Recently, Kiplinger released a list of the 10 most affordable big cities (with populations above 250,000) in the U.S. Two Oklahoma cities – Tulsa and Oklahoma City – made the list.
No. 5 – Tulsa, Okla.
- Cost of living: 11.7% below U.S. average
- City population: 398,121
- Media household income: $40,781
- Unemployment rate: 4.5%
- Average commute to work: 18.3 minutes
This Oklahoma city traces its roots back to the Western expansion, first as a cattle town and later as the “Oil Capital of the World.” Reminders can be found everywhere. The Gilcrease Museum, which specializes in exhibits about the American West, offers free admission on the first Tuesday and third Sunday of each month. Another must-see is the 1920s villa that is home to the Philbrook Museum of Art. Construction of the opulent Italian renaissance building was financed by the oil boom. There’s no charge to visit on the second Saturday of each month.
Another plus: The average apartment runs just $604 a month, about one-third less than the national average. It’s no wonder Tulsa ranked high on our list of Affordable Big Cities for Renters.
No. 9 – Oklahoma City, Okla.
- Cost of living: 9.7% below U.S. average
- City population: 610,613
- Media household income: $45,704
- Unemployment rate: 4.4%
- Average commute to work: 20.2 minutes
There’s something about capital cities when it comes to affordable living and economic stability. Jobs tend to be reliable because the state government needs to function no matter how well the economy is doing; there’s often a large university nearby that provides employment opportunities, services and inexpensive things to do; and big businesses set up shop to take advantage of an educated workforce and proximity to the capitol. Four of the 10 cities to make our list of affordable big cities are state capitals.
Oklahoma City is no exception. Oklahoma State University has a campus in town, and the University of Oklahoma is located just south of the city limits in Norman (although many facilities are in Oklahoma City proper). Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy, both Fortune 500 companies, are based in Oklahoma City. When the city government recently surveyed residents, 84% called Oklahoma City a good place to live (10 percentage points better than the average large U.S. city) and 78% called it a good place to work (5 percentage points better than average).