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At the time Mc Allen's main industries were retail, tourism and farming, and each was in trouble.The devaluation of the Mexican peso in the 1980s put a damper on cross-border shopping; local tourism was down because of the recession.The population continued to grow steadily through the 1970s, and reached 66,281 by 1980.During the late 1980s the Mc Allen Foreign Trade Zone was an important general-purpose foreign trade zone.The introduction of the maquiladora economy and the North American Free Trade Association led to a boom in international trade, cross-border commerce with Mexico, and health care.In 1904 the Hidalgo and San Miguel Extension (now the Sam Fordyce Branch) of the St.Mc Allen sits across the border from Reynosa, a large manufacturing centre.
The population of Mc Allen was 20,005 in 1950 and 32,728 in 1960.
The resulting economic boom increased the population from 1,200 in 1916, to 6,000 in 1920. Canning factories, a winery, tortilla plants, wood-working plants, and some oil exploration increased the population to 9,074 by 1930.
In 1936 Hiram Garner opened the Valley Distillery, Incorporated, which produced wines from citrus juices.
It is on the Rio Grande, across from the Mexican city of Reynosa, and is approximately 70 miles (110 km) west of South Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico.
The 2010 United States census put the city's population at 129,877 and the Mc Allen–Edinburg–Mission metropolitan area at 774,773.