Skip Navigation

Tox Town - Environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals where you live, work, and play
Coloniaen español

What is a colonia?

Colonia is a Spanish word for neighborhood or community. Along the U.S. - Mexico border, the term colonia refers to low-income rural housing developments built on floodplains and other land with no agricultural value in the United States. Colonias are primarily located in the border region of Texas, but can also be found near the borders of New Mexico, Arizona, and California. The border region contains over 1,400 colonias that house over 400,000 people. The majority of colonia residents are U.S. citizens and the population is predominately Hispanic. Colonias share many of the environmental health concerns of the entire border region. However, since colonias often lack running water, sewage disposal, paved roads, and waste disposal, environmental health is a primary concern.

This description is based on the information found in the Web links listed with this topic.

Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Rural Health Concerns

More Links
About the Colonias Program (Texas Secretary of State)
Background on the Colonias (Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs)
Housing in the Border Colonias (Housing Assistance Council) (PDF — 40 KB)
Las Colonias in the 21st Century (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas) (PDF — 6.48 MB)

Last Updated: May 18, 2016

Interactive Graphic Neighborhoods City Farm Town US Border Regions Port US Southwest