16 Pros and Cons of Living in Oklahoma

Updated On November 29, 2023

Oklahoma started out as a place for Native Americans to call their own.

Eventually, that promise was broken and Oklahoma was settled by white people as well.

Still, there are a lot of sovereign Indian nations in the state, and Oklahoma has the second-most Native Americans in the nation.

Indian culture is just one thing to like about Oklahoma, a state with a lot to like, and some things not to like as well.

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Pros of Living in Oklahoma

1. Low-cost housing

Oklahoma has the second-lowest median home value in the nation, at $125,000.

Only West Virginia is lower.

The median price for a house in the United States is $325,000, meaning that half cost more and half cost less.

The average home price in Oklahoma is $159,000, which is still well below the national average of $293,000.

Housing costs more in big cities like Oklahoma City or Tulsa, but there are lots of small towns with very cheap houses.

Rental houses and apartments are also low-cost.

2. Low cost of living

Even in Oklahoma City, which is a big city by almost anyone’s measurement, it is relatively cheap.

Other towns that are smaller cost even less.

Oklahoma is often rated as one of the three or four lowest-cost states in the nation.

Oklahoma’s cost of living is 10 percent below the national average

. This would include transportation, food, utilities, and housing.

U.S. News rated Oklahoma as the third-lowest cost state in the nation.

3. Native American Heritage

Oklahoma has the second-largest Native American population in the nation, second only to California.

There are 39 tribes or nations, that call Oklahoma home today.

Only five of those were indigenous.

Originally, Oklahoma was designated Indian Land, and many tribes were forcibly moved here.

The Native American culture permeates the state though, and there are several reservations and museums in the state.

A few Indian nations have national headquarters in Oklahoma.

4. Friendly people

Southern hospitality lives in Oklahoma, and people seem welcoming to newcomers.

It is easy to fit in and feel at home soon after you move to Oklahoma.

There is not the sweet southern charm that you find in the Southeastern part of the country, but there is an attitude of friendliness that shows up in most people.

They are also helpful.

If you are broken down on the highway, someone will stop to check on you, and that is true whether you are in the city or out in the country.

5. Entertainment

Casinos, which might be a negative to some, are run by Native Americans and offer the excitement of gambling.

Most casinos also bring in shows from around the country, and it is surprising at times the big name shows they are able to attract.

Even in a remote area, there may be modern Casinos with some of the top bands performing there.

There is also a lot of country music.

6. The great outdoors

Oklahoma is not the prettiest state, but it still has a lot to offer.

There are mountains in the east and primary flatlands to the west.

There are a lot of man-made lakes that control flooding and offer boating, skiing, and fishing opportunities.

Oklahoma has 35 state parks, as well as state and federal wildlife areas, and historical sights worth visiting.

7. Big small towns

Even small towns have a lot of amenities, and big towns are split up into communities that feel like small towns themselves.

You have the good parts of being in a city without the hassle of the bad part.

There is rarely much traffic congestion other than rush hours in Oklahoma City.

It is also more laid back, so locals might not even claim there is a rush hour.

There are only four cities with more than 100,000 people and only six with 60,000.

There are 643 towns in the state, and many are very small.

8. The food

All southern states have great food and Oklahoma is no exception.

Oklahoma is also far west enough to add some Midwest flavor, as well as southwest and Native American fare.

There is a lot of cultural diversity, and all of them have their own cuisine.

Oklahoma barbeque is also famous, and, like many states, claims to have the best.

The barbeque in Oklahoma seems to be a combination of Texas-style and other styles mixed in for a unique taste.

Catfish in many forms is also a delicacy.

Cons of Living in Oklahoma

1. The weather

Summers are beastly hot and muggy.

There is also wind.

Being outside in a 30 MPH wind at 100 degrees is about as uncomfortable as you can be outside.

There are also tornadoes in spring and summer, and the middle part of the state seems to get them often.

In winter there are ice storms, which results in a coat of ice on everything and makes driving dangerous.

The weather can also change fast and drastically.

It is southern enough to remain warm in winter, and can suddenly drop to below freezing with ice overnight.

2. Boring scenery

While there are some nice areas in the east, and some nice lakes, most of the state is prairie.

To make that worse, it is brown in winter, and so hot in summer, that it is brown again by July.

As you motor down the Interstate, you will see miles and miles of open brown space.

It is not ugly necessarily, but it will not hold your attention very long.

There are also some large areas with not much water, and some areas in the west are very remote and almost desert-like.

3. Weak infrastructure

Taxes are not bad in Oklahoma, ranked 41st in tax burden.

One result of that is a lack of money to keep up the infrastructure.

You can tell a difference on the highway when you leave Oklahoma and drive into another state.

The roads are just different.

State highways often have potholes and are worn down to some degree.

There are also a lot of dirt roads in the rural areas, which are fine as long as it does not rain.

A lot of cities do not have many sidewalks, and some amenities like that are not in good shape.

4. Lower quality education

It is a bit odd, considering Oklahoma has outstanding universities, but its K-12 education ranks near the bottom nationally.

US News ranked Oklahoma’s education system 44th out of 50 states.

The high school graduation rate, math, and reading scores, and preschool enrollment all rank in the bottom 12 states in the nation.

Part of the reason is the state does not put a lot of money into education.

Oklahoma is 46th in school spending, shelling out $9,353 per student.

New York spends $20,000 by comparison.

5. Lack of big cities

While this might be a positive for many people, if you want a sprawling metropolis to live in, you will be disappointed.

Oklahoma City is the biggest city, and it is barely in the top 25 of the biggest cities in the nation.

There are a lot of mid-sized cities and towns that have a lot of modern amenities, but the big city feel is what is missing.

If you like smaller towns, you will like Oklahoma.

If you do not like smaller towns, you may not find them appealing.

6. The haves and the have-nots

While the overall economic disparity is not much below the national average, there is a lot of poverty and a few very wealthy people in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has the eighth highest poverty rate in America at 14.9 percent.

A lot of those below the poverty level are Native Americans and other minorities.

Some got very wealthy in the oil boom of the early 1900s, so there are a few people who have incredible wealth.

Overall, Oklahoma has always been a relatively poor state though, and the oil boom did not make everyone rich.

7. High crime rate in some areas

Much of rural Oklahoma is very safe, especially in small towns.

There are pockets, however, where there is some danger.

Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the two biggest cities, have crime rates higher than the national average.

Oklahoma has the 16th highest murder rate in the nation, at 7.4 per 100,000.

The national average is 6.5. Some areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa have crime rates that are far above the national average.

It pays to check out the area where you are considering moving to.

8. No public transportation

If you want to go anywhere in Oklahoma, you will need a car.

There is limited public transportation in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, but not much anywhere else.

The state was built around the automobile, which is the most common means of transportation.

On the bright side, cars and taxes are generally lower than in other places.

Gasoline is also cheaper, but owning a car is never cheap overall.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Pros and Cons of Living in Oklahoma – Summary Table

Pros of Living in OklahomaCons of Living in Oklahoma
1.Low-cost housing1. The weather
2. Low cost of living2. Boring scenery
3. Native American Heritage3. Weak infrastructure
4. Friendly people4. Lower quality education
5. Entertainment5. Lack of big cities
6. The great outdoors6. The haves and the have-nots
7. Big small towns7. High crime rate in some areas
8. The food8. No public transportation

Oklahoma Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Oklahoma Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Oklahoma known for?

In the early 1900s, it was considered the oil capital of the world, with huge oil reserves being discovered.

This made a few people very rich, and several gas companies were started in Oklahoma.

The oil boom changed Oklahoma from a poor backwater state into a state with a bigger economy than many nations around the world.

The impact can still be seen today.

Why are there so many Native Americans in Oklahoma?

For many years, Oklahoma was considered Indian territory.

Many tribes from the eastern part of the country were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma in the 1800s.

It was one of the dark eras of our country, but today many Native Americans are thriving in Oklahoma.

Why is Oklahoma called the Sooner state?

There was a landrush when Oklahoma was opened to white settlers.

There was a date set for when the landrush would happen.

Some people went to Oklahoma “sooner” than that and got a head start on claiming land, and the “sooner” name stuck.

Why are there so many tornadoes in Oklahoma?

Weather experts say the combination of warm air from the gulf, and colder air from the Rockies, create a perfect breeding ground for tornadoes.

Central Oklahoma has more tornadoes than anywhere else on Earth.

How many man-made lakes are there in Oklahoma?

There are 200 man-made lakes in the state, which is more than any other state.

The lakes were made to control flooding and to provide a water supply for towns near where they were built.

6 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Oklahoma

  1. A
    Anonymous says:

    West Oklahoma is very brown and boring, but easter Oklahoma has the foot hills of the Ozarks and it’s own mountains in the south

  2. U
    Unknown says:

    I live in Oklahoma I find it very nice its not always brown it has green hills amazing lakes and rivers we have a waterfall at Oolagah and spabenaw tulsa and oklahoma are very populated i live by tulsa i live in collinsville and we have a lot of action there too i would not claim it number one worst

    1. But you put a big star on the awful education Oklahoma inflicts on its population by being unable to use punctuation.

      1. And it was necessary to point this out, why?

      2. L
        Lack of critical thinking and education says:

        Shouldnt assume they’re ‘unable’ just because they don’t, i sometimes do that when typing on my phone it saves time

  3. Don’t forget the ignorant police in Tulsa and I would have to believe its the same way in OKC. They are rude and confrontational for no reason. I have lived in NC and TX have had interactions via my work with police in all 3 states and OK police are by the worst. guessing bc the cities need tax income and officers if you can call them that have nothing better to do then harass citizens. Dont forget that OK is one of a few states in the country to tax their groceries as well. Dont let people tell you the cost of living is less in OK. Your insurance will be higher due to the weather, grocery bills are much higher for much lesser quality, gas is high even though the refine it here – get it the gas refined here goes north and OK gets their gas from TX…..makes since. People are crappy drivers will tailgate you when there is a open lane for them to go around. Education is a joke. I grew up here came home, and am leaving within a year bc its a dump. Doctors are subpar, wife is pregnant and waited over a week for test results. NO ONE follows through with what they say including medical “professionals”. If you have kids least in the Tulsa area the sports leagues are run like crap most teams come in already together if you have no history and do not know someone your kid will be lumped in with left overs which is fine if the coach was worth a crap, not fun to see your kids on a crappy team with part time coach getting beat every game. I grew up here came home, and am leaving within a year bc its a dump.

Leave a Comment

Facebook Pinterest Comment Comment