Visit the Unique Counties of the Heart of Texas!

The Heart of Texas Economic Development District (HOTEDD) consists of Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill, Limestone and McLennan counties. Located in central Texas between Dallas and Austin, the U.S. Census reported the estimated 2019 population to be 372,588, compared to 349,273 in 2010, an increase of nearly 7%. The region covers 5,549 square miles and has a population density of 62.94 residents per square mile, compared to a statewide density of 93.54. Each county has specific areas of focus, with McLennan offering the primary commercial and industrial centers, while the other countries have a much more rural atmosphere.

County Largest City (population) County Seat
Bosque Clifton (3,453) Meridian (1,503)
Falls Marlin (5,638) Marlin
Freestone Teague (3,527) Fairfield (2,917)
Hill Hillsboro (8,472) Hillsboro
Limestone Mexia (7,344) Groesbeck (4,253)
McLennan Waco (129,179) Waco

Click on the counties below for profile information on each.

Bosque County

Bosque County: The Beautiful Gateway to Texas Hill Country Bosque County is a beautiful location within the region, with the scenic Bosque River winding throughout a landscape of rolling hills. The natural beauty has resulted in the county being known as an artistic destination, with several communities, working facilities and museums highlighting the area’s renown. Additionally, the county has a growing retirement community, with the city of Clifton having been listed in 2009 as one of only 40 Certified Retirement Communities in Texas. The growing interest, coupled with rising property values and low tax rates, mark Bosque County with huge potential for economic development, specifically in the health care sector. Like regions across the country, unemployment in Bosque County has increased somewhat in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Texas Workforce Commission reported that Bosque County had a total Civilian Labor Force of 8,247 in November 2020, with an unemployment rate...Learn More »

Falls County

Falls County is the agricultural hub of the Heart of Texas Region Falls County is the agricultural hub of the Heart of Texas. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, there were 1,103 farms covering 391,898 acres. Falls County was the 17th largest producer of cattle in Texas, with $113,178,000 in sales and an inventory of 115,649. It also was the 22nd largest county in grain production with $34,601,000, primarily from corn, covering 66,617 acres. Like regions across the country, unemployment in McLennan County has increased somewhat in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Texas Workforce Commission reported that Falls County had a total Civilian Labor Force of 6,721 in November 2020, with an unemployment rate of 6.7%, lower than the Texas total of 8% unemployed. In comparison, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is apparent as Falls County unemployment was 3.0% in November 2019. The area is fortunate to include...Learn More »

Freestone County

Freestone County is a Balanced Economic Region Freestone County is a balanced economic region in terms of industrial sectors. U.S. Census survey data indicated the top three industry sectors in 2018 in Freestone County were healthcare, government and oil, gas and mining. However, Agriculture in Freestone County, at 3.81% of the total county industry, was the highest percentage of any county in Texas. The 2017 Census of Agriculture listed Freestone as the 20th-largest county in Texas in sales of Poultry & Eggs, at $40,363,000 in sales and an inventory of 2,200,784 broilers and other meat-type chickens. Energy generation is also a significant segment of Freestone’s industrial base. The Jewett Mine is located in both Freestone and Limestone County and supplies lignite to the Limestone Electric Generating Station owned by NRG Texas. The Freestone Energy Center generates electricity as a natural gas-fired facility located on approximately 500 acres near Fairfield, Texas. Freestone County...Learn More »

Hill County

Manufacturing Thrives in Hill County Hill County has an established and thriving industrial manufacturing sector within the Heart of Texas Region. Located between Dallas, Fort Worth and Waco, and bisected by Interstate-35, Hill County has unmatched transportation advantages to allow shipping to all points through the United States, Canada and Mexico. Additionally, the county possesses an ease of access to air transport, with Hillsboro Municipal Airport within the county and the Waco Regional Airport, Dallas Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport all within an hour’s drive. In total, the advantages make Hill County a prime location for manufacturing companies to quickly and easily import supplies and export production. The city of Hillsboro is the primary location for manufacturing companies within the county. Available properties and buildings, specifically in the Hillsboro Industrial Park, combined with access to ample resources, utilities and a talented workforce make Hill County an excellent location to bring...Learn More »

Limestone County

Limestone County has a Focus on the Energy Industry. Limestone County has a focus on the energy industry. Available natural resources of lignite coal and water allow the area to be a significant supplier of power in the state of Texas. Two lignite-surface mines are located in Limestone County. The Jewett Mine supplies lignite to the Limestone Electric Generating Station owned by NRG Texas. The Kosse coal mine produces 8.6 million short tons annually as fuel for the Oak Grove Power Station. Water supply varies throughout the region, but overall there is an abundance of this important resource. Mexia, in particular, has an abundance of potable water due to the efforts of the Bistone Municipal Water District. Wells into the Carisa Wilcox aquifer coupled with the Lake Mexia reservoir contribute to a supply that exceeds projected demand. Lake Mexia and Lake Limestone also offer numerous recreation opportunities. Limestone County also has a...Learn More »

McLennan County

McLennan County has the Pulse of Economic Growth in the Heart of Texas McLennan County has the pulse of economic growth in the Heart of Texas Region. Waco and the Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area is the strongest industrial and commercial center within the area. McLennan County and Waco are located in central Texas along the I-35 corridor, approximately halfway between Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, within 200 miles of all major metropolitan areas in Texas. McLennan County is the most populated county in the Heart of Texas Region, with a 2019 population of 256,623. Waco is the county seat and largest city in McLennan County, with an estimated population of 139,236. The 2019 Waco MSA population was estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to be 273,920. And significant growth is expected for the area. In 2017, the economic consultant organization, The Perryman Group, forecasted the MSA population to reach 323,000 by 2040. Like regions across...Learn More »