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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Tulsa.
So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Tulsa 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Tulsa area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Tulsa proper, although Bixby certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Tulsa are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..
We examined the 16 biggest suburbs of Tulsa to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Oklahoma lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Tulsa in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Tulsa for 2022:
What's the worst suburb of Tulsa? Inola ranks as the worst suburb of Tulsa for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Tulsa that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.
Or, if you're thinking of moving to elsewhere in Oklahoma check out the best places in Oklahoma overall or the worst.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Tulsa too.
Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.
For more Oklahoma reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Oklahoma
- Cheapest Places To Live In Oklahoma
- Most Dangerous Cities In Oklahoma
The 10 Worst Tulsa Suburbs To Live For 2022
We'll get the ball rolling with Inola, the absolute worst place to live around Tulsa according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Inola beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Tulsa area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 5th worst when it comes to home values.
But hey, at least it's cheap to live there. But there's a reason for that... it's Inola.
You won't feel bad about not having a great income for the area, there aren't a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Income: $47,679 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (highest)
Median Home Value: $129,600 (5th lowest)
More on Inola: Data
Welcome to Haskell. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 24.7 miles to Tulsa. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $31,081 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $31,081 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $95,700 (lowest)
More on Haskell: Data
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Tulsa suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Catoosa on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that's an understatement.
In terms of numbers, it's in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school drop out rate is poor compared to other Tulsa suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in Claremore, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest Tulsa suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Tulsa. Remember, we looked at 16 cities for this study.
Claremore is about 20.7 miles to downtown.
Mannford has the distinction of being a Tulsa suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Mannford has the 4th lowest home values in the metro Tulsa area, where the median price is $128,000. To put that into perspective, in Bixby, the median income is $87,306, which is the best in the area.
Mannford has an unemployment rate of 3.27% which ranks 12th worst.
Collinsville has 7,140 residents that probably know it's a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you've ever been there, you don't need to look at the data.)
Incomes are towards the bottom and the poverty rate sits at 12.873107936058847%.
Ah, Sapulpa. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Tulsa.
It's the place with the 16th most out of work residents in the Tulsa metro area (2.43%).
Sand Springs is a city about 12.8 miles from Tulsa, but Tulsa probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.
You'd be hard pressed to find a worse place to live. Sand Springs has the 10th most uninsured people, 8th worst incomes, and has the 6th highest unemployment rate (4.72%) in the entire Tulsa metro area.
Homes only cost $145,000 for a reason. That's cheap for Tulsa standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Tulsa, then Coweta might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Tulsa suburb.
About 4.7% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Tulsa suburbs to call home is Kiefer.
Located 15.3 miles outside the city, Kiefers is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 15th highest unemployment rate (2.74%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Tulsa for 2022
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 threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2016-2020, this is the criteria we used:
- High unemployment rate
- Low median household incomes
- Low population density (no things to do)
- Low home values
- A lot of high school drop outs
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Tulsa.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 16 suburbs to evaluate around Tulsa.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 16 in each category, where 1 was the "worst".
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index the "Worst Suburb near Tulsa." We're lookin' at you, Inola. You can download the data here.
Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.
Summary: The areas around Tulsa where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022
Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Tulsa with Inola casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Tulsa aren't all bad. Bixby takes the cake as the best place to live around Tulsa.
For more Oklahoma reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Oklahoma
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- Worst Places To Live In Oklahoma
Detailed List Of The Worst Tulsa Suburbs