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Payne County, Oklahoma facts for kids

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Payne County
Payne County Courthouse
Payne County Courthouse
Official seal of Payne County
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Payne 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 May 2, 1890
Named for Capt. David L. Payne
Seat Stillwater
Largest city Stillwater
 • Total 697 sq mi (1,810 km2)
 • Land 685 sq mi (1,770 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (30 km2)
 • Total 77,350
 • Estimate 
 • Density 113/sq mi (44/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Payne County is located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 77,350. Its county seat is Stillwater. The county was created in 1890 as part of Oklahoma Territory and is named for Capt. David L. Payne, a leader of the "Boomers".

Payne County comprises the Stillwater, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area. The county lies northeast of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area although some consider it an extension of the Oklahoma City metro area due to commuter patterns and other indicators.


This county was established and named as the Sixth County by the Oklahoma Organic Act of 1890. It included land settled during the Land Run of 1889. The Organic Act settled a dispute between the towns of Stillwater and Perkins over which should be the county seat.

Eastern Oklahoma Railway built two lines in Payne County between 1900 and 1902, then immediately leased them to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

In 2010, the Keystone-Cushing Pipeline (Phase II) was constructed into Payne County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 697 square miles (1,810 km2), of which 685 square miles (1,770 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (1.8%) is water.

Payne County is covered by rolling plains, mostly within the Sandstone Hills physiographic region, but with the western part of the county in the Red Bed plains. The county has two significant reservoirs: McMurtry Lake and Carl Blackwell Lake. The Cimarron River and Stillwater Creek drain most of the county.

Major Highways

  • I-35 (OK).svg Interstate 35
  • US 177.svg U.S. Highway 177
  • US 412.svg U.S. Highway 412
  • Oklahoma State Highway 18.svg State Highway 18
  • Oklahoma State Highway 33.svg State Highway 33
  • Oklahoma State Highway 51.svg State Highway 51
  • Oklahoma State Highway 86.svg State Highway 86
  • Oklahoma State Highway 99.svg State Highway 99
  • Oklahoma State Highway 108.svg State Highway 108


  • KSWO - Stillwater Regional Airport

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 7,215
1900 20,909 189.8%
1910 23,735 13.5%
1920 30,180 27.2%
1930 36,905 22.3%
1940 36,057 −2.3%
1950 46,430 28.8%
1960 44,231 −4.7%
1970 50,654 14.5%
1980 62,435 23.3%
1990 61,507 −1.5%
2000 68,190 10.9%
2010 77,350 13.4%
Est. 2019 81,784 5.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019
USA Payne County, Oklahoma age pyramid
Age pyramid for Payne County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data.

As of the census of 2000, there were 68,190 people, 26,680 households, and 15,314 families residing in the county. The population density was 99 people per square mile (38/km2). There were 29,326 housing units at an average density of 43 per square mile (16/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 84.33% White, 3.63% Black or African American, 4.58% Native American, 3.00% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.77% from other races, and 3.64% from two or more races. 2.15% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 26,680 households, out of which 25.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.60% were married couples living together, 8.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.60% were non-families. 30.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 19.60% under the age of 18, 25.90% from 18 to 24, 26.20% from 25 to 44, 17.60% from 45 to 64, and 10.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 103.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,733, and the median income for a family was $40,823. Males had a median income of $31,132 versus $21,113 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,983. About 10.80% of families and 20.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.00% of those under age 18 and 8.50% of those age 65 or over.




Unincorporated communities

NRHP sites

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

  • James E. Berry House, Stillwater
  • Campus Fire Station, Stillwater
  • Citizens Bank Building (Stillwater, Oklahoma), Stillwater
  • Cottonwood Community Center, Stillwater
  • Cushing American Legion Building, Cushing
  • Cushing Armory, Cushing
  • William Frick House, Stillwater
  • Hoke Building, Stillwater
  • Hopkins Sandstone House and Farmstead, Ripley
  • Irvings Castle, Ingalls
  • Josephine Reifsnyder Lustron House, Stillwater
  • Magruder Plots, Stillwater
  • Murphy House, Stillwater
  • Oklahoma A & M College Agronomy Barn and Seed House, Stillwater
  • Old Central, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
  • Payne County Courthouse, Stillwater
  • Perkins Downtown Historic District, Perkins
  • Pleasant Valley School, Stillwater
  • Selph Building, Stillwater
  • Stillwater Santa Fe Depot, Stillwater
  • Jim Thorpe House, Yale
  • Walker Building, Stillwater

Other landmarks include:

  • Allen Williamson Bridge - Memorial bridge near Ripley, named after the Oklahoma Representative Allen Williamson.


Agriculture was the basis of the county economy for more than fifty years. The primary crops were cotton, corn and wheat.

World War II caused hundreds of students at Oklahoma A & M to leave school for military service. To offset this loss to the local economy, civic and college leaders lobbied military officials and Oklahoma Senator Mike Monroney to have the school designated as a war training center. This resulted in the establishment of twelve training programs for the Navy, with nearly 40,000 people. The wartime experience showed local political leaders that it would be essential to diversify the county's economic base. They formed an Industrial Foundation to attract manufacturing plants and industrial jobs. This effort succeeded and accelerated an increase in population.


Old Central
"Old Central", first building constructed for Oklahoma A&M College, ca. 1894

Educational entities located in Payne County include:

  • Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education
  • Oklahoma State University-Stillwater
  • Northern Oklahoma College
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