One of the largest of the border cities (and said to be the world's busiest border crossing), El Paso is a blend of the United States and Mexico, its history closely linked to that of Juárez. The region was once known as El Paso del Norte, for the route through the mountains from Mexico to the north. In the 16th and 17th cent. missionaries, soldiers, and traders came here. Although missions were founded at Ysleta and elsewhere north of the river, the major settlement was on the south (Juárez) bank. Not until 1827 was the first house built on the site of El Paso. After the U.S.-Mexican border was set, settlement increased, and the coming of the railroad in 1881 prefaced the arrival of cowboys, exiles, border traders, and adventurers. As a result of the settlement in 1963 of the Chamizal border dispute, a small area of El Paso was transferred to Mexico.
The El Paso Metropolitan Statistical Area includes all of El Paso County.
There were 210,022 households out of which 44.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.70% were married couples living together, 18.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.90% were non-families. 17.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.18 and the average family size was 3.63.
In the county, the population was spread out with 32.00% under the age of 18, 10.60% from 18 to 24, 29.30% from 25 to 44, 18.40% from 45 to 64, and 9.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 93.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,051, and the median income for a family was $33,410. Males had a median income of $26,882 versus $20,722 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,421. About 20.50% of families and 23.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.50% of those under age 18 and 18.50% of those age 65 or over.