Kay County, Oklahoma

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Kay County, Oklahoma
Kay County Oklahoma Courthouse by Smallchief.jpg
Kay County Courthouse
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Kay County
Location in the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Founded 1893
Seat Newkirk
Largest city Ponca City
 • Total 945 sq mi (2,448 km2)
 • Land 920 sq mi (2,383 km2)
 • Water 25 sq mi (65 km2), 2.7%
Population (est.)
 • (2013) 45,633
 • Density 51/sq mi (20/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.courthouse.kay.ok.us

Kay County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 46,562.[1] Its county seat is Newkirk,[2] and the largest city is Ponca City.

Kay County comprises the Ponca City, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is in north central Oklahoma on the Kansas state line.

Before statehood, Kay County was formed from the “Cherokee Strip” or “Cherokee Outlet” and originally designated as county “K.” Its name means simply that.[3][4] Kay County is the only county to keep its same name as the Oklahoma area moved from a territory to a state.


After the Civil War, the Cherokee Nation had to allow the Federal Government to relocate other Native American tribes to settle in the area known as the Cherokee Outlet, The Kansa (Kaw) arrived in June 1873, settling in what would become the northeastern part of Kay County. The Ponca followed in 1877. The Nez Perce came from the Pacific Northwest in 1879, but remained only until 1885, when they returned to their earlier homeland. Their assigned land in Oklahoma was then occupied by the Tonkawa and Lipan Apache people.[3]

The Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, north of Newkirk, was a boarding school for Indians that operated from 1884 to 1980. Its enrollment peaked at 1,300 in the 1950s and its graduates include members of 126 Indian tribes. The distinguished old buildings of the school were constructed of local limestone.[5]

In 2010, the Keystone-Cushing Pipeline (Phase II) was constructed north to south through Kay County to Cushing in Payne County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 945 square miles (2,450 km2), of which 920 square miles (2,400 km2) is land and 25 square miles (65 km2) (2.7%) is water.[6] The highest point in Kay County, Oklahoma, is west of North Sage Lane, at greater than 1,310 feet above sea level. The northern boundary is the border with Kansas and its eastern boundary is with Osage County. Kaw Lake, a large reservoir on the Arkansas River completed in 1975 includes most of the water area of the country. East of Kaw Lake and the Arkansas River is the region called the Osage Hills or The Osage, a tall-grass prairie region of large livestock, mostly cattle, ranches. West of the Arkansas River the land is flatter and a mixture of cultivated lands and livestock ranches. Principal rivers flowing through the county are the Chikaskia River, the Arkansas River and the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River.[3]

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 22,530
1910 26,999 19.8%
1920 34,907 29.3%
1930 50,186 43.8%
1940 47,084 −6.2%
1950 48,892 3.8%
1960 51,042 4.4%
1970 48,791 −4.4%
1980 49,852 2.2%
1990 48,056 −3.6%
2000 48,080 0.0%
2010 46,562 −3.2%
Est. 2014 45,478 [7] −2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 48,080 people, 19,157 households, and 13,141 families residing in the county. The population density was 52 people per square mile (20/km²). There were 21,804 housing units at an average density of 24 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.16% White, 1.79% Black or African American, 7.53% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.98% from other races, and 4.00% from two or more races. 4.25% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 19,157 households out of which 31.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.70% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.40% were non-families. 27.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.40% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 25.00% from 25 to 44, 22.80% from 45 to 64, and 17.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,762, and the median income for a family was $38,144. Males had a median income of $30,431 versus $19,617 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,643. About 12.40% of families and 16.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.70% of those under age 18 and 9.50% of those age 65 or over.


Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012[13]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 9,483 38.29%
  Republican 12,405 50.09%
  Unaffiliated 2,879 11.62%
Total 24,767 100%
Presidential election results[14]
Year Republican Democrat
2008 70.78% 13,230 29.22% 5,463
2004 70.33% 14,121 29.67% 5,957
2000 64.79% 11,768 33.71% 6,122


NRHP sites

The following sites in Kay County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

Notable people


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 9, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Linda D. Wilson, "KayCounty." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
  4. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 172.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Brumley, Kim. Chilocco: Memories of a Native American Boarding School. Fairfax, OK: Guardian Publishing Co., 2010, p. 37
  6. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 21, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  10. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 21, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 21, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. http://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/reg_0112.pdf
  14. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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