Location of Alvarado shown in Texas
Alvarado is the oldest city in Johnson County, Texas. The population was 4,289 in 2009.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,288 people, 1,151 households, and 834 families residing in the city. The population density was 842.5 people per square mile (325.5/km²). There were 1,266 housing units at an average density of 324.4 per square mile (125.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.30% White, 7.15% African American, 0.61% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 9.25% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.46% of the population.
There were 1,151 households out of which 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.26.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.6% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 99.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,166, and the median income for a family was $36,471. Males had a median income of $30,690 versus $22,181 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,476. About 11.7% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 17.4% of those age 65 or over.
Alvarado is a rural community with an economy that has been primarily agricultural with only a modest retail and industrial base. In recent years the trend has been away from agriculture and towards more urban development. In 2007 Sabre Tubular Structures built a new 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) facility located on 147 acres (0.59 km2) on the eastern side of town. Sabre has over 200 employees at this facility. The city also received a 2008 grant of $750,000 from the Texas Department of Agriculture for infrastructure improvements related to Sabre.
In 2008 and 2009 there was an upturn in retail development with the opening of three national chain hotels and two fast food dining establishments. A movie theater/tavern was opened for a short time before closing its door due to poor sales and a general lack of interest.
In the latter part of the 2000s, development of natural gas wells in the Barnett Shale has been a source of prosperity for the city and many property owners have benefited from drilling activity, pipeline construction and royalty payments. As natural gas prices fell in 2009, drilling activity and royalty payments declined rapidly.
The City of Alvarado has a full-time police department providing police protection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days per year.
The city has 18 commissioned positions through the TCLEOSE. One Chief of Police, two lieutenants, three sergeants assigned as Detectives, two Sergeants assigned to Patrol, eight Patrol Officers and two Fire Marshals.
The department's Administrative and Criminal Investigations Division section operates during normal business hours Monday through Friday and maintains an on-call status during off hours.
The Patrol Division provides 24 hour coverage and operates on a 12 hour shift schedule with alternating days off. Officers are assigned to either day shift or night shift. On the typical patrol schedule an officer will work Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Then the following week will work Wednesday and Thursday before restarting the cycle the next week.
The department was founded in 1903 as a volunteer organization and has evolved over the years into a combination professional emergency services organization.
The department provides these services to the citizens of Alvarado and to almost 48 square miles (120 km2) of Johnson County; averaging 125 emergency responses monthly.
The City of Alvarado is served by the Alvarado Independent School District. There are no colleges or universities in Alvarado although residents pay a Hill College maintenance tax and residents receive in-district student rates.