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Midland was established in the late 1800s as a water stop for the railroad. Farming and ranching were the main sources of income until the discovery of oil in the 1920s. The area, known as the Permian Basin, became the headquarters for a vast petroleum industry. Today, Midland remains active in the oil and gas business, but diversification efforts are going strong. Manufacturing, industrial services, educational and medical facilities are all important aspects of the local economy.
Midland is approximately midway between Fort Worth and El Paso on I-20. Rail service is supplied by the Union Pacific Railroad. Midland International Airport, approximately halfway between Odessa and Midland, is the ninth largest airport in Texas.