7 Oklahoma Hometowns Among Worst ‘Small Cities In America’
A recent study ranked all of the smaller cities in America and 12 hometowns on the list were from here in Oklahoma. The expected nicer communities were comfortably ranked in the middle, but over half were listed as some of the worst in the country.
While it doesn't sound very "Oklahoma" per se, the Wallet Hub study said the ratio of people that prefer urban areas to suburban areas is about 50/50. As crazy as that sounds, if I thought about it hard enough, I can see it. Even in my own small, leaning on rural hometown, our buddies flocked to the trendy apartments in the downtown area.
Measuring the 1300 cities across the country that fit the metrics of a population between 25k-100k, overall quality of life, affordability, safety, education, and economic health, here is how Oklahoma ranked.
Emond ranked the highest in the state, in the 61st percentile due to the overall niceness of the community and above-average education and safety statistics. Yukon scored just a point lower, consistently ranked as "the best" place to live in the state.
Tulsa suburb Bixby ranked in the 59th percentile, Owasso made it to the middle of that pack at 50 with tornado-magnet Moore coming in at 49.
Overall, not a bad showing for Oklahoma... if only it weren't for the bottom seven.
Once the global and corporate home of the Phillips 66 corporation, hard times seem to have fallen on this mecca of the oilfield turned glorified refinery town. As Phillips continues to downsize and/or move jobs to big oil towns like Houston, the population shrinks as crime goes up. A relatively low cost of living is the saving grace of this dying town, ranked in the 24th percentile.
Enid is the Lawton of Northern, Oklahoma. A military metropolis surrounded by tiny, mostly rural communities, but the similarities don't end there. If you lived in my hometown, Enid was a great place to go because they had a mall... Sound familiar enough? Ranked in the 22nd percentile among all small US cities.
Midwest City, OK
Sticking to a shockingly similar pattern, Midwest City is another military town with a now-mostly dead mall... I'm not sure if that'll be the theme of Oklahoma's "worst" small cities, but it sure seems that way. Midwest City is likely ranked so low, the 19th percentile, due to the sheer amount of violent crime that goes unsolved in this community.
If there were ever a shocker on a national list of cities, it has to be Stillwater ranked so low... the 18th percentile, below Midwest City... It seems a little crazy considering it's the gleaming home of Oklahoma State University... but then again, college towns have ultra-high rent in common with military towns across the country. Stillwater is no exception, it's a very pricey place to call home.
Admit it, you probably wondered where L-town landed on this list. A military/college town with a dying mall... Of all the curious similarities, Lawton has it all. High rent, low median income, lower than average education, and a crime rate that makes Lawton the most dangerous city in Oklahoma... but even though it's in the national 12th percentile of America's worst, it's not the "worst" small city in the state.
If it seems out of place, it does. While there's nothing unique or spectacular to Shawnee, there is a commonality it shares with the others on the bottom of this list... The Shawnee Mall... but while it's not exactly still thriving, it doesn't seem to be dying given the list of businesses still occupying space there. It's actually the economic and education health of this community, along with the crime rates that put it in the bottom 7th percentile of all small US cities.
Measuring pretty low across the board of metrics, Muskogee doesn't seem to have anything going for it these days. High crime, low education, poor economics, high rent and cost of living, it's sad they scored in the lowest 2 percentile across the nation... but I suppose some communities have to be worst if you accept others to be the best.
Even though some people will look at this and think "That's why we need to move to ______," the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Texas has 25 cities ranked in the bottom 25%. Of course, with a population of nearly 30-million, that's fair.
If you're curious, Fort Hood is ranked 1298 out of 1300 cities on the list. As bad as it gets in Lawton, be glad you're not in Lampassas.