Yoakum is a city in Lavaca and DeWitt Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 5,815 at the 2010 census.
The area was sparsely settled until a townsite was laid out with the construction of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway in 1887, and named for Benjamin F. Yoakum, a vice president of the line. The railroad built a roundhouse and maintenance shops there, employing hundreds of workers. The town was incorporated in 1889. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, "By 1896 Yoakum had a cotton mill, three cotton gins, a compress, several churches, a bank, an ice factory, specialty and general stores, two weekly newspapers and one daily, a school system with 700 pupils, and a population of 3,000. By 1914 the number of residents had reached 7,500." In the early 20th century, the Tex-Tan company, later part of the Tandy Corporation, manufactured saddles, bridles, harnesses, belts, and wallets. Other industries included a dairy, a cannery, meat-packing and food-processing plants, and a metalworking shop. Beginning in 1926, tomato farming in the surrounding area became a major agricultural business, with Yoakum being known as "the tomato capital of south central Texas."
Yoakum is located on the border of Lavaca and DeWitt Counties at 29°17′28″N 97°8′50″W (29.291052, -97.147315). U.S. Route 77 Alternate forms the northwest boundary of the city and leads northeast 17 miles (27 km) to Hallettsville and southwest 16 miles (26 km) to Cuero. Texas State Highway 111 passes through the center of Yoakum, leading southeast 39 miles (63 km) to Edna and west 9 miles (14 km) to Hochheim.