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Woods County, Oklahoma facts for kids

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Woods County
Historic Central National Bank in Alva (2017)
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Woods 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 1893
Named for Samuel Newitt Wood
Seat Alva
Largest city Alva
 • Total 1,290 sq mi (3,300 km2)
 • Land 1,286 sq mi (3,330 km2)
 • Water 3.5 sq mi (9 km2)  0.3%%
 • Total 8,878
 • Estimate 
 • Density 6.9/sq mi (2.7/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Woods County is a county located in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,878. Its county seat is Alva. The county is named after Samuel Newitt Wood, a renowned Kansas populist.


The known explorer of the area now contained within Woods County was George C. Sibley, who traveled through in 1811. He visited a salt formation near the present town of Freedom, Oklahoma, then followed the Mountain Fork of the Arkansas River southeastward to the Great Salt Plains. In 1843, Nathan Boone traveled along the Cimarron River.

The area was part of the so-called Cherokee Outlet, acquired by the Cherokee Nation under the Treaty of New Echota. It later became important for cattle ranching. The Dodge City and Red Fork Trail, a branch of the Chisholm Trail followed the north bank of the Cimarron River en route to Kansas. The U. S. Government acquired the Cherokee Outlet under Congressional Acts in 1889, 1891 and 1893, and divided the area into counties. One of these was designated M County, prior to opening the area for settlement. The Secretary of the Interior designated Alva as the county seat. M County was renamed Woods County by a ballot measure on November 6, 1894. The name was one of 3 put forth on the ballot, and was the Populists party's submission to honor Samuel Newitt Wood, a Kansas Populist. Despite the name being misspelled on the ballot, the election committee "decided to keep the s for euphony sake". Woods County became part of Oklahoma Territory.

The Constitutional Convention of 1906 created Major County and Alfalfa County from southern and eastern parts of Woods County and added a part of Woodward County to Woods County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,290 square miles (3,300 km2), of which 1,286 square miles (3,330 km2) is land and 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2) (0.3%) is water. It is located along the Kansas border.

Major highways

  • US 64.svg U.S. Highway 64
  • US 281.svg U.S. Highway 281
  • Oklahoma State Highway 11.svg State Highway 11
  • Oklahoma State Highway 14.svg State Highway 14
  • Oklahoma State Highway 34.svg State Highway 34
  • Oklahoma State Highway 45.svg State Highway 45

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 17,567
1920 15,939 −9.3%
1930 17,005 6.7%
1940 14,915 −12.3%
1950 14,526 −2.6%
1960 11,932 −17.9%
1970 11,920 −0.1%
1980 10,923 −8.4%
1990 9,103 −16.7%
2000 9,089 −0.2%
2010 8,878 −2.3%
2019 (est.) 8,793 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019
USA Woods County, Oklahoma age pyramid
Age pyramid for Woods County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data.

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 8,878 people, 3,533 households, and 2,133 families residing in the county. The population density was 7 people per square mile (3/km2). There were 4,478 housing units at an average density of 3.5 per square mile (1.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.4% white, 3.3% black or African American, 2.4% Native American, 0.9% Asian, less than 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.3% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. 4.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,533 households, out of which 23.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. 32.3% of households were made up of individuals, and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. 8.2% of the population was institutionalized The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 18.8% under the age of 18, 18.6% from 18 to 24, 22.3% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.7 years. For every 100 females there were 114.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.9 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $47,255, and the median income for a family was $60,500. Males had a median income of $39,754 versus $23,897 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,935. About 8% of families and 16% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10% of those age 65 or over.


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