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Oklahoma City, OK
MSA: Oklahoma City, OK
Best places ranking: #1 among large metro areas
Population: 1,206,142
Stable and affordable, Oklahoma City is a haven for entrepreneurial risk takers. It boasts the second lowest foreclosure rate among large U.S. metro areas, along with the second lowest median rent. Through the Great Recession this former Dust Bowl capital has been spared many hardships, with a diverse local economy spread across medical research, energy, education and government.

Oklahoma City also benefits from a high concentration of deep-pocketed local investors, many of them veterans of the oil and gas industry, who are willing to take a gamble on companies that might spend 10 years bringing a new product to fruition. And the city itself has been a powerful friend to life-science startups, funding the 1996 construction of the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park. The complex -- 700,000 square feet of space in seven buildings on a 27-acre site -- has attracted an influx of innovative biomedical firms.

Oklahoma City has its drawbacks. Among the most tornado-prone cities in America, it has the dubious distinction of getting hit in 1999 by the worst twister on record, with winds topping 320 miles per hour. And forget about entertaining your visiting clients with top-notch sporting events: Oklahoma City has only one professional franchise, the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, which had its first season in 2008 and finished 26th in the league. -Alec Foege

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Oklahoma City, OK


Local smallbiz lenders

  • Bancfirst Corporation
  • Arvest Bank Group
  • Midland Financial Co
  • American Heritage Holdings
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
See all local lenders

Oklahoma City Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
31,139 78,289
Small business growth rate
5.7% 5.3%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
18 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
28.2% 32.7%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
517 537.6
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
4,314.4 3,700.0
Population growth
6.6% 6.38%
Per-capita income
$38,834 $41,342
Per-capita income growth
37.9% 25.0%
GDP (in millions)
$50,409 $164,601
GDP growth
40% 32%
Average hourly wage
$17.73 $21.03
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
305 113
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$728 $981
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.2% 1.8%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.4% 1.9%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-15.2% 0.0%

All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see "How we picked the Best Places."

From the November 2009 issue
"Before I moved to Oklahoma City from San Francisco 20 years ago, I had the cowboys-and-Indians stereotype in the back of my mind. Then when I got here, I was very pleasantly surprised. " -Craig Shimasaki
Best Places Winners
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The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

ireportTell us why: Low taxes? Talented workers? An active small business community? Send us your photos and videos, and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of reader-picked Best Places to Launch. More
This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

Comments? E-mail the editors
Data partners

This package was produced in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Foreclosure data provided by RealtyTrac.

Housing price-to-income data provided by Moody's