Oklahoma Facing Mass Exodus; Residents Are Leaving These Cities


Oklahoma is among the states where the population has significantly decreased recently, mostly as a result of individuals leaving the state to live elsewhere. Oklahoma’s net migration rate, or the number of persons who left the state more than they arrived, was -3.4 per 1,000 population between 2021 and 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Numerous Oklahoman cities have been impacted by this trend; some of these cities are among the 50 that Americans are fleeing in large numbers. These are a few of the causes behind Oklahomans’ packing up and moving abroad.

High Cost of Living

The high expense of living in Oklahoma, particularly in the bigger cities, is one of the primary reasons that draw individuals out of the state. For instance, Oklahoma City’s cost of living index is 87.8, more than the 82.6 average for the entire country. Additionally, the typical home value in the city is $172,900, 12.6% more than the average for the state, which is $153,600. In addition, Oklahoma City’s 16.3% poverty rate is comparatively high when compared to the 12.3% national average.

With an index of 84.9, Tulsa, the second-largest city in Oklahoma, likewise has a high cost of living. Although 7.4% less than the state average, Tulsa’s median home value of $144,900 is still higher than that of many other cities in the area. Additionally, Tulsa has a high rate of poverty (19.4%), significantly higher than both the state and national norms.

Low Quality of Life

The poor quality of life in Oklahoma, which is impacted by a number of variables including environment, crime, health, and education, is another reason why people are moving out from the state. In terms of overall quality of life, Oklahoma comes in at number 43 out of 50 states, per a 2022 U.S. News & World Report report. The state is underperforming in a number of areas, including:

Education: Oklahoma has low scores in college readiness, higher education, and pre-K through 12th grade, placing it 47th overall. In addition, the state’s high school graduation rate is quite low—82% as opposed to the 85% national average.

Health: Oklahoma has low marks for public health, quality, and accessibility, placing it 46th in the nation. In addition, the state has higher rates of diabetes (12.6%), heart disease (7.1%), and obesity (36.8%) than the national norms, which are 31.3%, 10.5%, and 6.2%, respectively.

Crime: With high rates of violent crime (449.8 per 100,000 population) and property crime (2,982.8 per 100,000 residents), compared to the national norms of 366.7 and 2,109.9, respectively, Oklahoma ranks 41st in terms of both crime and corrections. At 673 per 100,000 people, the state has the second-highest incarceration rate in the US.

Oklahoma’s natural environment is ranked forty-first, with poor ratings for pollution, water quality, and air quality. In addition, there is a significant chance of earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes in this state.

Limited Opportunities

The insufficient prospects for both personal and professional development, particularly for young and educated individuals, constitute a third factor driving the exodus from Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s economy is ranked 39th out of 50 states by U.S. News & World Report. Compared to the national average of $63,093, the state’s GDP per capita is relatively low at $48,497. In addition, the state’s median household income of $54,449 is lower than the $62,843 national average.

In terms of the number of patents per person, venture capital funding per person, and the proportion of STEM professionals, Oklahoma ranks 45th out of 50 states, indicating a low level of innovation in the state. The state ranks 46th out of 50 states in terms of startup density, survival rate, and new firm formation, indicating a low degree of entrepreneurship.

Oklahoma is less appealing to those seeking better job opportunities, greater incomes, and more varied and exciting environments because of these considerations. Many of them decide to go to places like Texas, Colorado, Florida, and California, which provide greater prospects.


Oklahoma is seeing a large-scale outflow of citizens due to a number of factors, including a high cost of living, a poor standard of living, and few job possibilities. The economics, society, and future of the state are all negatively impacted by this tendency. Oklahoma must make greater investments in infrastructure, innovation, health care, education, and business-friendliness in order to buck the trend. If not, Oklahoma might keep losing people and opportunities.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.