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McCurtain County, Oklahoma facts for kids

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McCurtain County
The McCurtain County Courthouse is located downtown in Idabel.
The McCurtain County Courthouse is located downtown in Idabel.
Map of Oklahoma highlighting McCurtain County
Location within the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Oklahoma
Founded 1907
Seat Idabel
Largest city Idabel
 • Total 1,902 sq mi (4,930 km2)
 • Land 1,850 sq mi (4,800 km2)
 • Water 52 sq mi (130 km2)  2.8%%
 • Total 33,151
 • Estimate 
 • Density 18/sq mi (7/km2)
Congressional district 2nd
McCurtain County National Bank, Idabel, OK IMG 8510
McCurtain County National Bank in Broken Bow, Oklahoma

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


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.

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.


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. It is the third-largest county in Oklahoma by area. 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.

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.

Major highways

  • US 70.svg U.S. Highway 70
  • US 259.svg U.S. Highway 259
  • Oklahoma State Highway 3.svg State Highway 3
  • Oklahoma State Highway 4.svg State Highway 4
  • Oklahoma State Highway 37.svg State Highway 37
  • Oklahoma State Highway 87.svg State Highway 87
  • Oklahoma State Highway 98.svg State Highway 98

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%
2019 (est.) 32,832 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

At the 2000 census there were 34,402 people, 13,216 households, and 9,541 families 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 makup 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%. were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.6% were of American, 7.6% Irish and 5.9% English ancestry. 94.4% spoke English, 2.9% Spanish and 2.6% Choctaw as their first language.

Of the 13,216 households 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 households were one person and 11.00% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.06.

The age distribution was 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% 65 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 household income was $24,162 and the median family income 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.




Census-designated place

Other unincorporated communities


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.

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.

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

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de McCurtain para niños

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