There is nothing like Oklahoma.
Songs, movies and pop culture in general have talked about Oklahoma forever now. It’s got a lot of history, beauty, culture and some of the friendliest sports fanatics in the country. If you grew up there, you’ll most likely never leave.
But is it all good in the Sooner State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Oklahoma has its least desirable spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities are the worst you could possibly live in if you make Oklahoma your home .
After analyzing 70 of the state’s most populous cities (over 2,5,000 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Oklahoma:
- Anadarko (Photos)
- Seminole (Photos)
- Poteau (Photos)
- Sallisaw (Photos)
- Idabel (Photos)
- Henryetta (Photos)
- Okmulgee (Photos)
- Wagoner (Photos)
- Hugo (Photos)
- Cushing (Photos)
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.
How we determined the worst places to live in Oklahoma for 2018
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 70 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 70 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one ‘Worst Place To Live Score’.
Finally, we ranked every city on the ‘Worst Place To Live Score’ with the lowest score being the worst city in Oklahoma — Anadarko. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Oklahoma.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Population: 6,768Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Home Values: $64,100 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.4% (4th worst)
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Oklahoma, Anadarko ranks 1st worst. Let’s see why.
Here in Anadarko, crime is the 11th highest in the state, and 1 out of 24.0 residents was robbed here according to the latest FBI numbers.
That’s not the first place you think of making home, is it?
Additionally, you have a 1 in 135 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rapes, attacks or murders. That’s really high.
When you look at adult education in Oklahoma, the folks in Anadarko have the 21st highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Anadarko undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 4th highest in Oklahoma, at 13.4%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means Oklahoma has some hard workers.
Population: 7,470Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $63,100 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.0% (5th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Seminole is the 2nd worst place you can live in Oklahoma. Let’s see why.
The unemployment rate in Seminole is 12.0%. In terms of comparing Oklahoma cities to one another, that’s the 5th highest in the state.
And while a lot of folks in Seminole are out of work, the ones who have jobs earn $34,904 a year, which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. And the crime in Seminole is the 20th highest in the state, where 1 in 28.4 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers. That’s really high.
Plus, it’s one of the least densely populated places in the state, where you have to drive an hour to Oklahoma City to find anything beyond the norm for fun. Sure, Oklahomans enjoy their ‘outdoor’ fun, but when you want to mix in a fancy night out or hit the malls, that’s a long drive.
Seminole folks could use a big hug right about now.
Population: 8,687Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Home Values: $92,600 (21st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (23rd worst)
Way out near the Arkansas state line is Poteau, where there simply isn’t much to do, entertainment wise. You have a long way to drive to get to any decent sized city.
But that’s not all. The unemployment rate is at 7.1%, which is the 23rd highest in the state. And the income levels are far below the state average. So, even if residents here had a ‘big city’ to venture into every now and then, many couldn’t afford to make the trip.
Population: 8,650Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Values: $96,100 (22nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (14th worst)
Sallisaw takes the 4th worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons — below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.
But what gives Sallisaw its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 10th worst in the whole state.
Population: 7,007Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Values: $74,300 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (39th worst)
Speaking of a long drive for some indoor entertainment, people in Idabel would have to drive all the way down to Texarkana to find a decent-sized town. If they could afford it. The average family in Idabel lives right at the poverty line, and 5.8% of them are unemployed, which is the 39th highest in the state.
Crime is certainly above the state average here.
But on the bright side, the education, measured in terms of money spent per student and teacher-student ratio, is towards the top.
Population: 5,799Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Values: $60,400 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (2nd worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Henryetta is the 6th worst place you can live in the state of Oklahoma. Let’s see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Oklahoma. Henryetta is the 28th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 30.2 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $60,400, which is the 3rd lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Henryetta.
Income levels are just about $32,664, the 9th lowest in Oklahoma.
When you add it all up, Henryetta really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
Population: 12,284Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Values: $65,400 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.6% (3rd worst)
If you drive a half hour south of Tulsa on Route 75, you’ll come to Okmulgee, which has the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the state of Oklahoma. At 14.6%, a lot of folks are having a hard time finding jobs here, and those that do earn some of the lowest salaries in the state.
The crime rate is the 14th highest in the state, where people have to lock their doors at night, considering that 1 in 25.3 was statistically vulnerable to a property crime in 2015.
Population: 8,647Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Values: $90,900 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (6th worst)
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Wagoner is the 8th worst place in the state of Oklahoma.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Wagoner is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Wagoner are the 20th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can’t get much worse in Oklahoma.
Population: 5,257Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 8)
Home Values: $65,200 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.1% (1st worst)
you’re looking to live in Oklahoma, Hugo might not be the best choice as it places 9th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2015.
Hugo doesn’t have the worst crime in the state, but it’s sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Hugo may not be your first choice for a vacation.
Population: 7,865Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 5)
Home Values: $75,800 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (14th worst)
While the median household income in Cushing is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of ‘worst cities’, Cushing still has the 14th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 16th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Cushing household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn’t help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Oklahoma
If you’re looking at areas in Oklahoma with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Anadarko ranks as the worst city to live in Oklahoma for 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Oklahoma:
- Jenks (Pop. 19,852)
- Edmond (Pop. 88,342)
- Bixby (Pop. 23,956)
For more Oklahoma reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Boring Places In Oklahoma
- These Are The 10 Snobbiest Places In Oklahoma
- These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Oklahoma
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Oklahoma