Ranchito, also known as El Ranchito and Ranchita, is a colonia located at the junction of U.S. Highway 281 and Farm Road 1577, six miles south of San Benito in southern Cameron County. It originated as a flag stop when the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railway built a spur from Harlingen to Brownsville in the early 1900s. By 1970 Ranchito had approximately 100 dwellings, a cemetery, and a church. In 1976 it had a population of 765 and 144 homes. Ten years later the colonia had a population of 509 and 113 dwellings and was served by the Military Highway Water Supply Corporation. By 1990 Ranchito was part of a census-designated region, with a population of 1,143, that also included two other colonias, Encantada and El Calaboz. By 2000 that figure had increased to 2,100.