Everything is bigger in Texas — or so they say. It’s true that the great state of Texas boasts everything from big hair to Big Oil, and while neither seems like an exaggeration, we’re curious about this bold declaration. Is there any truth to it or is it just a fantastic marketing slogan? To uncover the facts, we’re diving into everything big, great, grand, and large about the Lone Star State, so we can finally answer the question — is everything really bigger in Texas?
Big and Getting Bigger
When we’re talking about landmass, the answer is yes — Texas is larger than the rest. Or rather, second largest. As the biggest state in the contiguous U.S., Texas takes up an astounding 268,596 square miles, meaning it comprises 7.4% of the entire country. Even more shocking, the smallest U.S. state, Rhode Island, can fit inside of Texas 221 times. Despite its massive size, it still falls short of Alaska, which holds the crown for the most acreage in the U.S.
However, Texas has Alaska beat when it comes to population. In 2019, the Census Bureau estimated Texas’ population to be 29 million, which again puts it in second place for the largest state by population. And with a growth rate of 1.34%, Texas is getting bigger by the minute. The 2018 Census data reported that over half of the fastest-growing counties in the country were all located in the Lone Star State. Cities like Austin, New Braunfels, Frisco, McKinney, Midland, Roundrock, and Georgetown are all expanding at an expedited rate when compared to the rest of the country. In these cases, Texas is not only big, but it’s also fast-growing.
Big and Tall
In addition to being both sizable and vast in terms of population and landmass, Texas is also known for its mammoth architecture. As the biggest state capitol in the country, Austin’s Texas State Capitol towers over its competition. The palatial building is taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and it covers roughly 18 acres of floor space. As long as we’re making comparisons to the nation’s capital city, we might as well mention that Texas’ San Jacinto Monument is 12 feet taller than the famed Washington Monument.
And when it comes to football, Texas is not to be outdone. Kyle Field, the stadium for Texas A&M University, is the largest stadium by capacity in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). This also makes it the fourth-largest for college football and the fifth-largest in the world. In addition to loving football, the state also seems to have an affinity for large statues. There’s the 67-foot tall statue of Sam Houston in Huntsville, the giant herd of bronze longhorns in Dallas, and Big Tex, an enormously tall cowboy who welcomes all who attend the state fair.
For the Love of God
Texans love to say “The bigger the hair, the closer to God,” proving once more their proclivity towards magnitude. And while it may be difficult to substantiate hair height, it’s easier to evaluate the state’s impressive religious sites. At a staggering 190 feet in height, The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the biggest freestanding cross in the country — soaring nearly 19 stories tall. Even more astonishing, Houston’s Lakewood Church has a whopping weekly attendance of 52,000 people, making it one the most attended megachurches nationally. And Second Baptist Church, also in Houston, has a total membership of 63,000 people spread across six city locations.
It Just Comes Natural
While it appears that Texas is proficient at building enormous structures, is there anything considerable about the state’s natural landscape? Indeed, there is. If you’ve ever driven through Texas, you’ve probably remarked on the vast open land and the state’s enormous sky that stretches on for miles and miles. Then there’s the Rio Grande, the famous waterway that divides Texas and northern Mexico, which translates to “Big River.” Big Bend, one of the state’s two national parks, also pronounces its significant size in its name, which is fine by us since it is ranked as the 15th largest national park in the U.S.
Is Bigger Always Better?
Unfortunately, bigger isn’t always better, and even a great state like Texas has a few examples. Home to over 100 different species of rattlesnakes, both the western diamondback and the timber rattlesnake can grow to a lengthy 4.5 feet. There’s also the Texas tan tarantula, a large, venomous arachnid that averages six inches in length and is native to the state. Another time when big is bad? Greenhouse gases. As a highly populous and commercially active state, Texas emits over double the greenhouse gases of other states and a recent study has shown the state’s carbon dioxide emissions have continued to grow over the years. At least this is somewhat offset by the state’s affinity for wind farming including Roscoe Wind Farm, which is one of the biggest wind farms in the world.
Some Things Can’t Be Measured
Despite all the calculations and percentages that verify the state’s significant size, there’s something else that looms large in the state of Texas — and it can’t be measured. There’s the lingering love for the cowboy of the Old West, an iconic American figure that lives on in lore. There’s also the legend of the Alamo, which has become an enduring symbol for the perseverance and tenacity of Texans. And of course, there is Texas pride, which seems to be residing within every citizen and is the biggest thing the great state has to offer.