City Council report measures Tulsa’s quality of life
Every year, Tulsa City Council has a report compiled on the city’s quality of life. This year’s edition was recently released. It was compiled by the city council’s policy administrator Jack Blair. The report consists of over one hundred charts and graphs. Most of the data measures through 2013.
The report compares Tulsa to nineteen other cities from all around the contiguous United States. Those cities are Fort Worth, Denver, Nashville, Portland, Oklahoma City, Louisville, Albuquerque, Tucson, Kansas City, Omaha, Raleigh, Oakland, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Wichita, New Orleans, Tampa, St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
In regards to demographics, Tulsa has the fifth lowest percentage of the population age 25–34 with a bachelor’s degree or higher, with 4.7 percent of the population. The report contains a map of different small areas, often one square mile, with at least 10 percent of the population being young professionals. Most of these areas border the Arkansas River. Blair notes that these areas tend to be more affordable. The neighborhoods around TU are also marked as having a high proportion of young professionals.
The report also analyzes Tulsa’s economy. While the city doesn’t fare so well in many areas, Tulsa does do well with unemployment and the cost of living. Tulsa and its nearby suburbs have a GDP of $55 billion, which is the fifth lowest. However, in regards to real per capita GDP, the area is only eighth from the bottom at $51,599.
Tulsa has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 5.3 percent. Tulsa also has low wages, but its cost of living is also among the lowest.
Factoring in the cost of living gives Tulsa an average weekly wage of $1,004, which is higher than the median and eighth from the top.
Tulsa doesn’t do well in terms of the poverty rate. 15.8 percent of Tulsa families are in poverty, which is the sixth highest rate. 17.7 percent of households use cash public assistance or SNAP (food stamps). This is the eighth highest rate.
Crime in Tulsa is down, as it is nationally, but Tulsa still has a few high crime rates. With 1.52 murders or non-negligent manslaughters per 10,000 people, Tulsa has the fifth highest murder rate. Tulsa has the second highest burglary rate at 150 burglaries per 10,000 people.
In regards to transportation and travel, Tulsa has the second lowest travel time to work. Also, while most people in Tulsa don’t walk to work, TU is in an area where 31.2 percent of residents walk to work.
12.7 percent of Tulsa’s housing is vacant, the sixth highest rate. There are a few areas of town in which greater than 80 percent of housing is occupied by renters. TU is in such an area, with 98.1 percent of housing units occupied by renters.
Tulsa’s charitable giving was the highest at 5.53 percent of adjusted gross income given to charity. Tulsa’s median annual charitable contribution was $4,622. The Tulsa Community Foundation, a non-profit, has trademarked the phrase “America’s most generous city,” which Phil Lakin, that organization’s CEO and a city council member, would like to see used more often.
Near the end of January, another part of the report will be published, which will provide data on housing and neighborhoods.