McCurtain County, Oklahoma

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McCurtain County, Oklahoma
McCurtain County, OK, Courthouse in Idabel IMG 8498.JPG
The McCurtaiin County Courthouse is located downtown in Idabel.
Map of Oklahoma highlighting McCurtain County
Location in the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Founded 1907
Seat Idabel
Largest city Idabel
 • Total 1,902 sq mi (4,926 km2)
 • Land 1,850 sq mi (4,791 km2)
 • Water 52 sq mi (135 km2), 2.8%
Population (est.)
 • (2013) 33,065
 • Density 18/sq mi (7/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
McCurtain County National Bank in Broken Bow, Oklahoma

McCurtain County is located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,151.[1] Its county seat is Idabel.[2] It was formed at statehood from part of the earlier Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory.[3] The name honors an influential Choctaw family that lived in the area. Green McCurtain was the last chief when the Choctaw Nation was dissolved before Oklahoma became a state in 1907.[4]


The area now included in McCurtain County was part of the Choctaw Nation before Oklahoma became a state. In the 1820s, it was a major part of Miller County, Arkansas. The area was sparsely populated, with no roads or bridges and no towns. There were post offices established at small trading posts along the various trails. Towns began to form when the Arkansas and Choctaw Railway (later the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) was built across the area in 1902. Between 1910 and 1921 the Choctaw Lumber Company laid tracks for the Texas, Oklahoma and Eastern Railroad from Valliant, Oklahoma to DeQueen, Arkansas. These roads still served the area at the beginning of the 21st Century.[3]

Initially, the county experienced difficulty functioning because of lack of funds. When the Choctaws accepted their land allotments, their homesteads were not taxable for twenty-one years. No roads were built until a decade after statehood. There were no bridges, so ferries carried people and vehicles across the major streams.[3]


Spillway at Broken Bow Lake

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,902 square miles (4,930 km2), of which 1,850 square miles (4,800 km2) is land and 52 square miles (130 km2) (2.8%) is water.[5] It is the third-largest county in Oklahoma by area.[3] The terrain of McCurtain county varies from the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in the northern part of the county to the rich Red River bottoms of the southern part. Sections of the Mountain Fork and Little River drainages lie in McCurtain county. Glover River originates in McCurtain County and flows 33.2 miles (53.4 km) to its confluence with Little River southeast of Wright City. Broken Bow Lake was created in 1968 by damming the Mountain Fork River. Mountain Fork river is one of the two year round trout fisheries in the state. The lowest point in the state of Oklahoma is located on the Little River in McCurtain County, where it flows out of Oklahoma and into Arkansas.[3]

The county also contains McCurtain County Wilderness Area, a 14,087 acre tract created in 1918 and managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.[6]

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 20,681
1920 37,905 83.3%
1930 34,759 −8.3%
1940 41,318 18.9%
1950 31,588 −23.5%
1960 25,851 −18.2%
1970 28,642 10.8%
1980 36,151 26.2%
1990 33,433 −7.5%
2000 34,402 2.9%
2010 33,151 −3.6%
Est. 2014 33,050 [7] −0.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2013[1]
Map of McCurtain County, 1909

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 34,402 people, 13,216 households, and 9,541 families residing in the county. The population density was 7/km² (19/mi²). There were 15,427 housing units at an average density of 3/km² (8/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 70.54% White, 9.30% Black or African American, 13.57% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.34% from other races, and 5.02% from two or more races. 3.09% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.6% were of American, 7.6% Irish and 5.9% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 94.4% spoke English, 2.9% Spanish and 2.6% Choctaw as their first language.

There were 13,216 households out of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.30% were married couples living together, 14.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.80% were non-families. 25.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out with 28.20% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 26.20% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $24,162, and the median income for a family was $29,933. Males had a median income of $26,528 versus $17,869 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,693. About 21.00% of families and 24.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.40% of those under age 18 and 21.20% of those age 65 or over.


Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012[13]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 12,246 79.97%
  Republican 2,170 14.17%
  Unaffiliated 898 5.86%
Total 15,314 100%
Presidential election results[14]
Year Republican Democrat
2008 73.49% 7,745 26.51% 2,794
2004 66.98% 7,472 33.02% 3,684
2000 62.97% 6,601 35.79% 3,752


Agriculture and forestry have dominated the county's economy. The dense forests that originally covered the area were cleared and processed within two decades after statehood. The cleared lands then became subsistence farms. Cotton was the main money crop, until the cotton market collapsed during the Great Depression. Cattle raising, as well as production of swine and poultry, replaced cotton farming in importance. Cotton farms in the Red River valley began raising grains and forage instead.[3]

Natural reseeding and active reforestation projects, both public and private, have replenished much of the harvested forest area. This revitalized the timber industry, which is again important to the county economy.[3]

Limestone, sand and gravel are extracted for extensive local use.[3]




Unincorporated communities

See also


  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 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Coleman, Louis. "McCurtain County," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society, 2009. Accessed April 4, 2015.
  4. "Origin of County Names in Oklahoma." In: Chronicles of Oklahoma. Volume 2, Number 1. March, 1924. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  5. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "McCurtain County Wilderness Area." McCurtain County Tourism Authority. 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  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>
  9. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 21, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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>
  14. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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