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Tulsa, OK
MSA: Tulsa, OK
Best places ranking: #19 among midsize metro areas
Population: 916,079

This Midwestern city is very pro-business and attracts entrepreneurs with its tax incentives, low startup costs, and friendly citizens. Oklahoma has a tax structure that encourages businesses to launch and grow in the state. Qualifying small businesses that create new jobs can receive up to 5% of their taxable wages in quarterly cash-back rebates as part of the state's Small Employer Quality Jobs incentive.

Business owners rave about the benefits of doing business with fellow Midwesterners -- a notoriously congenial population. Support groups and advice centers are eager to lend a hand: Tulsa's Young Professionals has more than 5,000 members

Tulsa is right in the middle of the country, but a conveniently located airport with lots of nonstop flights makes it easy for Tulsa business owners to hop to other major metropolitan centers.

Tulsa's low cost of living attracts entrepreneurs looking to settle down and start a family. The small city boasts very affordable homes, and Tulsa's downtown region is currently undergoing a transformation, offering restaurants and pubs on renovated streets. -Catherine Clifford

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Tulsa, OK


Local smallbiz lenders

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

Tulsa Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
23,310 11,214
Small business growth rate
2.9% 5.0%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
18 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
23.8% 26.9%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
648.7 478.8
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
3,813.3 3,562.2
Population growth
4.5% 5.73%
Per-capita income
$41,307 $35,547
Per-capita income growth
35.9% 24.0%
GDP (in millions)
$41,119 $18,559
GDP growth
34% 32%
Average hourly wage
$17.85 $18.69
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
140 286
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$758 $848
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.2% 1.9%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.5% 1.8%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-19.2% 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
"We bought an old building and restored it in downtown Tulsa. We couldn't have this experience in Seattle or San Francisco, but we can afford it here. " -Noah Roberts
Best Places Winners
What do you think of Tulsa?
Find your launch spot
Do you prefer a place that is: Small Medium Large
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