande on the US southern border at Texas. It contains communities in both the USA and Mexico. The residents of Reynosa in Mexico and its surrounding smaller towns travel regularly into McAllen, Texas to purchase goods and services, boosting the Texas economy..

A metroplex census and labor-statistics area in America is an area comprised of more than one large city. The McAllen Borderplex represents two large cities, but Hidalgo TX is also a part of this larger entity.

Other American cities are parts of other Borderplexes in American. This includes Laredo, Texas and certain cities in New Mexico.

Today, McAllen enjoys explosive growth and the near-constant addition of new and beautiful buildings in our city.

— website

McAllen, Texas Scenes

Click thumbnail to view full-size
An Inca Dove. McAllen is part of the World Bird Center of nine locations.
An Inca Dove. McAllen is part of the World Bird Center of nine locations.
An Inca Dove. McAllen is part of the World Bird Center of nine locations. | Source

Borderplex and the Reynosa - Hidalgo - McAllen Area

show route and directions
A markerMcAllen TX -
McAllen, TX, USA
get directions

Travel is only about 13 miles from McAllen to Reynosa.

B markerHidalgo TX -
Hidalgo, TX, USA
get directions

C markerReynosa MX -
Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico
get directions

The McAllen Borerplex Is Economically Active

Some job seekers may not be aware of the existence of Borderplex, given the recent years of border wall-building and the focus on illegal immigration, but this border metroplex is still defined, active, and even thriving.

The Retail Industry especially seems to be booming on both sides of the river, but more so in McAllen; with an abundance of Sales and Finance jobs available in the Mexican portion of the metro area. Higher paid jobs are available in McAllen TX, especially in Trucking/Transportation, Healthcare, Insurance, and Sales.

Interestingly, as of mid-January 2012, over three times as many jobs were open in the Reynosa portion of Borderplex as in the McAllen portion. While not common practice, some US workers are traveling to the Reynosa Area for work, but a working knowledge of Spanish is almost mandatory.

Immigration websites that explain moving from the USA to Mexico have indicated that visas and Mexican Passports are a matter of paperwork, fees, and waiting; and require no citizenship tests. However, these sites instruct users to contact employers in Mexico for jobs before attempting to move into the country. Also check on up-to-date crime rate information.

McAllen rates at Number 4 Cheapest Place to Live in America and is the first city named as an Inland Foreign Trade Zone in the US. The work put into McAllen to build foreign trade has resulted in citizens of Reynosa traveling regularly into McAllen.

Two Texas Borderplexes

show route and directions
A markerLaredo TX -
Laredo, TX, USA
get directions

B markerNuevo Laredo -
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico
get directions

C markerMcAllen TX -
McAllen, TX, USA
get directions

D markerReynosa -
Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico
get directions

Simon Sez concert bar in McAllen
Simon Sez concert bar in McAllen | Source

McAllen Foreign Trade Zone

The McAllen Foreign Trade Zone website defines this zone in this way:

A Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) is an isolated, policed, and enclosed area that is in or adjacent to a port of entry and is considered outside customs territory of the United States.--

The site goes on to explain what can be done in such a zone:

Merchandise admitted into a foreign trade zone may be assembled, manufactured, manipulated, sorted, repaired, cleaned, inspected, distributed, repacked, and destroyed.

As the first US inland foreign trade zone not involving a sea port, McAllen feels that the free enterprise in which they have been involved since 1973 is unmatched anywhere else globally. A total of at least 410 companies from 42 nations have settled in McAllen as of January 2012. The McAllen FTZ is looking to expand to fill more of its offices and warehouse spaces and the zone provides incentives on taxes, duties, and tariffs.

Across the border, McAllen FTZ opened FTZ Logistics S. de R.L. de C.V. in Reynosa successfully in 2008.

World War II Memorial in McAllen
World War II Memorial in McAllen | Source

McAllen - City and Foreign Trade Zone

McAllen is a fairly large city, with over 133,000 residents in 2011, according to federal and local statistics and Sperling's Best Places. Average home values increased over half a percent in that year, but median home cost is only $103,000, compared to much higher costs elsewhere. Unemployment is less than the national average as well and job growth in 2011 was almost 2.0%, continuing into 2012.

The Cost of Living Index in McAllen is 81 overall, according to the latest figures, although utilities stand at a 96, compared to the nation.

McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge to Reynosa

A markerMcAllen Hidalgo International Bridge -
International Blvd, Hidalgo, TX 78503, USA
get directions

McAllen‐Hidalgo Bridge

A markerMcAllen‐Hidalgo Bridge -
Bridge St, Hidalgo, TX 78557, USA
get directions

Job Listings For McAllen, Texas

Top Hiring McAllen Employers

  1. Universal Health Services
  2. CRST Trucking
  3. CR England Trucking
  4. HCA HEalthcare
  5. Schneider National - Trucking
  6. Rio Grande Regional Hospital
  7. Pizza Hut
  8. Home Depot, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, JC Penney, PetSmart, Burlington
  9. Platinum Supplemental Insurance
  10. United Planning Group
  11. McDonald's, Taco Bell
  12. South Texas College
  13. Countrywide Therapy

Highest Demand Jobs, McAllen

  1. CRST company Truck Drivers with CDL
  2. Retail Managers
  3. Sales Representatives
  4. Event Specialists
  5. Pizza Hut Employees - All levels, managers, crew, drivers.
  6. Insurance Agents - Insurance and Financial Products
  7. Retail Salespeople
  8. DISH Network jobs, various
  9. RN Licensed Nurses/Travel Nurses
  10. Physician Assistants, Including Nurse Practitioners

  • Impulsora Rio Grande, S.A. de C.V.

  • Antonio Rodriguez #613-A
    Reynosa, Tamaulipas C.P. 88620 Mexico
  • Phone: +52 924 5823
  • Cerro de La Brenma 1234
    Las Fuentes Coloniales, Reynosa Mexico
  • Phone +01 899 995 5302
  • Mexican-America University of the North - Reynosa, McAllen TX, other.

  • Guerrero Esq. Plutarco Elías Calles No. 1317 Colonia del Prado
    Reynosa 88560 Tamaulipas Mexico
  • Phone +52 899 922 2002

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Youth performing at the Reynosa Cultural Center and ParkThe cultural center.Sculpture/carving of Indigenous pyramid in the park.
Youth performing at the Reynosa Cultural Center and Park
Youth performing at the Reynosa Cultural Center and Park | Source
The cultural center.
The cultural center. | Source
Sculpture/carving of Indigenous pyramid in the park.
Sculpture/carving of Indigenous pyramid in the park. | Source

Job Listings For Reynosa

Monument of Progress in Reynosa.
Monument of Progress in Reynosa. | Source

Leading Employers

  1. Manpower
  2. Indra Systems of Mexico
  3. Orgatour Administrative Services
  4. Randstad
  5. Adecco
  6. Arvato of Mexico
  7. 4Work
  8. Probecarios
  9. Temporary Services
  10. Osagui
  11. Human Dynamics Bureau
  12. Projection and Enterprise Administration
  13. GOH
  14. Pearson Personal Certification Company
  15. Services of Personal Communications
  16. MKT
  17. Solutions
  18. Halliburton of Mexico

Reynosa, Federal District Mexico

Highest Demand Jobs out of 15,000+

  1. Assistant Auditors
  2. Receptionists
  3. Sales Executives
  4. Administrative Assistants and Executive Assistants
  5. Adjutant Generals
  6. Secretaries
  7. Accountants
  8. Grocery Store Clerks
  9. Data Entry Operators
  10. Financial Advisors
  11. Sales Representatives
  12. Warehouse Jobs
  13. Messengers
  14. Assistant Managers
  15. Salespeople
  16. Security Guards
  17. Sales Managers
  18. Account Executives

© 2012 Patty Inglish


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Yes, I'd say it would be good advice to guard against moving too close to drug cartels and gang violence.

      McAllen seems to be growing jobs pretty quickly and is hopefully fall enough away from the fray.

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks for this interesting hub Patti. Voted up and interesting.It sounds like a lively place. I guess Texas is doing better economically. Is this economic zone area a bit dangerous because of the drug war in the border areas and Monterray areas.

    • Theocharis V profile image

      Theocharis V 5 years ago from Piraeus, Greece

      Very informative hub. Actually, it contains tons of info. Congrats!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      I wish that it gives people some hope in job seeking. Thanks for your comment!

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 5 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Patty,

      You have written a hub according to your credibility. People not only seek job but want a low cost place. Your article will surely help them.

      Thanks, rated up and useful.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Yes, this all goes against what we generally know, doesn't it?

    • Healthy Pursuits profile image

      Karla Iverson 5 years ago from Oregon

      How interesting! I had no idea that the U.S. was doing anything like this. Everything I hear about is how to keep people out.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Hi Dale -- One young woman on Flickr has about 500 photos of the McAllen area, some of a wedding but many from nice attractions around town. From news reports and the chambers of commerce locally, it sounds like the bridges are always full of people going back and forth among the larger cities. I couldn't see too much form the webcam.

      Earth Angel - Different, isn't it? I've friends in Central Texas that go down about once a year. They like the restaurants in TX and MX.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 5 years ago

      GREAT Hub Patty! I had never heard of Borderplex before your insightful information!! Fascinating and out of the box!! YOU are the BEST!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

    • Dale Hyde profile image

      Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

      A nicely put together hub, well presented, with a ton of information! I have picked up some knowledge here and have enjoyed doing so. As I reside in Texas, I think a road trip is in order to check things out first hand. Keep up the excellent hubbing...Voted up, interesting and useful. :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Don't know. It's difficult for me to imagine many US citizens moving there, but a lot of jobs are open. There's the crime to think of as well.

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 5 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      The retail industry is thriving there? That's something. I wonder how life is in Mexicali?