These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Oklahoma For 2018

We used science and data to determine which places in OK are really ghetto.

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

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There are lots of people who throw the term ‘ghetto’ around. But where is the actual ghetto in Oklahoma?

How do you decide if a place is ghetto or not? You ask the internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ghetto is defined as:

“urban; of or relating to (inner) city life” and “poor; of or relating to the poor life.”

Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where ghettos might exist in a state and then put out a list.

After analyzing all cities with a decent amount of people in them, we came up with this list as the most ghetto places in Oklahoma:

  1. Idabel (Photos)
  2. Broken Bow
  3. Anadarko (Photos)
  4. Bristow
  5. Okmulgee (Photos)
  6. Holdenville
  7. Seminole (Photos)
  8. Muskogee (Photos)
  9. Ardmore (Photos)
  10. Ada (Photos)

Read on below to see where your home town ranked and why.

Oklahoma City ranks as the 31st most ghetto city (out of 85). On the flip side, Norman, Broken Arrow and Edmond are some of the least ghetto cities in Oklahoma.

For more Oklahoma reading, check out:


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What ghetto criteria did we use?

In order to rank the most ghetto places in Oklahoma, we had to determine what criteria defines a ghetto city or neighborhood.

Since a ghetto is defined as a poor area, we used income levels, crime and education levels as a guide to determine where the most broke citizens of a state live.

Additionally, the staples of inner city life include cheap and discounted retail outlets.

We started by making a list of every place in Oklahoma with more than 4,000 people based on the 2013 American Community Survey. That left us with over 85 places in the Sooner State.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using Yelp and Area Vibes, this is the criteria we used:

  • Household income levels
  • High school graduation rates
  • Number of convenience stores
  • Number of drug stores
  • Number of discount stores
  • Crime

Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.

All of these results are listed in a per capita basis. Meaning number of stores per person in a state. Additionally, high school graduation rates are determined by looking at the total number of people who live in a city, not the current graduation rate of an area’s high schools.


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1. Idabel

Source: wikipedia

Income: $24,015
Drop out rate: 26.6%
Crime: 23rd highest

If you haven’t been through Idabel, know this: It’s poor and uneducated. This city in the far southwest corner of the state just might be the most ghetto area in the entire state of Oklahoma.

The government considers $25,000 a year the poverty line for a family of four. In Idabel, the average family earns less than that. In fact, nearly 3 in 10 people here lives below the level of what is considered the bare minimum to survive.

Idabel has the 3rd highest number of drug stores, per person, in the state. Sociologists have determined that drug stores are a staple of inner city life.

2. Broken Bow

Source: wikipedia

Income: $25,000
Drop out rate: 25.7%
Crime: 7th highest

This probably isn’t a surprise to folks in Oklahoma. Broken Bow is a broken city. It’s very poor, and the 7th most dangerous place in the state for cities over 5,000 people, according to the FBI.

If you spent a year in Broken Bow city limits, you’d have a 1 in 20 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Most of those were robberies.

It’s just about right next door to Idabel.

The real shocker: 47% of the population lives below the poverty line. We’ve run a lot of data for this site, and that might be the highest we’ve ever seen.

3. Anadarko

Source: wikipedia

Income: $32,585
Drop out rate: 28.2%
Drug stores: 15th highest

Half of the population of Anadarko is Native American. There are many glaring issues here, like there are in a majority of the American cities with a majority Native American population.

This city, 50 miles southwest of OKC, has a per capita income of $12,060 per resident. That’s extraordinarily low.

In addition, 3 in 10 people here never completed high school, and Anadarko was 5th in the state for mentions of the word #ghetto on Twitter.

4. Bristow

Source: wikipedia

Income: $29,939
Drop out rate: 26%
Crime: 12th highest

Having the 3rd highest number of convenience stores per capita and the 6th lowest income level in the state isn’t a good combination. But that’s what the current situation is for the small town of Bristow, located about halfway between OKC and Tulsa along I-44.

1 in 5 families lives below the poverty line here, and the median home price is $61,000 as of this writing. That’s one of the lowest average home prices you’ll ever see in the U.S.

5. Okmulgee

Source: wikipedia

Income: $32,022
Drop out rate: 21.6%
Crime: 11th highest

Outside of a major city, there was more chatter about how ghetto Okmulgee is on Twitter than just about any other place.

Example: “thinking about getting a second job in okmulgee but its so ghetto and what if we get robbed?”

Not only do the economic factors define this city of 12,000 as a true ghetto, but it’s about an hour’s drive from a major city, making it difficult for those who are struggling to get out of the ghetto and into a better situation.

6. Holdenville

Source: Public Domain

Income: $26,264
Drop out rate: 43.4%
Crime: 42nd

The good news about Holdenville: It’s only about average when it comes to overall crime. However, there was a murder here two years ago, which is horrible for a community so small (5,800 people).

The bad news: Holdenville has the highest dropout rate in the state. Almost half of the population never completed high school. Even though 14% are Native American, in this day and age, every American has a chance to excel.

And the fact is, hardly anyone here excels. Holdenville is the 4th poorest and the 4th least employed city in Oklahoma.

7. Seminole

Source: Wikipedia

Income: $30,702
Drop out rate: 26%
Crime: 6th highest

Seminole is another smallish town where 1 in 7 residents is Native American. Here, the main issue is crime and poverty. Seminole is statistically the 6th most dangerous place in the state, where most residents have a far higher average to be a victim of crime than most other cities in OK.

1 in 5 members of the community lives below the poverty line, and homes sell for just over $70,000 on average.

Seminole is a bit aways from the greater southeastern Oklahoma City area.

8. Muskogee

Source: wikipedia

Income: $32,621
Drop out rate: 21%
Crime: 9th highest

Crime is pretty bad in Muskogee, which is the largest city to make this list. There were two murders here in 2013 -which is really high for Oklahoma – and folks have a 1 in 22 chance of being robbed (car or home).

According to Wikipedia, the crime rate has risen here by 45% in the last 20 years.

Muskogee is about 45 minutes southeast of Broken Arrow.

There was plenty to say about Muskogee on Twitter. This was a gem:

“Being in the ghetto of Muskogee on July 4th weekend is kinda scary because you have to ask yourself, ‘Fireworks or gunshots?’”

9. Ardmore

Source: wikipedia

Income: $38,383
Drop out rate: 21.6%
Crime: Highest in OK

And speaking of crime, welcome to the city of Ardmore, population 25,000. Statistically, there isn’t another place in the entire state of Oklahoma where you’d have a higher chance of being raped, killed, attacked or robbed than here.

In fact, if you spent a year here, you’d have a 1 in 12 chance of being victimized by some type of crime. That’s one of the highest rates we’ve ever seen in the nation. Most of those crimes are considered larceny, meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and televisions.

Ardmore is down I-35 on your way to Dallas-Fort Worth. That might be part of the reason it’s so dangerous here. It might be major highway for transporting drugs.

10. Ada

Source: wikipedia

Income: $32,226
Drop out rate: 21.3%
Crime: 14th highest

Ada has one of the highest concentrations of discount and drug stores in the state. That’s an indication of inner city life for sure.

Additionally, it’s the 14th most dangerous place in the state, and most families here struggle to make ends meet.

Ada is close to an hour south of OKC.

There You Have It

If you’re measuring the locations in Oklahoma where there are a high number of poor and uneducated residents, and where there are a high number of discounted shopping stores, this is an accurate list.

Additionally, here are the least ghetto places in Oklahoma:

  1. Piedmont (Pop. 5,783)
  2. Bixby (Pop. 20,964)
  3. Blanchard (Pop. 7,569)
  4. Jenks (Pop. 16,918)
  5. Choctaw (Pop. 11,202)

We also wrote about the 10 Most Redneck Cities In Oklahoma if you didn’t happen to see it.

Or, if you’re an Oklahoma City Thunder fan, this will give you the goosebumps. Guaranteed.

Desktop users, below is a chart of all large cities in Oklahoma, along with their crime rates:

City Crime Rank
idabel 116.6 1
broken bow 142.8 2
anadarko 109.4 3
bristow 132.6 4
okmulgee 132.9 5
holdenville 93.7 6
seminole 144.7 7
muskogee 134.3 8
ardmore 152 9
ada 131 10
vinita 92.1 11
wagoner 138.9 12
pauls valley 132.5 13
tahlequah 99.4 14
mcalester 101 14
hugo 51.3 16
miami 121.9 17
durant 129.3 18
sulphur 92.5 19
shawnee 124.3 20
sallisaw 73.6 21
guymon 93.1 22
tulsa 149.6 23
pryor creek 105.2 24
del city 133.7 24
chickasha 129.7 26
altus 100.1 26
lawton 145 26
el reno 105 26
warr acres 130.1 30
oklahoma city 146.7 31
cushing 87.8 32
poteau 106.8 33
skiatook 147.1 34
fort gibson 90.6 35
mcloud 84.9 36
sayre 101.3 37
midwest city 119.7 38
guthrie 84.6 39
ponca city 121.2 40
tecumseh 94.8 41
henryetta 75.2 42
claremore 91.3 43
clinton 77.3 43
sapulpa 92.8 43
duncan 108.1 46
pocola 58.7 46
blackwell 78.1 48
stillwater 95.4 48
coweta 91.2 50
enid 118.3 51
grove 99.3 52
perry 76.8 53
purcell 97.9 53
bartlesville 106.9 55
bethany 96 56
catoosa 90.3 57
the village 111.2 58
weatherford 113.4 59
marlow 86.6 60
woodward 89 61
sand springs 92 62
lone grove 80.8 63
glenpool 78.1 64
moore 86.7 64
tuttle 104 66
noble 75.6 67
kingfisher 78.2 68
alva 90.1 69
collinsville 87 70
norman 85 70
owasso 81.9 72
slaughterville 57 73
elk city 61.1 74
broken arrow 76.3 75
harrah 64 76
newcastle 74.6 77
mustang 76.5 78
edmond 67 78
yukon 52.7 80
choctaw 58 81
jenks 71.6 81
blanchard 67 83
bixby 60.8 83
piedmont 32.9 83
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.