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Tulia, Texas
Tulia, Texas.JPG
The City With A Future
Swisher County Tulia.svg
Country United States
State Texas
County Swisher
 • Total 3.5 sq mi (9.2 km2)
 • Land 3.5 sq mi (9.2 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
3,484 ft (1,062 m)
 • Total 4,967
 • Density 1,419/sq mi (539.9/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 806
FIPS code 48-73868
GNIS feature ID 1370199

Tulia is a city in, and county seat of, Swisher County, Texas, United States. The population was 4,967 at the 2010 census; in the 2013 census estimate, it had fallen to 4,903. The city is at the junction of U.S. Route 87 and Texas State Highway 86, approximately two miles east of Interstate 27. Tulia is a center for farming and agribusiness activities.


Its site was originally on the acreage of the Tule Ranch division of the JA Ranch. In 1887 a post office was established in James A. Parrish's dugout on Middle Tule Draw nine miles west of what is now the site of Tulia. Evidently the name Tule, after the nearby creek, had been selected for this post office, but at some point a clerk's error changed the name to Tulia. By 1900 Tulia was prospering as a stopping point for freight-wagon traffic en route to the railheads of Colorado City and Amarillo. A booming new era began with the extension of the Santa Fe line to Tulia in December 1906. With it came more settlers. In the mid-1980s local industrial plants manufactured products such as clothing and farm implements, and there were four large cattle-feeding enterprises nearby.


Tulia is located at 34°32′09″N 101°45′31″W / 34.5358942°N 101.7585159°W / 34.5358942; -101.7585159 (34.5358942, -101.7585159). It is located 46 miles (74 km) south of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2), all of it land.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Tulia has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 1,216
1920 1,189 −2.2%
1930 2,202 85.2%
1940 2,055 −6.7%
1950 3,222 56.8%
1960 4,410 36.9%
1970 5,294 20.0%
1980 5,033 −4.9%
1990 4,699 −6.6%
2000 5,117 8.9%
2010 4,967 −2.9%
Est. 2015 4,760 −4.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,117 people, 1,698 households, and 1,222 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,447.6 people per square mile (559.7/km2). There were 1,898 housing units at an average density of 537.0 per square mile (207.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 66.45% White, 8.40% African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 22.12% from other races, and 2.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 39.63% of the population.

There were 1,698 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.5% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% were non-families. 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city, the population was spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 113.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,794, and the median income for a family was $32,415. Males had a median income of $24,857 versus $20,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,956. About 16.0% of families and 19.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.7% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.

In media

A documentary Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War was filmed by Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler in 2003, and won the Best Documentary Short award at Woodstock Film Festival.

Another documentary, titled Tulia, Texas, filmed by Cassandra Herman and Kelly Whalen, premiered in 2008 at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin and aired on PBS February 10, 2009.

Presently, the Tulia 46 drug sting event is in movie production Tulia by Paramount Pictures, directed by John Singleton and starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry, scheduled for release in 2014.

The 1999 drug arrests were also explored in the documentary American Drug War: The Last White Hope.

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