Texas Panhandle
Windmill on the level plains of the Texas Panhandle
Windmill on the level plains of the Texas Panhandle
Map of the Texas Panhandle
Map of the Texas Panhandle
Coordinates: 35°29′N 101°24′W / 35.483°N 101.400°W / 35.483; -101.400Coordinates: 35°29′N 101°24′W / 35.483°N 101.400°W / 35.483; -101.400
Country United States
State Texas
RegionHigh Plains
 • Total67,046 km2 (25,887 sq mi)
 • Total434,358
 • Density6.5/km2 (17/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
Area codes806, 940 (Childress County)
WebsiteHandbook of Texas: "Panhandle"

The Texas Panhandle is a region of the U.S. state of Texas consisting of the northernmost 26 counties in the state. The panhandle is a rectangular area bordered by New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north and east. It is adjacent to the Oklahoma Panhandle. The Handbook of Texas defines the southern border of Swisher County as the southern boundary of the Texas Panhandle region.

Its land area is 25,823.89 sq mi (66,883.58 km2), or nearly 10% of the state's total. The Texas Panhandle is slightly larger in size than the US state of West Virginia. An additional 62.75 sq mi (162.53 km2) is covered by water. Its population as of the 2010 census was 427,927 residents, or 1.7% of the state's total population. As of the 2010 census, the population density for the region was 16.6 per square mile (6.4/km2). However, more than 72% of the Panhandle's residents live in the Amarillo Metropolitan Area, which is the largest and fastest-growing urban area in the region. The Panhandle is distinct from North Texas, which is further south and east.

West of the Caprock Escarpment and North and South of the Canadian River breaks, the surface of the Llano Estacado is rather flat. South of the city of Amarillo, the level terrain gives way to Palo Duro Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the United States. This colorful canyon was carved by the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River, a tributary of the Red River. North of Amarillo lies Lake Meredith, a reservoir created by Sanford Dam constructed on the main stem of the Canadian River. Lake Meredith and the Ogallala Aquifer are the primary sources of freshwater in this semi-arid region of the High Plains.

Interstate Highway 40 passes through the Panhandle, and also passes through Amarillo. The freeway passes through Deaf Smith, Oldham, Potter, Carson, Gray, Donley, and Wheeler Counties.

Before the rise of Amarillo, the three original towns of the Panhandle were Clarendon in Donley County, Mobeetie in Wheeler County, and Tascosa in Oldham County. Clarendon moved itself after it was overlooked by the Fort Worth and Denver Railway. Mobeetie was reduced even below its original small size with the closure of the United States Army's Fort Elliott in 1890. Tascosa was ruined by the location of the railroad too far north of the town and the inability to build a feeder line. The Tascosa Pioneer wrote in 1890: "Truly this is a world which has no regard for the established order of things but knocks them sky west and crooked, and lo, the upstart hath the land and its fatness."[1]

Caprock Canyons of Briscoe County.
A canyon formed by Tierra Blanca Creek
A canyon formed by Tierra Blanca Creek
The rugged country of Palo Duro Canyon
The rugged country of Palo Duro Canyon


As of the census of 2020, about 434,358 people lived in the Panhandle. Of these, 53.6% were non-Hispanic White, 35.2% were Hispanic, 4.8% were African American, 2.8% were Asian. Only 4.1% were of some other ethnicity.[2] About 92.3% of inhabitants claimed native birth, and 8.9% were veterans of the United States armed forces; 49.9% of the population was male, and 50.1% was female. Around 13.2% of the population was 65 years of age or older, whereas 27.8% of the population was under 18 years of age.


Twenty-six counties of the Panhandle (west to east, from the northwest corner):[3][4]

  1. Dallam
  2. Sherman
  3. Hansford
  4. Ochiltree
  5. Lipscomb
  6. Hartley
  7. Moore
  8. Hutchinson
  9. Roberts
  10. Hemphill
  11. Oldham
  12. Potter
  13. Carson
  14. Gray
  15. Wheeler
  16. Deaf Smith
  17. Randall
  18. Armstrong
  19. Donley
  20. Collingsworth
  21. Parmer
  22. Castro
  23. Swisher
  24. Briscoe
  25. Hall
  26. Childress

Cities and towns

Major cities of the Texas Panhandle with populations greater than 10,000 include:

Some of the smaller towns with populations less than 10,000 include:



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Much like the rest of West Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, the region is politically and socially very conservative. Following the pattern of other larger cities, Amarillo has the largest liberal population in the Panhandle. It was one of the first regions of the state to break away from its Democratic roots, though Democrats continued to do well at the local level well into the 1980s. However, Republicans now dominate every level of government, holding nearly every elected post above the county level.

Nearly all of the Panhandle is in Texas's 13th congressional district, represented since 2021 by Republican Ronny Jackson. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+33, it is one of the most Republican districts in the nation, and was the most Republican in the nation until 2020. The counties of Castro and Parmer are in Texas's 19th congressional district, which has been represented by Republican Jodey Arrington since 2016. That district is almost as Republican, with a PVI rating of R+27.

In the 2016 Presidential election, Donald Trump received 79.9% of the vote in the 13th District, as compared with Hillary Clinton's 16.9% share of the vote.

See also


  1. ^ The Tascosa Pioneer, October 11, 1890, quoted in Lester Fields Sheffy, The Life and Times of Timothy Dwight Hobart, 1855–1935: Colonization of West Texas (Canyon, Texas: Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, 1950), p. 156
  2. ^ "The Regions of Texas". Texas Counties.net. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  3. ^ Counties of the Texas Panhandle United States Census Bureau
  4. ^ "PANHANDLE". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved October 13, 2014.