Laredo, TX Demographics

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Laredo, Texas: Part 1

People who visit or pass through Laredo undertake this journey either for immigration, trade, birding, or shopping mainly. The major cultural tourist influx into the city happens when 400,000 tourists who annually attend Washington's birthday celebration, and US tourists, look for history and Hispanic culture in Laredo.

LAREDO VISITOR DEMOGRAPHICS

  • Travelers who visited Laredo in 2017 spent $570,913,639 in total direct travel spending, including lodging taxes and other local and sales taxes as applicable.
  • Travelers who visited Laredo in 2017 spent 6.57% more than what they spent in 2016.
  • According to Texas Monthly, those who visit Laredo love street life.
  • Texas Monthly explains the street life in Laredo to depict houses built in such a way that their front doors lead to street sidewalks, allowing shopping and home life to blend seamlessly. This setup makes the streets buzz with exciting activities.
  • About 400,000 tourists attend the annual Washington birthday celebration event, of which the food and history are the key attractions.
  • Nearly half of US-Mexican trade crosses through Laredo.
  • Some 12,000 trucks cross the Texas-Mexico border daily through Laredo.
  • In 2018, 1 million tourist visitors came to Laredo.
  • VISITORS TRAVELING THROUGH LAREDO TO MEXICO/ENTERING THE US FROM MEXICO

  • Thousands of visitors from Mexico visit Laredo daily to buy clothing and electronics, as they get them at half the price of what it would cost in Mexico.
  • A significant percentage of the 6 million people from Monterrey and neighboring areas visit Laredo to shop.
  • Of the 1 million visitors who came to Laredo in 2018, the majority of them were from Mexico and came for shopping purposes.
  • In December 2018, 77,949 bus passengers, 322,535 pedestrians, 1,019,924 personal vehicle passengers, 363 trains, and 171,061 trucks crossed the US-Mexico border at Laredo.
  • The majority of immigrant visitors who come to Laredo are between the ages of 18 and 64 years.
  • BIRDING

    LAREDO CITY TOURIST/TRAVEL DEPARTMENT'S ACTIVITIES TO TARGET US-BASED TOURISTS AND VISITORS TO LAREDO

  • The Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau holds tourism celebrations and publishes a new edition of the visitor’s guide annually.
  • The official Facebook page of Laredo City advertises the festivals of Laredo to attract tourists.
  • Laredo Morning Times quoted the city's mayor saying that the city's beautification aims at attracting US tourists.
  • GoUSA advertises Laredo as an attractive tourist destination for US tourists, citing its history and Hispanic culture as major attractions.
  • WHY MEXICAN CITIZENS TRAVEL TO OR THROUGH LAREDO

  • More people travel from Mexico to the US through than vice-versa.
  • People cross the border from Mexico to the US through Laredo in search of jobs, a better life, and to escape the violence in Mexico.
  • The Federalist reports that 10,000 people cross the border through the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge in Laredo daily, "to shop, work, and go to school."
  • Students from Mexican border towns and villages come to Laredo to study at Laredo Community College, and many are studying there with scholarships provided by the Government of Mexico.
  • Some Mexicans come to Laredo to visit friends and family, to eat at Laredo's eateries, and to attend mass at the San Augustín Cathedral.
  • WHY AMERICANS TRAVEL TO OR THROUGH LAREDO

  • US tourists go to Laredo to see the border crossing point, carry out street shopping, and to attend George Washington's annual birthday celebration.
  • A travelogue by a Georgian couple and authors of “Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges,” David Scott and Kay Scott states that the major tourist attractions of Laredo are its history, Hispanic culture, birding, and Mexican food.
  • A Laredo Travelogue blog article by Ray James Aguirre, a student in Texas, cited his reason for visiting the city as homecoming during a vacation. He mentioned that the tourist attractions in Laredo are, the Hispanic culture, history, and sporting and festival events.
  • CONCLUSION

  • People who visit or pass through Laredo undertake this journey mainly for immigration, trade or shopping purposes.
  • The major cultural influx of tourists into the city occurs during the annual celebration of George Washington's birthday.
  • Birding is also a purpose for which tourists visit Laredo.
  • US tourists look for history and Hispanic culture in Laredo.

  • RESEARCH STRATEGY

    According to a 2017 study by Migration Policy Institute, 4% of Mexican immigrants in the US are under the age of 18 years, 86% are between 18-64 years, and 10% are above 65 years. The team thus assumed that this percentage applies to the immigrants who arrive at Laredo as well. Hence, the majority of immigrant visitors who travel to/through Laredo are between the ages of 18 and 64 years.
    There was no precompiled demographic information about the visitors to Laredo. The team thus attempted to triangulate the data from secondary sources to obtain the demographics of Laredo visitors. The team searched for case studies from social media, including Facebook posts about visits to Laredo to establish a demographic pattern among the authors of those posts. However, there are no such Facebook posts available. Secondly, the team tried to find Laredo traveler information from the discussion forums of travel websites like TravelAdvisor and TripSavvy, but most of those forums were discussing the safety concerns of traveling to Laredo, the city is a border gateway and also have a record of crime and violence. The assumed these concerns could be one reason why the team could not find much authentic travel experiences of Laredo online. Your research team also tried searching local online news sources such as Laredo Morning Times and KGNS to find any news reports that provide demographic information about the people who visit Laredo, but no such information was available. The team thus made the following assumptions:

    Benzinga reported that 12,000 trucks cross the Texas-Mexico border through Laredo daily. A YouTube channel Skin Deep, which explores how people connect in the digital age, observes that nearly half of US-Mexican trade crosses through Laredo. The Federalist also reports daily, 10,000 people cross the border through the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge in Laredo daily, "to shop, work, and go to school." Based on the above information, your research team assumed that a considerable percentage of the visitors who pass through Laredo from Mexico to the US and back do this for trade purposes.
    According to TripSavvy, George Washington's birthday celebration is an annual event and festival held in Laredo, which attracts about 400,000 visitors to the city. It is the biggest birthday celebration of George Washington in America and is a month-long festival. The Jalapeno festival, one of the largest food festivals in America, also forms part of the birthday celebration. The team thus assumed that this a major event in Laredo that attracts tourists.
    Laredo Economic Development Corporation's website reports that a significant portion of the 6 million people from Monterrey and surrounding areas visit Laredo for shopping. KGNS TV provides the details of the annual number of visitors to Laredo as 1 million people (Mexicans mostly), and that the primary purpose of the visit is shopping. According to KGNS TV, a tourist attraction in Laredo other than shopping is birding sites. GoUSA revealed that birding is a major tourist attraction in Laredo. The city also holds an annual birding festival. Hence, the team assumed that birding is a purpose for which tourists visit Laredo.

    The US Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that in 2018 December, 77,949 bus passengers, 322,535 pedestrians, 1,019,924 personal vehicle passengers, 363 trains, and 171,061 trucks crossed the US-Mexico border at Laredo. These stats indicate that at least a total number of (77949 + 322535 + 1019924) people excluding train and truck travelers crossed the border in Laredo. This sum amounts to 1,420,408 people. An article from The Federalist revealed that more people travel from Mexico to the US across Laredo than from the US to Mexico. The Washington Post also reported that people cross the border from Mexico to the US through Laredo in search of jobs, a better life, and to escape violence in Mexico. Based on these findings, your research team assumed that immigration from Mexico to the US is a major purpose for which people travel to/through Laredo.

    TripAdvisor website's introductory note on Laredo lists the border's crossing points, and unique shopping and festivals, as well as the month-long birthday celebration of George Washington as the major attractions of Laredo. According to TripSavvy, Washington's birthday celebration is an annual event and festival held in Laredo which attracts about 400,000 visitors to the city. According to Texas Monthly, those who visit Laredo are people who love street life. Hence, the team assumed that US tourists visit Laredo to see the border crossing point, partake in street shopping, and to attend George Washington's annual birthday celebration.
    From the above discussion, the team made the assumption that people who visit or pass through Laredo undertake this journey either for immigration, trade, or shopping purposes, as well as to partake in the Washington birthday celebration event.

    A travelogue by a Georgian couple and authors of “Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges”, David Scott and Kay Scott states that the major tourist attractions of Laredo are history, Hispanic culture, birding, and Mexican food. A Laredo Travelogue blog article by Ray James Aguirre, a student in Texas, cites his reason for visiting the city as a homecoming vacation and says the tourist attractions in Laredo are the Hispanic culture, history, and sporting and festival events. Using these two travelogues as proxies for the experience of US tourists, and identifying the typical attractions cited by both, your research team assumed that US tourists look for history and Hispanic culture in Laredo.

    Part
    02
    of two
    Part
    02

    Laredo, Texas: Part 2

    After an extensive search through government websites, credible media publications, and News articles, we were unable to provide the demographics of the people that visit or travel to Laredo, Texas, from Mexico due to lack of information in the public domain. Among the illegal immigrants who visit Laredo, 1.86% are family units, 7.12% are unaccompanied children, and 91% are single adults. About 6,000,000 people from Monterrey and nearby places in Mexico visit Laredo and among them are people from all walks of life including politicians.

    Why people go from Mexico to Laredo

  • The Wonder research request, Laredo, Texas: Part 1 has shown that people who visit or pass through Laredo undertake this journey for immigration, trade, birding, cultural tourism or shopping mainly.
  • Trade

    • A Mexican truck driver who brings his truck from Mexico to the US through Laredo may earn $2,000 to $2,500 a month.
    • In 2018, 1,683,258 loaded trucks plied from Mexico to the USA through Laredo.
    • In 2018, 2,272,551 loaded trucks plied from the USA to Mexico through Laredo.
    • In 2018, 3,955,809 truck drivers visited Laredo.
    • The New York Times reported in 2018 that only a few truck drivers from Mexico are allowed to go beyond the border zone into America and hence, the majority of truck drivers who drive through Laredo would be Americans.
    • Approximately 13,000 trucks ply daily through Laredo.

    Shopping

    • About 6,000,000 people from Monterrey and nearby places in Mexico could be visiting Laredo for shopping.
    • People of all walks of life come to Laredo from Mexico to shop.
    • Even politicians in Monterrey go shopping in Laredo during summer vacations as is reported by the Mexican news organization, Milenio.
    • Mauro Guerra, state leader of the PAN (National Action Party), a major political party in Mexico, went shopping to Laredo this month.
    • Info7.mx.com, a news portal of Mexico has reported that during Black Friday and Christmas, Laredo gets 250,000 visitors from Monterrey — most of these visitors come from Neuvo Leon, in Monterrey.
    • Businesses in Laredo give up to 80% discount to these shoppers.

    Legal immigrants

  • About 200 immigration applications are expected to be processed daily in Laredo soon using new technology implementation.
  • On average, two Mexican migrants are allowed to seek asylum at the port of entry in Laredo, daily (source 16)
  • As compared to 13 groups comprising families and about 100 people each that arrived in 2018 in border patrol stations, 70 such groups have arrived in 2019.
  • Families arriving in groups have been growing in numbers among the asylum seekers arriving at various border patrol stations at Mexico border and this will be reflected in Laredo as well.
  • Illegal Immigrants

  • In March 2019, the US border patrol apprehended 106 family units, 301 unaccompanied alien children and 3784 single adults at Laredo border.
  • In March 2018, the US border patrol apprehended 46 family units, 281 unaccompanied alien children and 3652 single adults at Laredo border.
  • The illegal immigrants who visit Laredo consists of family units, unaccompanied children and single adults.
  • The illegal immigrants who visit Laredo are mostly single adults as compared to family units and unaccompanied children.
  • Among the illegal immigrants who visit Laredo, 1.86% are family units, 7.12% are unaccompanied children and 91% are single adults.
  • Birding

    • The bird art contest held in Laredo as part of the Laredo birding festival held annually gets about 400 competition entries every year.
    • texashillcountry.com reported that professional and amateur birders from the United States and the world attend the festival.
    • US government travel website GoUSA, says that birding is a major tourist attraction in Laredo.

    Number of Border Crossings

    • In December 2018, 77,949 bus passengers, 322,535 pedestrians, 1,019,924 personal vehicle passengers, 363 trains, and 171,061 trucks crossed the US-Mexico border at Laredo.

    What cities do they come from within Mexico

  • Most of the Mexican shoppers come from Monterrey to Laredo.
  • Laredo City tourist/travel department activities to target tourists and especially Mexican tourists

  • The Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau hold tourism events and celebrations regularly.
  • The Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau publish a visitor’s guide every year (source 8)
  • Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau publishes a monthly newsletter on the events, attractions, and discounts offered in Laredo.
  • The website of Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau advertises all the tourism events and attractions in Laredo.
  • As the website advertises many shopping discounts and as it is Mexican tourists who constitute the majority of shopping tourists in Laredo, these shopping discount can be assumed as targeting Mexican tourists.
  • Additional Information

  • Laredo travel generated about $570 million in 2018.
  • Students cross the border from Mexico to Laredo daily to study in Laredo educational institutions including schools, colleges and universities.
  • Research Strategy:

    The Wonder research request, Laredo, Texas: Part 1 has shown that people who visit or pass through Laredo undertake this journey either for immigration, trade, birding, historical tourism or shopping mainly. It also showed that among the visitors, there are Mexican as well as US people. There is no precompiled data on the demography of these categories of visitors who come or pass through Laredo. Hence, we decided to look up as much demographic information as possible for each of these categories separately.

    Immigrants

    People who visit or pass through Laredo undertake this journey either for immigration, trade, birding, or shopping mainly. In March 2019, the US border patrol apprehended 106 family units, 301 unaccompanied alien children and 3,784 single adults at Laredo border. The same source state that in March 2018, the US border patrol apprehended 46 family units, 281 unaccompanied alien children and 3,652 single adults at Laredo border. From these data points provided for 2018 and 2019 March, we assume that the illegal immigrants who visit Laredo consists of family units, unaccompanied children and single adults. We calculated the mean values for each category for the 2 years.

    Family units- (106 + 46)/2 = 152/2= 76 family units
    unaccompanied children- (301 + 281)/2 = 291 unaccompanied children
    single adults- (3784 + 3652)/2 = 3718 single adults
    Total entities — 76 +291 +3718 =4085
    Percentage of family units = 76/4085 x 100 = 1.86%
    Percentage of unaccompanied children = 291/4085 x 100 = 7.12%
    Percentage of single adults = 3718/4085 x 100 = 91%

    According to the data provided by Laredo Economic Development Corporation, an organization of businesses in Laredo working towards the economic development of the city — in 2018, 1,683,258 loaded trucks plied from Mexico to the USA through Laredo and 2272551 loaded trucks plied from the USA to Mexico through Laredo. We calculated the number of trucks going in both directions.

    The total number of trucks that went to and fro = 1,683,258 + 2272551 = 3955809 trucks
    From this data point, it is assumed that 3955809 truck drivers visited Laredo in 2018.

    The New York Times reported in 2018 that only a few truck drivers from Mexico are allowed to go beyond the border zone into America and hence it is assumed that the majority of truck drivers who drive through Laredo would be Americans.

    The website of The Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and a news article by KGNS TV website provided the details of the activities that city administration undertake to encourage tourists to visit Laredo. However, there was no specific news items or website entries that gave any data on how the city administration particularly addresses the Mexican tourists. Yet, as the visiting shoppers mainly come from Mexico, it is assumed the focus given to shopping.

    We also searched Mexican newspapers like Milenio and El Manana to find out news items on the visits of Mexicans to Laredo and these probes yielded many data points. info7.mx.com, another news portal of Mexico has reported that during black Friday and Christmas, Laredo gets 250,000 visitors from Monterrey. Most of these visitors come from Neuvo Leon, in Monterrey. Businesses in Laredo give up to 80% discount to these shoppers.

    laredobirdingfestival.org, the official website of Laredo Birding Festival held annually provided many details on the number of people participating in it. texashillcountry.com reported that professional and amateur birders from the United States and the world attend the festival. For example, the bird art contest held in Laredo as part of the Laredo Birding Festival held annually gets about 400 competition entries every year.

    Lastly, we comb Mexican newspaper websites like Milenio and El Manana and info7.mx.com using Spanish translation of keywords to find out data points on the demographics of the shoppers and truckers who visit Laredo from these places. However, these searches did not give any relevant results. Then we searched research databases like Google Books, Google Scholar, and Research Gate to find out if there is any academic study referring to the demographics of immigrants or shoppers or truckers or cultural tourists who visit Laredo but we could not find any. Then we broadened the search to Texas border instead of Laredo. This search also did not provide any significant results. We also searched trucking blogs like Trucker's Report, Smart Trucking, and Roadmaster to see if they give any demographic information about the truckers who pass through or visit Laredo. There was no relevant information forthcoming in these blogs as well.
    Sources
    Sources

    From Part 01
    Quotes
    • "Why is it people travel hundreds of miles to Nuevo Laredo? The strip joints are second-rate, the drinks are for the most part watered-down, and the food has a long way to go before an inspector from the Guide Michelin comes poking around. On top of that, the weather most of the time is unbearable, the traffic is ungodly, and the scenery for hundreds of miles around is unremittingly bleak. Yet Texas is full of Nuevo Laredo lovers. There is a reason we head south when the fit is on, though we may understand it only subliminally. We might say we go for the shopping, for the bars, for the cabrito—but we really go for the magnetic pull of the street life. From Juarez to Matamoros the specific lures vary, but the major attraction is constant: as soon as you get on a bridge over the Rio Grande you feel the human energy. Devotees could make a case that this experience is most striking in Nuevo Laredo, the quintessential border town. Shoppers, vendors, families, lovers conduct their affairs out where the rest of us can enjoy it. All day the stores and restaurants on the main street are packed with American visitors, but long before and long after the tourist shops are closed, native Nuevo Laredoans are picking over the vegetables in their markets, sipping cold fruit drinks bought from hand-pushed carts, negotiating deals over cafe con leche, tipping shoeshine boys for their efforts, hosing down and sweeping the pavement, or taking in the night air and scene from a plaza bench."
    Quotes
    • "Trucks coming into the U.S. from Mexico sometimes waited up to four hours on the line between the checkpoint and the U.S. Custom Border Protection (CBP) review, not counting the time it took to get through the customs checkpoint in Mexico, according to customs officials."
    Quotes
    • "Most folks probably could never guess where the largest celebration of George Washington’s birthday is held. Believe it or not, it is staged each year in the border city of Laredo, Texas. True enough, Laredo is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when Americans think of their first president. However, it is Laredo that throws the largest and oldest Washington Birthday Celebration. Founded in 1898, this month-long celebration attracts over 400,000 visitors each year. Over the years, the event has grown to include a variety of entertainment and activities. This year’s celebration is scheduled to include parades, concerts, fireworks displays, a carnival, fun run, BBQ cookoff and more. In short, there really is something for everyone at this “international celebration of a traditionally American holiday.”"
    Quotes
    • "Laredo boasts the #1 Wal-Mart in the nation based on sales per sq. ft. Recently, HEB Plus, Hobby Lobby, a 2nd Best Buy, a 2nd Academy Store, TJ Maxx, 3 Walgreens, and a CVS have recently opened up. These stores along with all the other retail stores are continually trying to attract the visitors from Monterrey and Mexico City. Daily, thousands of visitors from Mexico flock to Laredo to buy clothing and electronics and half the price of what it would cost them in Mexico. When thinking about the possibilities of Laredo, think beyond the 236,000 people that live here and be sure to include the roughly 6,000,000 people from Monterrey and surrounding areas. Many of these people travel to the U.S. to do their shopping"
    Quotes
    • "When we think of Laredo, we might not see it as a tourist destination; however, according to officials, Leisure travel in our city continues to increase. Last year over one million visitors came to the Gateway City. The Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau says tourism continues to increase year by year. Experts say a large influx of travelers from Mexico come to Laredo mainly to shop at the outlet mall or Mall Del Norte. Some of the many challenges the city has had to overcome are the fears of American tourists hesitant about traveling into Nuevo Laredo. Despite that, in 2018, Laredo travel generated about $570 million dollars. Even with recent threats made by the president to build a wall, the convention and visitor’s bureau says people still continue to visit our city. Not only is shopping a main attraction for Laredo but people also come for the birding sites as well."
    Quotes
    • "Considering CDS’ study, City Council voted to create a tax increment reinvestment zone downtown, which will allocate a certain portion of property taxes collected in that area to be reinvested back within its bounds. This funding can be used for infrastructure needs such as street paving, street lighting, water main repairs and sidewalks, or for landscaping, beautification, public art, and so on. On Monday, council is set to vote on approving the project and financing plan for this zone, a purported multi-million dollar tax investment. Mayor Saenz points to this reinvestment zone, the completed outlet mall and the planned downtown convention center as signs of the city’s efforts to revitalize this area. Plus, he’s been working with Nuevo Laredo to open up a few blocks of their Guerrero Street to U.S. tourists, to make Los Dos Laredos a destination again. The governor of Tamaulipas has already allocated some money toward this project, Saenz said. The goal is to raise awareness that downtown in fact exists, he said. Saenz chalks up the area’s slowing economy to Laredo’s disappearing wholesale market, and said some of these retailers might need to reinvent themselves too."
    From Part 02
    Quotes
    • "Sam Williams is the Republican candidate for Texas 16th District US Congress"
    Quotes
    • "Sarah Pierce, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, a bipartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., said it is the administration’s own border policies that have spurred the surge of families crossing illegally,” reported the Houston Chronicle. “Since last summer, the administration has used a process called ‘metering’ to slow to a relative trickle how many migrants are allowed to seek asylum at legal ports of entry. The numbers have fallen to about 10 migrants a day in Brownsville, two in Laredo, and several dozen in El Paso. Between the start of the fiscal year in October and February, the number of families and children apprehended between ports of entry rose 53%.”"