Showing posts with label Population and size. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Population and size. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oklahoma City Area History

This is Part 2 of 2 articles which consider Oklahoma City's size.
For Part 1, Oklahoma City's Population History, click here

SPATIAL AREA OF OKLAHOMA CITY. This section traces Oklahoma City's change of spatial area from its beginnings until the present day and it makes a stab at answering the question, "How did Oklahoma City ever get this sprawly-big? Roughly, that's about 39 miles east-west and 28 miles north-south, with lots of pockets which are not part of Oklahoma City proper. Another well-documented piece on this topic is Jack Money's article at

The Early — 1957-58 Years. Notwithstanding that Oklahoma City was "born grown" with 10,000 inhabitants on the nightfall of the Land Run of April 22, 1989, lots of those folk didn't stick it out. By the 1890 census, Oklahoma City's population was 4,151. According to an excellent 1999 article by Jack Money & Steve Lackmeyer (here, it is broken into two parts: part a, and part b), Oklahoma City's 1891 area was less than one square mile!
NOTE: In many instances below, rather than including actual Oklahoman articles in the display here, I've linked to them so that you can read such articles if you want (as I've done, above). They will open in a separate window or tab.
Things picked up after the 1890 census and the same article reports that by 1910, Oklahoma City embraced 16 square miles (population 64,205). Before that, Oklahoma City's corporate area looked like this in 1901 (Sanborn Map Company, notations supplied):

Click the map for a larger view
A February 24, 1958, "Good Morning" Oklahoman article said that on February 24, 1908, an ordinance had passed which "almost doubled" the city's corporate limits by adding about 3,000 persons to the city's census." Even then, the article notes that the council's vote was not unanimous — 2 members voted "no," arguing that the annexation would "add enormous expenditures of money by the city for sewers and water mains." Such objections would persist during Oklahoma City's history to the present time but would not ordinarily prevail in this review of Oklahoma City's turf expansion. A pair of Oklahoman articles show the city's square miles to be 17.5 in 1910 and 1914 (October 13, 1910, and December 6, 1914).

By 1922, Oklahoma City's population was about 100,000 and the area of Oklahoma City, South Oklahoma City, and Capitol Hill is shown in the marked-up version of a map by the Sanborn Map Company, below, the company making maps for the insurance trade:

Click on the map for a larger view

The city was 30.35 square miles in 1930 (population 185,390) but had somehow dropped by the early-to-mid 1940s: a January 3, 1943, article reports the city's square mileage to be 25.3, and a 1948 article show it to be 28.6 prior to a pending annexation (see the later article below). So, even though Oklahoma City's population was 204,424 in 1940's census, with its slightly decreasing area, Oklahoma City's population increasingly became more dense. An Oklahoman editorial commented upon the 1930 census data (wherein Oklahoma City overtook Tulsa as the state's largest metropolitan as well as city proper population) and the virtues of "compactness" and "density" were extolled. A snippet from the headline is shown below ...

For the full article, click here for part a and click here for part b
or here for a single file containing the entire article.

A May 4, 1949, Oklahoman article shows the area proposed to be added to Oklahoma City at that time -- 19.2 square miles which would have added 22,398 to Oklahoma City's population -- click on the link or on the graphic below for the full article:

However, objections at four public meetings were so strenuous that the project was either dropped or deferred. Less ambitious annexation proposals by the Planning Commission were considered from 1950 through 1954-55 and Oklahoman articles reflect no enthusiasm by the City Council to rubber stamp such requests. Meanwhile, Midwest City, Del City, and Warr Acres proceeded apace, the latter beating Oklahoma City's intended annexation of a small area to the punch in 1952 while Oklahoma City dawdled in its own plan to annex the same area. Even so, a January 1, 1953, Oklahoma article reported Oklahoma City's square miles to be 56.25, more than the ambitious 1949 proposal would have added as a whole. The article also discussed a "comprehensive planning plan" which developed during 1944-1947 and which resulted in a 1949 report. This February 10, 1953, article graphically shows Oklahoma City's area as of that date. The Planning Commission proposed adding a Lake Hefner 6 square mile area in September 1954 but I've not found the date that was approved by the City Council.

Hence, while a review of Oklahoman articles through the mid-1950s does reflect on-going annexation (with a thus-far unexplained shrinkage between 1930 and 1943), actually approved annexation was mostly associated with "close-in" annexation of typically small tracts which were proximate to the city's population center and not out in the boonies somewhere and was not done without objection. In the early-to-mid 1950s, square mile increases were not shocking: 1953 — 56; May 1956 — 71; September 1956 — 76; July 1958 — 80. A September 19, 1956,Oklahoman article said that Oklahoma City had started a "major annexation program" at some unidentified time earlier and although the city's size was comparatively larger it was not behemothly so. And, the expansions were typically what one would expect — inclusion of areas that the city had naturally grown into. The city's failed attempt to annex the Forest Park area before it became a town — see this May 23, 1956, article for the annexation and this October 30, 1957, article reporting Forest Park's court success in defeating that annexation — did reflect a certain aggressiveness on the part of Oklahoma City, as did the city's expansion eastward toward Tinker Air Force Base (then Tinker Field) in September 1956.

1958 through 1986. At some point in 1958, apparently December, things changed. In an October 9, 1959, Oklahoman article by Jim Reid, the headline reads, "City Spells Out Annexing Policy." In the article, Reid said that the "current" annexation program started in December 1958. Although no article in December 1958 (or other proximate date) was located which said the same thing, the unsupported assertion by Mr. Reid does match with a conference called by Mayor Street in December 1958 conference on "Oklahoma City's proposed metropolitan planning." This December 11, 1958, article describes the event which was sponsored by the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. Street sent invitations to city council members, mayors of Oklahoma county's cities and county commissioners to hear consultants from Evanston, Illinois, as they discussed metropolitan planning and urban renewal. And, thereafter, it is quite evident that the city's expansion mode changed from one akin to osmosis to one which projected population expectations in the future so that the city would have more control and management over the growth of those areas. In this time, Oklahoma City leaders were expecting a population growth to a million or so people in a fairly short span of time.

WHY THE ANNEXATION DRIVE? Much of the assimilation during this period was basically sparsely inhabited unincorporated territory. Why assimilate essentially agrarian land into the more densely populated city proper? Oklahoma City was planning for and expecting rather dramatic growth, especially to the north, possibly up to a million inhabitants by a couple of decades (even though that didn't happen, and still hasn't). Oklahoma City wanted to avoid a situation where the central city was carrying a larger share of the cost load than those on the periphery even they they shared in the benefits, plus Oklahoma City wanted control over that expanding development. Oklahoma City wanted more control over its destiny than a more passive annexation mode would allow.

Additionally, such planning projections did not exist in a vacuum — Oklahoma City was not "alone" in the list of regional municipalities wanting their day in the sun. Oklahoma City's needs might well come head to head with other cities' planning needs associated with population expansion, e.g., utilities, water, and transportation. Nationally, it was observed that core cities like Pittsburgh who carry the financial weight for its suburbs have an overly large share of the financial load while having no or little control over their suburban kin. This notion, it seems, is at least a part of Oklahoma City's agenda beginning in 1958.

What would Oklahoma City need to do to insure that other metro cities such as Edmond, Norman, Shawnee, Guthrie, Moore, Midwest City, did not preempt Oklahoma City by beating Oklahoma City to the punch?

The answer was simple — beat them to the punch by preemptive first strikes and lots of 'em! A December 17, 1958, article reported that Midwest City had just amended its city charter to prevent its annexation without Midwest City's consent, Bethany having done the same earlier in the year.

And so it was that from late 1958 through August 1986 that Oklahoma City became seriously aggressive in its annexation of adjoining areas, not just a little, but a lot.
As a side-note, it is worth mentioning here that in 1955 or so Oklahoma City formally or informally adopted a slogan, "600,000 in 1960." The number was related to the metropolitan area and not the city proper. Regardless, Oklahoma City did appear to be on a population quest. One means of accomplishing that quest was annexation, and Oklahoma City pursued that means with a gusto.
By July 1958 Oklahoma City's square mileage was 80 but it would double less than a year later. A January 7, 1959, Oklahoman article gave a preview — areas around the then proposed Cowboy Hall of Fame and around Tinker south toward the then proposed reservoir owned by the city but located in Cleveland County (Lake Stanley Draper), that annexation being completed later in the month.

Oklahoma City's aggressive annexation had become a hot topic, enough to warrant a February 14, 1959, Oklahoman editorial which favored it and a mayoral candidate whose campaign ad was in opposition.

An April 2, 1959, Oklahoman graphic showed what was then on the annexation table:

Click the image for a larger view

In May, it was action time. Click the links below to read the articles:
  • May 6, 1959: Size of city reaches 116 square miles
  • May 13, 1959: Another 12 square miles
  • May 20, 1959: Another 1,400 acres
  • May 22, 1959: More added bring the city's square miles up to 160 and down to the Cleveland County line, the first instance that Oklahoma City's boundary abutted another county's border
  • May 29, 1959: An item is on the Council's agenda which would extend Oklahoma City INTO Cleveland County
By the end of May 1959, Oklahoma City had doubled its July 1958 total. The pre-May 1959 forays were relatively modest, comparatively speaking, but if the alarm hadn't already been sounded for Oklahoma City's neighbors, by the end of May 1959 it certainly was. This one was big and Oklahoma City was and was increasingly seen as ...

Oklahoma City took some pause, too. A June 3, 1959 article reported that council member L.J. Wilkes had formed a bloc that threatened to stall Oklahoma City's annexation program. He said, "I think this annexation business has gotten completely out of hand, I think we ought to slow down." Joined by two other members and Mayor Jim Norick (father of later mayor Ron Norick), the brakes were applied, but only briefly.

A June 14, 1959, Oklahoman article (without author attribution) reported on the opinions of city planners. The lead-in begins, "Here are the ABC's of Oklahoma City's annexation as explained Saturday by some of the city's top planners. Experts promise that Oklahoma City's chances are fine for becoming a city of one million in the next 15 to 20 years."

Click the snippet below for the full article

In the article, Stanley Draper, Chamber of Commerce manager, said, "We are not trying to take anything away from the towns around us, but we are concerned about Oklahoma City being hemmed in." Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was held up as an example of how things can be if not city planning does not properly occur. The article says,
The great steel industry capital, hemmed in completely by its many satellites, has about 750,000 population jammed in some 55 square miles. ¶ This is the central city which bears most of the burden and carries most of the load. Outside in the hodge-podge ring of satellites around Pittsburgh are a couple of million persons.
Dallas and Ft. Worth were held up as examples of cities which Oklahoma City would do well to emulate.

Good enough and forget the slowdown! The stalled expansion into Cleveland County proceeded, as did more.
  • A July 1, 1959, Oklahoman article reported that the council had just added some additional turf there, upping the city's total square mileage to 217.5.
  • A July 29 look at the city showed that the north/south city mileage was 25 miles
  • August 20: Bill Burkes, city planning statistician, complained that he was having trouble finding a place for the city's map because the 14-foot ceiling wasn't high enough
  • August 26, 1959: Another 28.7 miles added. The article noted that a record series of 24 annexation ordinances had swelled the city's area to 265.1 square miles.
  • January 1, 1960: Another 21.46 square miles along the "big bend" of the North Canadian River, north and east of Spencer, one-half mile from Choctaw and Jones
  • March 2,1960: 26 square miles in the areas shown below ... click the link or the map to read the full article
  • March 30, 1960: 9.75 square miles in Cleveland County near Moore; suit was promised by property owners saying they had already petitioned Moore to be annexed by that city and it was filed by the April 6, 1960, article which reported it (I didn't locate the outcome but Oklahoma City won far more disputes than it lost)
  • August 17, 1960: Another 3,440 acres (5.38 square miles) in Cleveland County bringing Oklahoma City's size to 370 square miles
  • August 20, 1960:Another 22.5 square miles bring the city's total to 392, mostly in Cleveland County but some in Canadian and McClain Counties; the 5½ square miles picked up in McClain County along the US 62 corridor where I-44 would come to be built, south of the Canadian River near Newcastle (this would later be agreeably de-annexed by the city, explained below) expanded Oklahoma City's presence to four counties: Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian, and McClain
  • September 7, 1960: 22.25 square miles in north central/eastern Oklahoma County, surrounding Forest Park and Lake Aluma and including the I-44 turnpike gate, bringing the total to 415.56 square miles; Council member L.J. Wilkes and Mayor Jim Norick expressed frustration about the city's inability to provide adequate police protection, but Council member John Moran opined that the police would be enabled by the annexation to provide protection they could not earlier give; click the link or the map below for the full article
  • November 1, 1961: 42 square miles were added in southeast Oklahoma County extending to the Oklahoma/Pottawatomie County line, bring the city total square miles to 475.55
  • November 29, 1961: Another little piece of McClain County around the I-44 toll gate 2½ miles south of the Canadian River (which toll gate no longer exists) was added, bringing the city's total square miles to 476.68; click the link or the map below for the full article

  • March 21, 1962: 55 square miles were added in eastern Canadian County between NW 36th and SW 89th, including Cimarron Field used during World War II to train Army Air Force pilots; total square miles became 538.268 and the east-west boundary distance became 39 miles
  • April 7, 1962: 71 square miles in the same 4 counties mentioned previously bringing the city's total to 608.031 square miles; click the link or the map below for the full article
  • April 25, 1962: 320 acres (½ square mile) were added — although relatively insignificant in size, this single acquisition represents Oklahoma City's sole entry into Pottawatomie County to date and it still stands, nubbin that it is. But, why stick a finger into Pottawatomie County, one might ask? Read the article and see the reasons given there. Reasons given don't include the likelihood that Pottawatomie County would be included in the Oklahoma City Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area and that strikes me as a more likely cause. Ordinarily, as was explained in this October 10, 1963, Oklahoman article, it was more or less automatic that both Pottawatomie and McClain Counties would be included in Oklahoma City's SMSA since a part of the city was within both of those counties. Enter Representative Tom Steed, Shawnee, and member of the House of Representative budget appropriations subcommittee, and violently opposed to Pottawatomie County's inclusion in Oklahoma City's SMSA. Using his influence, the census people backed off and Steed won the day.
  • August 13, 1986: 58 square miles in northwest Oklahoma County and a piece in Logan County next to Guthrie, bringing the city's total to 679.5 square miles, or, rounding up, to Oklahoma City's apex at 680 square miles; much if not all of the the Logan County property would later be agreeably de-annexed; click the link or the map below for the full article

That pretty much wraps up the Oklahoma City's the story on Oklahoma City's pinnacle of growth although a few smaller annexations are omitted.

STEPPING BACK. Voluntary shrinkage began to occur in 1986 during Mayor Andy Coats' tenure although it was earlier considered in Mayor Patience Latting's time. See this September 24, 1986 Oklahoman article which considers the opposite side of the annexation coin and October 6, 1986, article which does the same. A lengthy article appeared on the same topic in the August 3, 1987, Oklahoman, so long that I've broken it into two parts: Part A and Part B.

As for what actually was de-annexed, it came in pieces. As best as I've been able to determine, here's what happened with Logan and McClain Counties.

Part of the land acquired in Logan County and northern Oklahoma County was let go rather quickly after it was acquired, as mentioned in this September 24, 1986, Oklahoman article. Ironically, after de-annexation, some who had been affected petitioned Oklahoma City to "get back in," but a November 13, 1987, article reports that their petition was denied. Although part of the Logan County area was de-annexed, a petition that much of the remainder was denied. See this this October 16, 1986, article for a report on the request, and this November 11, 1986, article for city council's denial. At this writing, I'm uncertain as to whether any portion of Oklahoma City lies in Logan County, but I don't think that it does — Waterloo Road is the Oklahoma/Logan county line, and Oklahoma City's present Ward Map shows the northern city boundary to be about half-a-mile north of NW 192nd which is 4 miles south of Waterloo Road. I'll update this later if and when I find out with certainty, but it does not appear that Oklahoma City presently lies in Logan County.

McClain County property was released in stages: 1st, on petition by McClain County citians, in 1977 a 9 square mile part was let go. Later, in 1992, the remnant 1.6 square miles were released on petition, as well. This September 9, 1992, article reports on the petition, and this September 11 article reports that some did not want to leave Oklahoma City and become a part of Newcastle. This December 9, 1992, article reports that the council approved of the de-annexation request. Probably, there are a few others that escaped my attention as to how the city's remaining 622 square miles has remained stable for quite some time.

The 320 acres (½ square mile) in Pottawatomie County remains part of Oklahoma City as this is written.

The chart below shows the dramatic story:

Click on the chart for a larger view

A most excellent January 18, 1999, article and longer-than-you-see-these-days in the Oklahoman by Jack Money and Steve Lackmeyer gives an excellent overview of what had occurred. It is too long for one file and I've broken it into two parts: Part A and Part B The article contains a pretty neat graphic but the on-line Oklahoma archives don't show it particularly well ...

So, Doug Dawg spiffed it up a bit and made it more better!

Click on the image for a larger view

Another nice but less complete retrospective article, this one by Brian Brus, appeared in this April 18, 1999, article.

borg.jpgRESISTANCE WAS FUTILE. Efforts were made during Oklahoma City's expansion period to stop it. Almost always, those attempts failed. This September 16, 1959, article describes Chickasha State Senator Walt Allen's intention to slow it down. The article says that he and another senator had said that, "many cities within a 50-mile radius of Oklahoma City are fearful 'they will be gobbled up' unless the present law is changed." A September 10, 1960, Oklahoman article reported that the executive committee of the legislative council adopted a proposal of Norman's State Senator Robert Bailey to study a revision of annexation and dis-annexation laws. Meeting in Tulsa, the article reports that Bailey told the legislative council, "Now they are three miles out on the turnpike and are coming this way," an allusion that Tulsans, too, should be worried. In 1961, legislation was introduced which would limit Oklahoma City's expansion. But, the legislation was ultimately seen as unduly restricting other cities in their own circumstances and it was not passed.

Click the snippet below for the full article

It should also be mentioned that Oklahoma City was not the only land-grabber in the metro. Whether acting defensively or for their own future needs, cities like Edmond, but particularly Norman, did much the same. For example, see these articles concerning Norman's annexation: July 16, 1960, and July 27, 1960.

Anyway, Oklahoma City rarely suffered defeats in its 24-year long drive to annex the territory which would become a part of the home of its expected 1,000,000+ inhabitants. As of this writing, the Bureau of the Census estimates Oklahoma City's 2006 population at 537,734. But, maybe the hope, "If you build it, they will come," has just not had time to fully materialize!

Maybe next year!

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... Click here to read the full article and any comments ...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oklahoma City Population History

This is Part 1 of 2 articles which consider Oklahoma City's size.
For Part 2, Oklahoma City's Area Growth, click here.

POPULATION. The focus of this article is on population — the number of butts in the seats, so to speak. A researcher cannot obtain a city's specific population without obtaining data which relates to the entire state since the primary data source is the US Census Bureau. I want to know, authoritatively and from first-hand sources, what Oklahoma City's population has been at each point of official measurement, or even unofficial measurements if those might exist from reliable sources from time to time.

But, where are they to be found? All "first-hand" population data comes from the US Census Bureau. If you've ever attempted to navigate through the on-line records of the US Census Bureau, you may have experienced some of the same frustration that I have, from time to time. Whether I'm just not very smart about navigation there or whether the site is not particularly intuitive, or both, I don't know. Regardless, coming up with quick "on the fly" information at the Bureau's website has not been easy for me. That fact lead me to conclude, "Let's spend some of Doug Dawgz valuable time, find the sources there, and then make a database that can be used over and over, whenever the need or desire exists. That's what this article provides, for you and for me.

Using the PDF Population Files. Except for the 1907 census, all of the PDF files linked in this article have as their source other PDF files located at the Census Bureau's website. Not being able to locate Oklahoma's 1907 special census at the Census Bureau's collection, I did find it here at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries website.

For the files located at the US Census Bureau, they were (1) downloaded and (2) the Oklahoma references were identified. Then, (3) the graphic files were extracted, cropped and resized as needed, and some non-data blemishes were deleted, and then resaved. As an example, some of the original pages looked like that shown below (except for the curl which I just added for fun here:

Such a page was rotated, cropped to eliminate scanning blemishes, and new "clean" border space added.

The last step was to (4) create entirely new PDF files for the Oklahoma-based data, including making "bookmarks" in each PDF file. Each of the PDF files so made will open in "bookmark" view, looking something like the example below:

Zooming in for a closer look at the bookmarks

With the bookmark view open, click on a bookmark to move to that page's location. The bookmark feature makes the PDF files more user-friendly.

Notice the "+" sign in the above example. That means that a collapsible bookmark "tree" is present. When present, click in a "+" to expand the tree; click on a "-" to close it.

You may also prefer not to see the bookmarks ... just click on the bookmark "tab" at the right side to open or close the bookmarks in the viewing area.

Opening or saving the PDF files. To open any file, left-click on any link as you would normally do and the file will open. But, if you know that you want to save a file to your computer, the quickest way to do that is to right-click on a link and, from the pop-up menu, save the targeted file to somewhere on your computer's hard disk. The menu will vary depending on the web browser you are using. Firefox and Internet Explorer examples are shown below:

OKLAHOMA POPULATION DETAIL — THE POINT OF BEGINNING. While the eventual article will focus on Oklahoma City, this part focuses on the entire state's population as a point of beginning. It is principally intended to provide reliable research data for me as well as anyone else interested in knowing the history of Oklahoma population. In the past, I've recited various numbers of Oklahoma City's population in articles written here, relying upon what other writers have said. Sometimes, I've been frustrated in not quickly finding either small or large points of population history from what others have written in their books and articles or from the Census Bureau itself.

So, I decided to get my own first-hand information from the US Census Bureau or other authoritative sources that I could locate and then make a database for later use. While I was at it, I also decided that it would be good to make that database readily available, in one place, for anyone else that might want to use it. So, this section is really not about Oklahoma City, it is about Oklahoma.

I've located US Census files from 1890 and beyond, but where to stop for purposes of this article? For my purposes, that would probably be 1950 or so ... but I carried it forward two decades to 1970's official census to give a little elbow room should I later want that information, as well.

Below, the links below provide, at a minimum, the most Oklahoma-relevant portions of the census data for the periods identified below. Additional description is given after the links. All links are to PDF files which contain the raw data. "Parts" identified are not part of the US Census Bureau's nomenclature, they are mine.

1890 Census. I've included in the extracts below all parts which specifically or generally relate to Oklahoma. The 1890 census file is Oklahoma-complete, omitting nothing Oklahoma oriented.
  1. 1890 census, part 1  File size: 39 MB  description
  2. 1890 census, part 2  File size: 4.7 MB   description
  3. 1890 census, part 3  File size: 11 MB  description
  4. 1890 census, part 4  File size: 6.5 MB  description
  5. 1890 census, Appendix  File size: 2.3 MB  description
1900 Census. I've broken down 1900 census selections into two parts, and I've not included as much detail as I did with the 1890 census.
  1. 1900 census, part 1  File size: 4.8 MB  description  
  2. 1900 census, part 2  File size: 1.8 MB  description
1907 Census. The complete statehood file is included.
  1. 1907 census  File size: 7.6 MB  description  
1910 Census. I've broken down 1910 census selections into two parts, and I've not included as much detail as I did with the 1890 census.
  1. 1910 census, part 1  File size: 20 MB  description  
  2. 1910 census, part 2  File size: 21 MB  description
1920 Census. 1920's census is broken into four parts. Parts 3 and 4 are not as extensively bookmarked as parts 1 and 2.
  1. 1920 census, part 1  File size: 12 MB  description  
  2. 1920 census, part 2  File size: 11 MB  description
  3. 1920 census, part 3  File size: 13 MB  description
  4. 1920 census, part 4  File size: 8.5 MB  description
1930 Census. In these two files, I've avoided the hyper-detailed parts of the census report which analyze sex, race, birth place, agriculture, mines, etc., although summary information is sometimes available in what I've included. My focus is on numbers of people and the two files below contain that information.
  1. 1930 census  File size: 15 MB  description  
  2. 1930 census, metropolitan  File size: 9.15 MB  description
1940 Census. The same data presented for the 1930 census is included in this single file.
  1. 1940 census  File size: 13 MB  description  
1950 Census. My selections for the 1950 census are broken into three parts and focus on population and not much else.
  1. 1950 census, part 1  File size: 29.7 MB  description  
  2. 1950 census, part 2  File size: 27.3 MB  description
  3. 1950 census, part 3  File size: 17 MB  description
1960 Census. My selections for the 1960 census are the same as those used for 1950 -- population numbers.
  1. 1960 census, part 1  File size: 21.6 MB  description  
  2. 1960 census, part 2  File size: 23.5 MB  description
  3. 1960 census, part 3  File size: 5.59 MB  description
1970 Census. At present, only the Oklahoma-only population statistics are presented here.
  1. 1970 census  File size: 15.7 MB  description  

Brief File Descriptions. Very brief general statements about the particular PDF files are presented below. More detail is included in the files themselves. To move to the area to open or download particular files, click the link which begins each description.

1890 Part 1 is largely a 46 page history of the United States from 1790 though 1890, with a few bits of Oklahoma/Indian Territory information thrown in, and it contains some great United States maps, such as the one shown below.

The included 1820 map is 1st to identify Indian Territory

Zooming in ...

Although it contains occasional references to Indian or Oklahoma territories, I've mainly included it because of its comprehensive overview of United States history which, in our context, culminated in the 1889 and other Land Runs which would shortly follow.

1890 Part 2 contains 10 pages of standard population information that most are probably looking for — state by state comparative information and such county and town data as was contained in this census, which is not much.

1890 Part 3 contains 18 pages of detail by race, gender, and place of birth.

1890 Part 4 contains 75 pages of fairly esoteric detail: state or territory of birth, county of birth, foreign parentage, those of school, militia and voting age, conjugal (marital) condition, and dwellings and families.

1890 Appendix relates to Native American population, mostly Alaskan. Only the 6 pages which relate to Indian Territory are included.

1900 Part 1 is a 16 page extract of the standard population information that most probably want — county, city/town population, for both Oklahoma and Indian Territories.

1900 Part 2 includes 24 pages of detail about gender, race, and place of birth.

1907 includes the complete 43 page census file, directed to be taken upon Oklahoma's admission to statehood. It is often referred to as US Census "Special Bulletin 89." Unlike all other PDF files in this collection, the PDF pages are not "images" but are "text" and the blemishes, rotation, etc., in the original file cannot be corrected. The only items added in this file compared to the original are the navigation bookmarks.

1910 Part 1 is a 26 page extract of the standard population information that most probably want — county, city/town population, for both Oklahoma and Indian Territories.

1910 Part 2 contains 26 pages of detail concerning population composition (race, sex, place of birth, age, school attendance, illiteracy, and marital condition). The file contains detail for Oklahoma City's Wards and excellent county and city origin descriptions.

1920 Part 1 is a 26 page extract of the standard population information that most probably want — county, city/town population, for both Oklahoma and Indian Territories.

1920 Part 2 contains 30 pages of detail concerning population composition (race, sex, place of birth, age, school attendance, illiteracy, and marital condition). Detail about working women and home ownership is also included.

1920 Part 3 contains 46 pages relating to agriculture and irrigation. It is not presently extensively bookmarked.

1920 Part 4 contains 29 pages relating to manufacturers, mines, and quarries. it is not presently extensively bookmarked.

1930 contains 26 pages of Oklahoma population detail by city and county. I've not included data which is descriptive of gender, race, etc. If you want that, read it for yourself in this PDF file at the census website.

1930 Metropolitan contains 17 pages of data relating to Oklahoma's two metropolitan areas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including several general pages which describe how such areas were defined and pages which rank the then existing metropolitan areas in the country. A pair of maps show the Oklahoma areas, cropped versions appearing below:

Interestingly, notice that, at the time, the spatial area of the Tulsa metro (391.4 square miles) was considerably larger than Oklahoma City's much more compact area (181.78 square miles) all of which was located well inside Oklahoma County. That fact shows up in the metro population numbers ... note that, in 1920, Tulsa's metro population was slightly larger that Oklahoma City's.
Metropolitan Area   1920   1930
Oklahoma City   91,295   185,389
Non-Okc Metro   9,478   16,774
Okc Metro Total   100,773   202,163
Tulsa   72,919   141,258
Non-Tulsa Metro   31,460   41,949
Tulsa Metro Total   104,379   183,207
1940 contains the same type of data that 1931's files do, except that the data is all in a 20-page single file which includes metropolitan area information. If you want other types of census information, you can go to this Census Bureau page and find what you want.

The metropolitan area maps shown show the boundaries for the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas did not change from the 1930 census, even though the corporate municipal boundaries are slightly larger than in 1930, as shown in the maps below:

The statistics presented show the Tulsa metro to be relatively unchanged from the 1930 numbers, but that it did grow slightly in the non-Tulsa parts of the metro; Oklahoma City's growth was a bit more robust, largely occurring in the city itself, but the decade's growth was nothing to write home about.
Metropolitan Area   1930   1940
Oklahoma City   185,389   204,424
Non-Okc Metro   16,774   16,805
Okc Metro Total   202,163   221,229
Tulsa   141,258   142,157
Non-Tulsa Metro   41,949   46,405
Tulsa Metro Total   183,207   188,562
1950 Part 1 contains 37 pages of general census information. The main reason for its inclusion is its discussion of "Standard Metropolitan Area" (a new term in 1950), "Metropolitan Districts" (changed from 1940), and "Urbanized Areas" (a new term in in 1950). An Urbanized Area must contain at least one city of 50,000 or more in 1940 or by a special census prior to 1950 and also the surrounding closely settled incorporated and unincorporated places and areas that meet certain criteria (see p. 26). A Standard Metropolitan Area (except for New England) is a county or group of contiguous counties which contains at least one city of 50,000 inhabitants or more. See p. 32. Oklahoma's two SMAs are the counties only – Oklahoma County and Tulsa County. Metropolitan Districts was a term used in 1940 and, unless I've misunderstood, the term is included in the 1950 census only for the purpose of tracing from 1940. See pp. 34-35. Comparative 1940-1950 data for Oklahoma's 1940 Metropolitan Districts is presented in Part 2 at p. 15.

1950 Part 2 1950 Part 2 consists of 26 pages selected from the 83 page US Summary, including only those which addressed Oklahoma population, and not necessarily every one of them. At the least, I wanted to include Table 30 at p. 25 since it tracks the 1940 Metropolitan Districts into 1950. I considered excluding most other national comparisons/rankings but decided to include most of them since they might come in handy for reasons not presently anticipated. In any event, the following table traces data within the census files and compares the 1940 "Metropolitan Area" with 1950, 1st using the 1940 definition, 2nd using the 1950 "Urbanized Areas", 3rd using 1950's "Standard Metropolitan Areas" (in Oklahoma's case, county population):
1950, Using . . .
Metropolitan Area19401940 def.Urban. Area1950 SMA
Oklahoma City204,424243,504243,504243,504
Non-Okc part16,80533,50431,58781,848
Okc Total221,229277,282275,091325,352
Non-Tulsa part46,40565,79623,57168,946
Total Tulsa188,562248,536206,311251,686
1950 Part 3 is 23 pages of Oklahoma-only data. It includes summaries for counties and cities (including numbers dating back to 1890 or whenever the 1st census of a city was taken). The Urbanized Area maps for Oklahoma City & Tulsa are shown, cropped versions appearing below. Among other changes, Oklahoma City's Urbanized Area now includes Midwest City & Del City. The general breakdown is: Oklahoma City – 275,091 in the city plus 31,587 outside the city, 275,091 total; Tulsa – 182,740 in the city plus 23,571 outside the city, 206,311 total. Unless I missed it, city size in square miles is not shown in part 3.

Although somewhat similar to the metropolitan area maps for 1930 and 1940, above, differences are readily noticeable. Boundaries are irregularly shaped, skipping over essentially rural space, and they are no longer more or less rectangular; non-contiguous space is sometimes included (e.g., Del City & Midwest City, Highland Park); and city boundaries are different.

1960 Part 1 contains 33 pages of general census information. It is included for the same reasons mentioned in 1950 Part 1. The term "Standard Metropolitan Area" is no longer used and in its place is "Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area," defined in this part. The other term used is "Urbanized Area," introduced in 1950. The older (1940) "Metropolitan Districts" are no longer used. With 1960, Lawton was added to the list of SMSAs and Urbanized Areas.

1960 Part 2 contains 37 of the 66 pages of general US census information which are Oklahoma-oriented. Excluded are most charts and maps since I didn't see that they really added anything and only ballooned the file size unnecessarily. The map below is an example of something excluded from this file:

1960 Part 3 contains all 24 pages of Oklahoma number of inhabitants census file. It includes a couple of maps showing Oklahoma's Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Urbanized Areas, cropped versions of which appear below. Note that the SMSAs are county-defined (Lawton: Comanche; Oklahoma City: Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian; Tulsa: Tulsa, Creek, Osage).

Standard Metropolitan Stastical Areas

Urbanized Areas

The detail included in the above 1960 files, particularly the Part 3 file, reflects the following changes since the 1950 census, using the 1960 definitions (i.e., what the 1960 definitions would have produced in 1950):
Metropolitan Area1950
Lawton Total55,16590,803*Unclear61,941
Oklahoma City243,504324,253243,504324,253
Okc Total392,439511,833275,091429,188
Tulsa Total327,900418,974206,311298,922
* 1950 Lawton non-city Urbanized Area components are not clear. The census tables do not include comparable data for the 1950 census. The tables do show that Comanche County's 1950 population was 55,165 and that an 1950 "unorganized territory" item is shown as 7,120, which may be Ft. Sill. The 1960 tables reflect an "unorganized territory" item as 16,575, which may likewise be Ft. Sill. But whether or not Ft. Sill's population is included in the 1950 or 1960 county total is not likely since the 1960 total is Lawton proper plus only 244, obviously not including Ft. Sill.
1970 hasn't yet been completed as thoroughly as have the others in this collection (i.e., the definitions and national comparison portions from the "national" parts are not yet included). However, I wanted to go ahead and put up what I have so far -- the Oklahoma "number of inhabitants" element which has been included for the other census periods. This file contains the same types of data as do 1950 and 1960 Part 3 files and is 35 pages.

The file contains the following Urbanized Area maps for Lawton, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Click on the maps for larger views.

I've not had time to put together comparisons with the prior decades yet but that will come later.

DO YOU WANT MORE? If your Oklahoma population interests exceed what has been presented here, go to the US Census website and research on your own. A good starting point is to go to and, in the upper right corner, type in what you want to search for, as shown in the truncated graphic below:

Of course, other internet sources exist than the Census Bureau. So, start Googling and happy hunting!

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