city, Hidalgo county, southern Texas, U.S., in the lower Rio Grande valley. It is one of several small cities in the area (including McAllen, San Juan, and Edinburg) with mixed farm, oil, and gas economies. Settled in the 1900s and named for a local sugarcane grower, it developed as a shipping and processing point for an irrigated agricultural area producing citrus fruits, cotton, and vegetables. The economy was broadened in the 1930s by the discovery of natural gas and oil. Pharr drew national attention in February 1971, when Mexican American civil-rights demonstrators were fired on by local police officers (the so-called "Pharr Police Riot"). The city's population has grown dramatically, owing largely to an influx of retirees and a surge in the city's Hispanic population. Inc. 1916. Pop. (1990) 32,921; (2000) 46,660.
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