Milam County Texas Archives
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  Contributed by: Milam County Genealogical Society

Population History
(Researched by Mrs. Ida Jo Marshall)
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Rockdale was among the principal towns on the International and Great Northern Railway. It rapidly increased in population because it was an important shipping point for the products of Milam and Bell counties. The quantity of cotton shipped from Rockdale annually reached over 16,000 bales. It had railroad connections North, South, East and West; low rate taxation; excellent schools, a wide tange of churches; good banking facilities; efficient system of water works and electric lights; ample housing accomodations; cheap lumber; average cotton crops; an excellent weekly newspaper, and inexhaustible mines of lignite coal.

Decline in population during the twentieth century was caused by the disappearance of tenant farming and sharecropping. During the depression there was a back-to-farm movement. There was an increase in farm wages. As a result there were wide employment possibilities in industry and increased use of farm machinery which required fewer unskilled laborers.

The principal result of the construction of the Alcoa plant has been the growth of population in Rockdale. The city's population tripled in a few months. New residential additions had been laid out, and in them new dwellings were built. Traffic increased, parking meters were erected. A transit bus and taxis appeared. To take care of the population increase, the city issued $125,000 for water and sewage and a million dollars for schools.

In the chart below is listed the population growth of the city of Rockdale from 1880 to the last census taken in 1970.  

Year 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970
Population 1,185 1,505 2,515 2,073 3,323 2,204 2,136 2,321 4,481 4,655

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