View Full Version : Census & Size

Doug Loudenback
11-24-2008, 02:46 PM
Over the past several days, I've been developing a new article which, when done, will trace Oklahoma City's population and spatial size during its history. But, perhaps, the most valuable part of the article is that I've compiled from US Census files Oklahoma-specific census files from the very beginning through 1970 which may provide a useful research tool for others as well as me ... I may go beyond 1970 later, but now now. Since Oklahoma City data is only a subset of the full state census data, full Oklahoma census data is included in the files and not just Oklahoma City.

And, so, the article may well be most useful for nerds like me ... people who what to look at and ponder the original source data, looking for something important under the rock ... or, if not finding it, knowing that it's not been a waste of time because the Port Aransas/Corpus Christi beach is just a short drive south of Oklahoma City and that the North Padre Island area contains the balm which soothes all mis-adventures from wherever weary travelers may come! :dizzy:

The census files I've occasionally wanted to look at were not easy for me to find when I wanted them ... so I've spent some time finding them and then massaging them into better looking and more useful user-friendly files. Each such resulting file is a bookmarked PDF file which can be downloaded or opened within the article. So far, I've gotten through 1950 ... the list of available files as this is written appears below ...

There's a lot of good stuff in those files, other than mere population. For example, who'd have thought that, in the 1920 census, Tulsa (which was only a bump on the map in 1900) would actually have a larger metro area population than Oklahoma City? I wouldn't have thunk it. But, here are the numbers:

"Oklahoma's" 1st appearance in the US Census data appears to have been in 1820 when "Indian Territory" first appeared ...

The census files also contain graphics (and of course detailed data) which show Oklahoma City's spatial development. The 1st of these that I found was in a 1930 graphic showing Oklahoma City's then "Metropolitan District" ... the dark boundary represents Oklahoma City at the time, a modestly small area on the map ...

As I said, this article will most likely only be fun for nerds. But, as we nerds recall, "We ... are the champions ... my friend" ... da dum dum da dum da dum ... :rock_guit

After I get the "population" items done, I'll then turn to "space" ... how was it that Oklahoma City got t..h..i..s big?

11-24-2008, 05:27 PM
This is great stuff, Doug. Good job! I think this will be very useful for research projects as well as collector material.

11-24-2008, 09:21 PM
I don't know where you find time to do all this stuff....but I'm glad you do!

Doug Loudenback
11-25-2008, 03:27 PM
Thanks, guys. I've now added the 1960 census. A graphic showing 1960's "Urbanized Area" is shown below:

At that time, Oklahoma City's "Urbanized Area" definition (above) equated to 429,188. It's "Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area" (a new term for 1960) which embraced Oklahoma, Canadian, and Cleveland counties, was 511,833.

Doug Loudenback
12-02-2008, 09:01 PM
Except for a little cleanup work, I'm pretty much done with the article on Oklahoma City's size (area) history but I split it off from the population post into its own article: Doug Dawgz Blog: Oklahoma City Area History (

In a nutshell, the 2 pics which follow tell the story: