For the first 125 years of its history, McKinney served as the principal commercial center for the county. The county seat provided farmers with flour, corn, and cotton mills, cotton gins, a cotton compress and cottonseed oil mill, as well as banks, churches, schools, newspapers, and, from the 1880s, an opera house. Businesses also came to include a textile mill, an ice company, a large dairy, and a garment-manufacturing company. The population grew from 35 in 1848 to 4,714 in 1912. By 1953 McKinney had a population of more than 10,000 and 355 businesses. The town continued to serve as an agribusiness center for the county until the late 1960s.
By 1970, McKinney was surpassed in size by Plano. McKinney experienced moderate population growth, from 15,193 in the 1970 census, to 21,283 in the 1990 census. By the mid-1980s the town had become a commuter center for residents who worked in Plano and Dallas. In 1985 it had a population of just over 16,000 and supported 254 businesses. Since then, McKinney's rate of increase has been much more dramatic. In the 2000 census, McKinney had grown to 54,369 with 2,005 businesses, and in the Census Bureau's 2006 estimate, the population was 107,530. The current population for McKinney (2010) is rounded up to 128,000.
Both the city and the county were named for Collin McKinney, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and a congressman for the Red River district of the Republic of Texas. He was the author of a bill establishing counties in the northern part of the state.
In the September 2012 CNN's Money Magazine's issue, McKinney was ranked 2nd place as Best Places to Live in the United States. In July 2010, McKinney was ranked 5th place in CNN's Money Magazine's list of best places to live in the United States. Also, McKinney is the only City in Texas that made the top ten. McKinney is one of several fast-growing communities on the northeastern edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
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