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The east texas area includes all or parts of 49 counties, totaling almost 40,000 square miles (100,000 km˜) and a population of almost 6 million. Another popular, somewhat simpler, definition defines East Texas as the region between Interstate 45 linking Dallas and Houston and the Louisiana Border.
Most of the region consists of the Piney Woods ecoregion, and East Texas can sometimes be reduced to include only the Piney Woods. Houston has distanced itself from East Texas over the past fifty years; however Houston has been considered part of East Texas for most of the city's history. At the fringes, towards central Texas, the forests expand outward sparser trees and eventually into open plains.