A clue to the kind of life one might experience in Oklahoma lies in the nickname given to the city, which is “The Big Friendly”. Life can be pretty ideal in Oklahoma for the average American. So, if you are contemplating a move to this city, you have made a wise choice and it is not going to take you very long to be an Oklahoman. All of the essential things you should know before moving to Oklahoma city have been covered in this article, so read on!
What Should I Know Before Moving To Oklahoma City?
The city offers a sweet linguistic joke to its residents, which is that it is called the “City of Oklahoma City” or OKC for short. It is the capital city and also the largest in the state of Oklahoma. With a population of 655,057 as of July 2019, it is the 25th largest state in the United States. Spread over an area of 620.78 miles2 (1607.8 km2), of which 14.03 miles2 (37.04 km2) is water, it also holds the position of being the 8th largest city in the US by area.
You are very likely to get a distinct “old west” feel from the city. Cattle ranchers and cowboys are a main aspect of Oklahoma culture. Combine that with all the man-made lakes you see here, you will find yourself acting out scenes from old Hollywood movies very soon.
Also, the state offers some of the best food you can find. The state food is strawberry, the state meal is fried okra and the local favourite is chicken-fried steak. Barbecue is really popular here and you can occasionally drive down to “Big Truck Tacos” to get your hands on some delectable some Indian tacos. That is a restaurant locals swear by.
You must have an idea by now, about how the nightlife in Oklahoma is going to be like. The city has it all – bars, nightclubs, restaurants, food joints and anything else you would desire. The Bricktown Entertainment District is probably the most popular place to be. For people who prefer the quieter side of things, there is no dearth of theatres, museums or parks, where you could have a nice quiet picnic before heading to some upscale restaurant to finish your day.
Crime Rate In Oklahoma City
Oklahoma is alright in terms of safety, as long as you are not too reckless, which can be said about literally any place. As per Neighborhoodscout, the chances of being the victim of a violent crime is 1 in 138. The crime rate in the city is 7.27. In terms of property crime, your chances of being a victim are 1 in 24, making the rate of property crime 41.36. It’s advisable to have a good insurance policy in place. This does imply that the crime rates are higher in the city than the rest of the state, but it is still better than some of the other cities in the US.
Oklahoma City Weather
The city’s climate has been classified as “humid subtropical” because of the hot and humid summers and the cool winters that bring the occasional snowfall. Temperatures can go rather high in summers with a record temperature being 113°f on August 11th, 1936. There are the occasional winds, usually from the south, that soften the weather.
Winters can range from cool to pretty freezing. On January 7th, 2017, a temperature of -30°F was recorded. The average temperature during the season can be around 41°F or so. Winters have a tendency to witness winds from the north that can result in snowstorms. Rainfall can be pretty heavy here, with an annual precipitation of 35.9 inches (91.2 cm), less than a quarter of which is snow.
Is It Expensive To Live In Oklahoma City?
The cost of living is the make-or-break factor of the decision to live in any particular place, and rightfully so. Literally everything else can be taken care of and adjusted with as long as the money that is spent is proportional to the money that is earned, with some to save.
One of the most important considerations has to be that of taxes. The sales tax in the city is 8.63%. It is especially tax-friendly towards retirees. They will find that social security is not taxed. The marginal state tax rate stands at 5.90%. As far as public and private pension go, the tax is partial.
The cost of living in this city is 15% lower than the national average, making it deliciously budget-friendly for the average American. Right from buying or renting a house to grocery shopping, retirement to healthcare, the prices in Oklahoma make it extremely desirable to live, in a way that is easy for your bank and your future.
Cost Of Living In Oklahoma City
One of the most affordable cities in the country, Oklahoma is a delight to live in. You will be paying $0.94 for a litre of milk. Now that’s even less than a dollar! Similarly, you pay just $2.46 for a loaf of bread. A dozen eggs would set you back by $2.57 and 1kg potatoes will cost you $3.87. Let’s not forget, the easiest fruits for the lazy bachelor, cost a mere $1.40 per kg – we’re talking about Bananas of course!
If you like to eat out, you will be spending around $10 for a meal. If you want to go on a date but keep it budget-friendly, you will spend around $42 at a mid-range restaurant. In case the food doesn’t suit your tummy, you will be happy to know that Oklahoma is well equipped in terms of facilities for healthcare, available at very affordable rates. The same courtesy is extended to your pets as well.
In other words, a trip to the hospital will not empty your pockets. To put a number to it, that’s actually 9% less than the US national average. Meaning a doctor’s visit would just be $100.41 and the vet visit would cost you about $46.79. Let’s not forget, even if you want to get a dental checkup done, you only pay $86.26 for a visit to the dentist.
This is quite complementary to the fact that the median household income in Oklahoma is $53,997. On the off-chance that you ever find that life in Oklahoma doesn’t suit you, you can never deny that it was the best fit for your salary ever, whichever bracket it fell within.
See also: Lowest Cost of Living States in the U.S.
Buying A House
The property prices in Oklahoma is one of the cheapest in the country, at $134,000 as the median house price, as per Zillow. While they have risen at the rate of 5.5% over the course of the last year and are slated to rise another 2.5% in the coming year, with the base price as low as this, who can really complain? One of the primary reasons the cost of living is so low in the state is because of the nature in which the real estate here is priced. You won’t hear anybody complaining about that though.
Renting A House
The streak of cheap housing continues with the rents being just as low in Oklahoma. A 3-bedroom house costs $1200 on average and a 2-bedroom one, $900, as per Zillow. Rent is one of the major bills paid by the salaryman every month, and a low rent makes all the difference to his or her life and lifestyle, both in the short and long term.
Utility bills in the city can come up to $155. These include electricity, water, garbage and heating. Transportation costs are pretty decent with a one-way ticket on the local transport being $2 and a monthly pass costing about $40. If you prefer taxis, the starting tariff is $3 and the rate per kilometre henceforth is $1.74. If you have your own car, you would be happy to know that a litre of gas costs just $0.52.
Oklahoma City Economy And Employment Opportunities
Despite the popular perception that Oklahoma acts mostly as a centre of government and energy exploration, the city has a lot more to offer to the new-age American seeking gainful employment. The economy of the city has branched out to include information technology, healthcare, service industry and administration. Here’s where it gets intriguing, this branching out of the city’s economy made the corresponding output rise by 33%. As estimated in 2016, its GMP (Gross Metropolitan Product) is $73.8 billion.
It is interesting to note that the city of Oklahoma is home to two Fortune 500 companies, them being Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy. But if that’s not enough, Oklahoma City is also home to the company ranked thirteenth on Forbes’ list of private companies, which is Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores.
Major employers in the city are the State of Oklahoma (SEAT), United States Federal Aviation Administration, Integris Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Hobby Lobby Stores. Forbes has reported that Oklahoma is one of the few cities with lowering rates of unemployment, a very strong real estate market and steady and sure growth in the energy, agriculture and manufacturing industry.
If you are looking to start or raise a family in Oklahoma, you can rest assured as far as the education of your children is concerned. Oklahoma City Public Schools is the state’s largest school district. And because of how much the city has grown in the last decade or so, other school districts also intersect with the city, including Putnam City School District, Moore Public Schools and Mid-Del School District. It has some of the highest ranked public schools in the state.
For students in the state who excel at math and science, the city has Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. The city also has its fair share of private and parochial schools, some that come with college entrance preparatory programs. Oklahoma comes with some career and technology education schools also like Metro Technology Center and Francis Tuttle Technology Center, both of which are associated with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
There is a non-profit vocational training center for individuals with disabilities, which is the Dale Rogers Training Center. There are many colleges and universities in the city. There is Oklahoma City University, which has arts, science, mass communication, business, law and athletic programs. Interestingly, the University of Oklahoma is one of the four major universities in the United States to include six medical schools.
There’s also the University of Central Oklahoma, located in the north of the city, which happens to be the third-largest university in the state. Just the same, the Oklahoma City Community College, which is the second-largest in the state, located in the south of the city, is always a viable option for your children too.
12.2% of the population has finished high school and 19.8% of the population holds a bachelor’s degree. While the statistics do not look very impressive, it cannot be denied that the educational facilities offered by the city are at par with the national standards. The rest would be a matter of personal choice. Though it differs from university to university, the average cost of tuition without aid would be $12,000. The private colleges would be more expensive.
Getting Around Oklahoma City
It is common knowledge that Oklahoma city is right dab in the center of the United States and therefore, is a critical point of the US Interstate Network. So, in terms of transport, the city has a lot going on at any point of time.
There is an extensive freeway network that serves every major city in the region. Despite this, the congestion levels are surprisingly low. One can get from the OKC metro area to downtown in less than 30 minutes by freeway. I-235, I-240 and I-244 are some of the highways which connect the various suburbs and regions within the city.
There are three major airports and some smaller ones with the Will Rogers World Airport being the principal one as well as the anchor of the city’s air traffic. This has developed Oklahoma as a major air transportation and maintenance centre over the years.
With the arrival of the Heartland Flyer, Oklahoma has access to the country’s rail network due to the daily service to Fort Worth. There are plans underway to expand this further. Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe are some of the prominent freight lines in the city.
Union Bus Station serves as the bus terminal in the state. As Oklahoma is a prime location, regional and inter-city bus services have this on their travel routes.
The public transport scenario in Oklahoma is basic and efficient. The public transit provider is called Embark, and it covers numerous routes, both in the inner city and the suburbs.
Scooters are available on rent near the bus stops. Modern street-cars that are typically low-floor connect the CBD with other districts downtown. This system is known as the Oklahoma City Streetcar, which is currently under consideration for expansion.
Best Neighborhoods Of Oklahoma City
This area is where all the entertainment of the city comes together. It is that district of the city. There is a stadium that hosts sporting events and also the Bricktown canal that is actually quite the tourist hub. You can even take a water taxi for a whole cruise here. A 2-bedroom house would cost $350,000 and renting that same house would cost $1,500, as shared by Zillow.
2. Nichols Hills
This area is for those who are earning sweet money or have earned sweet money and are now seeking to kick-back and relax for the rest of their days. Nichols Hills is one of the more expensive areas in the city, considering what it offers and the residents it attracts. While you will enjoy the occasional community get-together, you are also guaranteed your privacy. Upscale, sophisticated and elegant, any house in this area will cost you about $500,000. Renting here would definitely not be advisable but could fall around $1,800.
3. Deer Creek
As perfect a locality as any, Deer Creek has great local businesses, an environment that facilitates education and pretty houses, not to mention the gorgeous views. With its proper small town vibes, buying a house here would be $320,000 on average, and renting that would be $1,300 per month approximately.
Is Moving To Oklahoma City A Good Idea?
Did you know that the first ever shopping cart was invented and used in Oklahoma? The city also has more shoreline than the Atlantic and the Gulf coast combined. The city never ceases to surprise with its history or what it can offer you right in the moment. That is exactly what makes it so awesome.
You have to do your due research and make reasonable estimates as to your finances and ease of life. Having said that, life can be pretty ideal here. There’s good food, good education, low cost-of-living and amazing opportunities for growth should you take them. In fact, there are areas specific to your political ideologies as well, with the suburbs being conservative and the central city being liberal, should that matter to you.
This city has the amazing capacity to fit in literally anyone, no matter their background, race, education, aspirations or income bracket. Moving to Oklahoma City is something you will be glad you did, when you move as well as in the long run.
See also: Best Moving Companies in the U.S.