Waco, Texas Population 2019

138,183

Waco is a city located in the state of Texas, and it is the county seat of McLennan County. Waco marks the halfway point between the larger cities of Dallas and Austin. Recent estimates show that the population of this city – which is dubbed the “Heart of Texas” -- is 138,183. Waco is the 22nd most populous city in Texas and the 197th most populous city in the United States.

Waco, Texas City History

Waco, like many other cities in the United States, was originally inhabited by indigenous tribes, primarily the Wichita tribe, also known as the Waco. Thomas Duke explored the area during the 1820s after the tribes fought off European settlers. A treaty was signed with the people in 1825, but the tribe was eventually forced off of the land and settled near what is now Fort Worth. The first settler in the area is noted as Neil McLennan in 1838. The first city block was designed in 1849, and later that year, the first home was constructed. Though the name Lamartine was proposed, the area was instead called Waco Village after the tribe that had lived there before.

During the next decade, the citizens of Waco aimed to build a bridge over the Brazos River. To take on the project, the Waco Bridge Company was formed. The company created the brick Waco Suspension Bridge, a 475-foot bridge that was finished in 1870. The construction of the bridge led to a boost in the economy, as a toll was required to pass. The population then began to grow as more immigrants made their way over. The bridge still stands today and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The city was thriving, and the population was growing through the 19th century. Other notable things that occurred during this period were the invention of Dr. Pepper in 1885 and the relocation of Baylor University from Independence to Waco. Toward the end of the 1800s, Waco published the Iconoclast newspaper, which was very successful. The city, which had an economy centered on agriculture, built a fair and exhibition center, which drew in more than eight million attendees. Unfortunately, the original building burned in a fire in the early 1900s, and the rebuilt structure was torn down following the Great Depression.

An odd event in Waco was the “Crash” of 1896. This was meant to be entertaining for citizens and featured two trains that were going to crash head-on. Unfortunately, this stunt resulted in the deaths and injuries of multiple people when the boilers exploded.

This wasn’t the only bad thing to happen in Waco. The Waco Horror became national news after a young teenager was tortured and burned in the town square after citizens took matters into their own hands following the conviction of the teenager, who had been accused of killing a white woman. After this incident, the city worked to improve protections for African Americans.

Waco Army Air Field was opened in 1942, later becoming Connally Air Force Base, then James Connally Air Force Base. Though it closed in the 1960s, it is now the site of the Texas State Technical College. Waco’s airfield, however, is still open today and is the TSTC Waco Airport.

The next few decades saw more highs and lows for the city. A tornado killed hundreds in the 1950s and remains one of the deadliest tornados in US and state history. In the 1970s, bones were found that were dated to be over 68,000 years old and are thought to have belonged to a mammoth. Other animal remains were also found at the site.

Waco was once the home of the White House Press Center. In recent years, the city has constructed a riverwalk, which is one of its many attractions. Other attractions include museums, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, parks, and the Dr. Pepper Museum. The city is also home to many professional sports teams.

Waco Population Statistics

The largest age group is residents under the age of 18, making up over one-quarter of the population. The 25 to 44 age group makes up one-quarter of the population, while over 13% of residents are over the age of 65. The city has a higher ratio of females to males – there are 87.3 males for every 100 females. Over 26% of the population lives below the federal poverty line.

The city’s schools and higher education institutions drive the economy and employ many of Waco’s residents. The top employers are Baylor University, Waco Independent School District, Providence Health Center, L3 Technologies, and Baylor Scott & White Health.

Waco Population Growth

At the time of almost every census, Waco has shown growth in its population. The city’s population grew to over 50,000 at the time of the 1930 census, then increased to over 100,000 in 1990. The city’s population has continued to grow at a slow but steady rate over the last two polls taken during 2000 and 2010. Recent estimates show that the population has grown over 7% since the last census, and Waco is heading toward 150,000 residents. Based on past trends, the city will no doubt hit its next milestone in the years ahead.

Waco Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Waco was:

  • White: 68.42%
  • Black or African American: 21.24%
  • Other race: 5.03%
  • Two or more races: 2.63%
  • Asian: 2.15%
  • Native American: 0.48%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.06%

How Many People Live in Waco, Texas?

138,183
Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2018138,1831,7501.28%
2017136,4332,9162.18%
2016133,5171,6351.24%
2015131,8821,9571.51%
2014129,9258600.67%
2013129,0651,5221.19%
2012127,5431,0630.84%
2011126,4801,0710.85%
2010125,40911,6830.98%
2000113,72610,1360.94%
1990103,5902,3290.23%
1980101,2615,9350.61%
197095,326-2,482-0.26%
196097,80813,1021.45%
195084,70628,7244.23%
194055,9823,1340.58%
193052,84814,3483.22%
192038,50012,0753.84%
191026,4255,7392.48%
190020,6866,2413.66%
189014,4457,1507.07%
18807,2954,2879.26%
18703,0080.00%
Year Total Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2018271,9423,3921.25%
2017268,5503,5901.34%
2016264,9602,2060.83%
2015262,7542,3200.88%
2014260,4341,7040.65%
2013258,7301,7660.68%
2012256,9641,2650.49%
2011255,6991,8870.74%
2010253,8120.00%

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White90,30968.42%
Black or African American28,03921.24%
Some Other Race6,6375.03%
Two or More Races3,4652.63%
Asian2,8392.15%
American Indian and Alaska Native6290.48%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander780.06%

Waco Population Pyramid 2019

Waco Median Age

28.6


Total

27.4


Male

30


Female

Waco Adults

There are 100,114 adults, (15,458 of whom are seniors) in Waco.

Waco Age Dependency

55.9

Age Dependency Ratio

18.3

Old Age Dependency Ratio

37.7

Child Dependency Ratio

Waco Sex Ratio

Female

67,688

51.28%

Male

64,308

48.72%

Waco Households and Families

Waco Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Waco Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married68.5%31.5%
All45.2%54.8%
Male45.1%54.9%
Female35.2%64.8%
Non Family28.7%71.3%

45.2%

Rate of Home Ownership

Type Count Average Size Owned
All47,6752.5945.2
Non Family19,4471.4128.7
Married17,4613.4268.5
Female8,2943.4435.2
Male2,4733.2745.1

3.31

Average Family Size

2.59

Average Household Size

4.8%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.2%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Waco Education

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade6,0188.21%
9th to 12th Grade8,36411.40%
High School Graduate19,92227.16%
Some College15,89721.67%
Associates Degree6,3718.69%
Bachelors Degree10,66114.54%
Graduate Degree6,1128.33%

Waco Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White35,31032,85512,384
Hispanic19,97811,0171,527
Black15,88313,1641,789
Other Race3,5552,133187
Asian1,3171,166835
Multiple Races1,014920239
Native American259167
Islander4526

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 93.05%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 63.40%.

Name Average Male Female
Overall$28,927$31,976$25,180
Less Than High School$19,953$24,204$14,061
High School Grad$24,374$27,497$20,663
Some College$28,097$32,080$24,884
Bachelors Degree$46,043$60,455$38,462
Graduate Degree$56,585$71,342$52,810

$28,927

Average Earnings

$31,976

Average Male

$25,180

Average Female

Waco Language

Waco Language by Age

Waco Language

75.81% of Waco residents speak only English, while 24.19% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 21.26% of the population.

Waco Poverty

Waco Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Hispanic40,76112,93331.73%
White52,10110,25719.69%
Black26,5228,75133.00%
Other6,5702,12332.31%
Multiple3,3191,18735.76%
Asian2,47359023.86%
Native61839764.24%

26.78%

Overall Poverty Rate

25.46%

Male Poverty Rate

28.01%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Waco

The race most likely to be in poverty in Waco is Native, with 64.24% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Waco is White, with 19.69% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 6.74%. Among those working part-time, it was 36.57%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 36.55%.

Name Poverty
Less Than High School30.96%
High School20.02%
Some College12.88%
Bachelors or Greater5.49%
Name Poverty
Female Unemployed38.81%
Male Unemployed38.40%
Female Employed18.42%
Male Employed12.85%

Waco Income

Waco Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$36,004$56,265
Families$47,053$68,519
Married Families$64,368$87,117
Non Families$21,643$35,879

Waco Marital Status

Waco Marital Status

Marriage Rates

37.2%

Overall Marriage Rate

39.5%

Male Marriage Rate

35.1%

Female Marriage Rate

Waco Married by Age and Sex

Waco Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.

Waco Marital Status by Race

Waco Veterans

7,321

Number of Veterans

6,672

Male Veterans

649

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam2,376
Second Gulf War1,495
First Gulf War1,424
Korea594
World War II492
Age Group Veterans
35 to 541,855
55 to 641,685
65 to 741,475
75+1,279
18 to 341,027

Waco Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White5,3137.56%
Black1,6597.98%
Hispanic9003.36%
Other1703.77%
2 or More1498.71%
Indian307.58%

Waco Veterans by Education

9.74%

Veteran Poverty Rate

34.18%

Veteran Disability Rate

Waco Employment Status

59.8%

Labor Force Participation

56%

Employment Rate

6.1%

Unemployment Rate

Waco Place of Birth

Origin of Non Citizens

Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

70.32%

Born in Texas

88.68%

Native Born

11.32%

Foreign Born

8.48%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

88.68% of Waco residents were born in the United States, with 70.32% having been born in Texas. 8.48% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.