What's it like to live in Tulsa, OK?


Corinne Kannenberg

Profile written by local expert:

Corinne Kannenberg

Once considered the oil capital of the world, "T-Town" has developed into a vibrant (albeit small), modern metro area of more than 968,000 residents. Straddling the South, Southwest and Midwest regions of the country, Tulsa is home to a distinct culture comprised of the best characteristics of each of these regions, in addition to Native American and cowboy heritage. Perhaps the most inviting aspect of Tulsa's culture, however, is its warm and welcoming hospitality as well as the down-to-earth attitudes of residents who are passionate about their home town.

Many Tulsans are life-long residents, so to say that ties between locals run deep would be an understatement. It is equally true that residents are welcoming to newcomers. Running into friends or acquaintances at the grocery store, forming lasting relationships with your bartenders or baristas and having long conversations with strangers are all the norm.

The community often comes together to celebrate its heritage and common interests. Some of the most popular events include Oktoberfest, the Tulsa Tough annual bicycle race and affiliated Cry Baby Hill block party, several food festivals, a weekly food truck lunch, Mayfest and the Center of the Universe music festival, just to name a few.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Tulsa, Oklahoma is ranked:

#83 in Best Places to Live

#118 in Best Places to Retire

6.3

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    5.4
  • Value
    7.7
  • Job Market
    6.4
  • Quality of Life
    5.6
  • Net Migration
    6.3

Read how we rank places

Tulsa, OK Quick Stats

  • 977,869

    Metro Population

  • $45,260

    Average Annual Salary

  • 71.3° / 50.1°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 36.8

    Median Age

  • $149,000

    Median Home Price

  • 41.0 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.6%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $804

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 21.5 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Tulsa, OK?

Many people are drawn to Tulsa's relatively low cost of living and stay because of everything else the metro area has to offer. The median home sale price sits well below the national median, and though the average income in the area is also lower than it is in other cities, Tulsa residents make enough to live comfortably.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.7 /10

How we calculate this.


Tulsa offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2018


Tulsa
$149,000

USA
$227,025

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Tulsa, OK.

What's the weather like in Tulsa, OK?

Tulsa sits in Oklahoma's Green Country, the temperate region in the northeast corner of the state. The region does experience some extreme weather. Ice storms are common in winter months, booming thunderstorms mark the final days of summer and tornadoes occasionally touch down in Tulsa County. Earthquakes are also now alarmingly frequent, likely due to drilling processes tied to the oil and gas industry.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

39.8°F


Winter

60.4°F


Spring

80.9°F


Summer

61.7°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.5 in


Winter

5.9 in


Spring

4.7 in


Summer

4.3 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Tulsa, OK?

Since Tulsa is so spread out, a car is a near-necessity. Tulsans often bemoan the lack of reliable, frequent and accessible public transportation options. Many residents find the Tulsa Transit bus system inconvenient and its routes inadequate. And because Tulsa isn't compact, biking and walking aren't practical means of getting around. Moreover, outside of downtown and the neighborhood districts, there are very few bike lanes, and some streets lack sidewalks altogether.

Tulsa International Airport is just north of the city proper, and there is also a Greyhound bus station downtown. There is also a new rail service between Tulsa and Oklahoma City

Commuting in Tulsa, OK

Means of Transportation
Driving
93%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
1%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
1%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

21.5 minutes

4.9 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Tulsa, OK?

More than a quarter of Tulsa's population is under 20 and the metro area also has a fairly sizable millennial population.

Many young people choose to live downtown or in midtown neighborhoods like Cherry Street and Brookside that have apartments and smaller single-family homes available for rent. Likewise, these and other midtown neighborhoods are also popular among couples and younger families who want to be close to coffee shops, restaurants and bars. Suburbs in places like South Tulsa are also popular among families, as are affluent midtown neighborhoods like Maple Ridge.

As you might expect from a place with more than a thousand churches, Tulsa is quite religious. More than 55 percent of the metro area identifies as religious, with the Baptist community being the most predominant.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Tulsa as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Tulsa, OK?

Tulsa has some great outdoor spots that locals routinely take advantage of. More than 130 parks dot the metro area, including the popular River West Festival Park and Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. Roughly 50 miles of trails traverse the Tulsa area, providing hikers and bikers with beautiful views of the Arkansas River. The metro area is also home to more than 20 golf courses, as well as plenty of places to team up and play soccer, rugby and baseball.

Enjoying live music is a favorite pastime for Tulsa residents, who flock to popular venues like Cain's Ballroom, The Brady Theater, The BOK Center arena and Guthrie Green.

Tulsa also appeals to art aficionados with a collection of galleries and the expansive Philbrook Museum of Art. Meanwhile, the Deco District showcases impressive examples of Art Deco architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and other notable architects. 

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Tulsa, OK