Today there are 254 counties serving the needs of more than 26 million Texans. The counties range in size from just under 100 residents to more than three million.
Major responsibilities include building and maintaining roads, recreational facilities and, in some cases, county airports; constructing and operating jails; operating the judicial system; maintaining public records; collecting property taxes; issuing vehicle registration and transfers; and registering voters.
Counties also provide law enforcement, conduct elections and provide health and social services to many poor county residents.
Increasingly, county governments are playing a vital role in the economic development of their local areas.