Welcome to Oklahoma
Your life in the Sooner State begins
Welcome to Oklahoma
Oklahoma is where the wind comes sweeping down the plain — at least, that is, according to musical theater fans. This sweeping wind can take the form of tornadoes, with 83 recorded events in 2018, much more than Oklahoma’s annual average of 56. While the tornado season and its associated risks are important considerations for those looking to move to Oklahoma, there is a lot more to the Sooner State than twisters.
The state has recently become a popular destination for relocating households, likely because of its low cost of living, fast-growing economy, and a population noted for kindness and laid-back way of life. Some know of Oklahoma as the site of the tragic Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. In many ways, that sad event has brought Oklahomans together in an infectious unity that creates a sense of community. In many ways, Oklahoma has almost everything one would want: beautiful natural areas, a bustling and diverse metropolis in Oklahoma City, southern hospitality, and a touch of Midwestern charm, too.
Oklahoma Self-Storage Facts
For a state with so much wide open space, you might be surprised to learn just how big the self-storage industry in Oklahoma is. There are about 937 self-storage facilities in the state, which together provide 7.88 square feet per capita! That's much higher than the national average of 5.4 square feet per person. Oklahoma has seen the number of self-storage facilities grow in recent years thanks to a nationwide expansion of self-storage that has taken place over the last several years. With Oklahoma's population increasing more than 5 percent since 2010, it has made it a prime target for self-storage developers who seek areas that are growing in population.
Below are some statistics that provide an overview of the self-storage industry in Oklahoma:
Oklahoma is home to more than 937 self-storage facilities
Oklahoma facilities offer more than 30.4 million square feet of storage space combined.
Oklahoma has 7.88 square feet of storage space for every man, woman, and child.
Reasons to Move to Oklahoma
If you're thinking about making the move, but aren't sure if Oklahoma is the right place for you, consider the following:
Sooner cuisine. Some of the best-kept culinary secrets in the country are cooked up in Oklahoma. Chicken fried steak, grits, black-eyed peas, okra, and cornbread are all just part of the state’s official meal according to a 1988 state resolution. But there is much more on the Oklahoma menu, such as fried onion burgers and barbecue. And Oklahoma City is home to a sizeable Vietnamese-American population, which makes it an epicenter for traditional Banh Mi sandwiches.
OU. The University of Oklahoma is a significant public research institution with a reputation for both academic excellence and college athletics dominance. The main campus is in Norman, which is a close neighbor to the south of Oklahoma City. OU is also home to the National Weather Center.
Oklahoma! Sooner culture hit the Great White Way with the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway masterpiece, Oklahoma! The hit show debuted in 1943 and is credited with creating modern musical theater. The play has been performed thousands of times on Broadway, became a hit film, and continues today in both professional and in countless high school musical productions.
Rodeo and bull riding. With ample plains and ranchland, it’s no wonder that Oklahoma is home to professional rodeo and bull riding. Major events are held all year long, and the sports have been popular since 1880.
Country music. Oklahoma might not spring to mind as a hub for burgeoning musical talent, but the state is the hometown of numerous country music stars. Reba McIntyre, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, and Toby Keith all have ties to the Sooner State. The state, along with Texas, even has its own sub-genre of country called Red Dirt.
Tornado Alley. This roughly defined area of the Midwest spans northern Texas to South Dakota, covering nearly the entire state of Oklahoma along the way. While 2019 saw elevated tornado activity in the state, 2018 saw a near-record low.
Native-American culture. 39 Native American tribes call Oklahoma home. Their stories are complex and deep, emanating from national policies of relocation and reservation building. Today, Native American culture is revered and celebrated all across the state, with events such as the Red Earth Festival, the largest powwow in the world.
Oil and gas. Oil is a big part of Oklahoma’s economy. The first well was discovered and drilled in 1897, and ever since then, the industry has proliferated. The state is ranked third in the nation for natural gas production, and fourth in crude oil production. Oil accounts for $35 billion of Oklahoma’s $175 billion GDP.
Oklahoma’s manmade lakes. There are lots of lakes in Oklahoma, and they are all man-made reservoirs. The only natural lakes in the state are either oxbows (river sections naturally cut-off) or playas (dry lake beds). Oklahoma has 200 manmade ones — more than anywhere else in the country.
The OKC Thunder. Sports in Oklahoma go beyond Sooner pride. The Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team, which were the Seattle Supersonics until 2008, has one of the most devoted followings in NBA.
Moving to Oklahoma
Oklahoma is the 20th largest state by size, covering approximately 69,000 square miles. It is the 28th largest state by population, with an estimated 3.9 million residents. With an average of 55 people per square mile, the state is the 15th least densely populated state. There are only four cities with a population of over 100,000.
Oklahoma has shown an 8.7% population increase over the decade from 2000 to 2010.
Oklahoma Economic Outlook
Oklahoma’s gross domestic product (GDP) is roughly $175 billion. The past two decades saw sustained growth, with the last few years showing a slight slowdown and dip in GDP growth. Overall, however, the economy is strong, which some analysts link to the oil industry’s prominence in the state and a 15.72% compound annual growth rate. Another reason for Oklahoma’s economic strength is its low unemployment rate of 3.2%, versus the national average of 3.6%. This rate has been steadily declining over the last decade, following national trends. On average, there are 167,000 jobs added to Oklahoma’s payrolls each month. These include positions in food service, social assistance, finance.
Who are Oklahoma's Largest Employers?
Places to live in Oklahoma
Most of the state’s economic activity is in Oklahoma City and the areas involved in the oil and gas industry, located in the central and eastern sections of the state. Oklahoma stretches along the top of Texas, from Arkansas and Missouri to Colorado and New Mexico. The state offers a variety of places to live, from rural to urban.
Here’s a quick look at the state’s three largest cities:
Oklahoma City boasts a population of 649,021, making it the 29th largest city by population in the United States. The average salary in the city is $58,000, which is slightly higher than the national average of $56,516. The cost of living in Oklahoma City is, however, about 15 percent less than the national average. The biggest employers in Oklahoma City include BancFirst, Chesapeake Energy, Continental Resources, and Paycom. Here are some housing figures for Oklahoma City:
Located just about 120 miles away from Oklahoma City is Oklahoma’s second most populous city, Tulsa. The city of slightly more than 400,000 residents is large and diverse without being too big. Significant employers in the Tulsa area include AT&T, AAON, American Airlines, CenturyLink, and Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Here are some housing figures for Tulsa:
Home to the Oklahoma University, Norman has an estimated 123,000 residents. The population here has steadily grown, thanks to its proximity to Oklahoma City and the economic opportunities that accompany OU. Since Norman and OKC are only 20 miles apart, when measured from their respective city centers, both cities comprise a single Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Major employers in addition to OU include Johnson Controls, Hitachi, and Astellas Pharma. Here are some housing figures for Norman: