Yoakum County, Texas

Not to be confused with Yoakum, Texas.
Yoakum County, Texas

The courthouse of Yoakum County in Plains
Map of Texas highlighting Yoakum County
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1907
Seat Plains
Largest town Denver City
  Total 800 sq mi (2,072 km2)
  Land 800 sq mi (2,072 km2)
  Water 0.01 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
  (2010) 7,879
  Density 9.9/sq mi (4/km²)
Congressional district 19th
Website www.co.yoakum.tx.us

Yoakum County is a county located in the far western portion of the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,879.[1] Its county seat is Plains.[2] The county was created in 1876 and later organized in 1907.[3] It is named for Henderson King Yoakum, a Texas historian.

Until the passage of a liquor sales referendum held on May 11, 2013, Yoakum had been one of nineteen remaining prohibition or entirely dry counties within the state of Texas.[4] Voters in Denver City also approved a separate referendum to permit liquor sales within that community.[5]

In 1965, Recorded Texas Historic Landmark Number 5927 was placed at the county courthouse, acknowledging the creation of the county in 1876.[6]

Until after 1900, the county contained primarily nomadic buffalo hunters and a few scattered ranchers. Yoakum County was organized in 1907, and the population increased to 602 because of the sale of state land deeds.[7]


Native Americans

Early tribes included Suma-Jumano, Comanche, Cheyenne and Kiowa.[8]

County established

The Texas legislature established Yoakum County from Bexar County in 1876. The county was organized in 1907, and Plains became the county seat. In 1900, the area had only twenty-six residents. There was only one ranch in the county that year devoted to cattle, rather than crops.[9]

Sale of state land after 1900 brought an increase in population. By 1910, there were 107 farms or ranches in the area, and the population had increased to 602.[8]

By 1920, there were 109 ranches or farms in the area, but the population had fallen to 504. More than 21,000 cattle were reported that year, but crop cultivation remained limited; about 2,200 acres (8.9 km2) were planted in corn, 600 in sorghum, and 47 in cotton. During the 1920s the county experienced a minor expansion of crop farming, and cotton became the most important crop; by 1930 over 10,000 acres (40 km2) were devoted to cotton. There were 239 farms, and the population had increased to 1,263.[8]

The first oil well in the county gushed in 1935. Denver City benefited with a resulting boom economy. By January 1, 1991, almost 1,664,036,000 barrels (264,560,600 m3) of oil had been taken from county lands since 1936.[10]

Irrigation in the county led to more acres being planted on sorghum, cotton, alfalfa, watermelons and castor beans. In 1982, 93 percent of the land in Yoakum County was in farms and ranches, and 44 percent of the farmland was under cultivation. Some 110,000 acres (450 km2) were irrigated. About 95 percent of agricultural revenue was derived from crops, especially cotton, sorghum, wheat, hay, and corn.[8]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 800 square miles (2,100 km2), virtually all of which is land.[11]

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20158,546[12]8.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1850–2010[14] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 7,322 people, 2,469 households, and 2,007 families residing in the county. The population density was 9 people per square mile (4/km²). There were 2,974 housing units at an average density of 4 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 70.62% White, 1.39% Black or African American, 0.71% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 25.48% from other races, and 1.65% from two or more races. 45.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,469 households out of which 43.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.80% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.70% were non-families. 17.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the county, the population was spread out with 32.10% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 26.80% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 94.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,672, and the median income for a family was $36,772. Males had a median income of $32,188 versus $19,913 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,504. About 17.60% of families and 19.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.00% of those under age 18 and 13.00% of those age 65 or over.


See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. "Texas: Individual County Chronologies". Texas Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  4. http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/local_option_elections/index.asp
  5. "Voters approve sales of alcohol in three elections". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  6. "Yoakum County - Plains, Yoakum County, Texas". Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. William Nienke, Sam Morrow. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  7. Yoakum County Texas Historical Marker
  8. 1 2 3 4 Leffler, John. "Yoakum County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  9. Bennett, Leoti A. "Plains, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  10. Smith, Julie Cauble. "Wasson Field". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  11. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  12. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  13. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  14. "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  15. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.

Coordinates: 33°11′N 102°49′W / 33.18°N 102.82°W / 33.18; -102.82

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