The seat of Midland County, Midland lies just 20 miles east of Odessa on I-20, not far from the southeast corner of New Mexico. Both cities, in the oil-rich Permian Basin, have near 100,000 population, and form the Odessa-Midland, Texas metro area.
Though the economy had become more diversified by the late 1980s, the area's petroleum industry, a main source of the city's prosperity, continued to labor under relatively low oil prices and declining production. In 1990 Midland had a population of 89,443 with 106,611 in the metropolitan area. The city remained the financial and administrative center for the Permian Basin, and oil, chemicals, plastics, and electronic calculators were also important to the local economy.
As in its earliest days, the city remained a supply and shipping center for the ranchers and farmers in the surrounding area.