Oklahoma’s population growth exceeds that of the nation

Data recently released by the US Census Bureau shows that population growth in Oklahoma exceeded most of the country from July 2020 to July 2021, mainly due to an influx of people moving to Oklahoma from ‘other states.

This population increase coincided with the removal of most COVID restrictions in Oklahoma even as warrants were maintained in other states. Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration sees a strong correlation between the growth of Oklahoma and the governor’s focus on maximizing the freedom of citizens.

“There is nothing more powerful than voting with your feet and it is no surprise that Americans are choosing Oklahoma thanks to the leadership of Governor Stitt to protect individual freedoms and keep Oklahoma open for business.” said Charlie Hannema, communications manager for Stitt. “We continue to target businesses in states with more oppressive regulations and Oklahoma is well positioned to benefit from this national population shift.”

When discussing the reopening process in May 2020, Stitt predicted Oklahoma could become a national leader.

“I want Oklahoma to be the first state in the nation to reclaim its wings and serve as an example of a community that works together, not against each other, a community that wins together, succeeds together and thrives together,” Stitt said. . “Now is the time for us to show the courage and freedom of Oklahoma to the nation. “

“People are fed up with lockdowns and they are fed up with being told what to do. My business has never been better from the perspective of the people who come here. —Monty Strickland, real estate agent

More than a year later, the state’s recovery is evident in both the economic figures and the demographics. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Oklahoma had the third lowest unemployment rate in the country in October. Oklahoma’s unemployment rate was 2.7%, the state’s lowest rate since 1976 and one point lower than surrounding states.

Now, new data from the US Census Bureau shows Oklahoma ranked 16th out of 50 states in terms of population growth from July 2020 to July 2021, measured as a percentage of growth.

Oklahoma experienced a population growth of 0.6 percent during the year. The state added approximately 24,608 people from July 2020 to July 2021. Of this total, 24,687 people were added by national migration from other states, while 1,523 were added by international migration. This influx offset a slight decline in the indigenous population, as the number of deaths slightly exceeded the number of births.

In the immediate region, only Texas experienced better growth. Otherwise, Oklahoma is doing much better than any of the other states around it. Excluding Texas, net inland migration to Oklahoma was at least 54% higher than what occurred in all of the other border states. The net number of people who moved to Oklahoma from other states (24,687) was almost as much as the net number of domestic migrants in Colorado and Missouri combined.

Nationally, the only states with higher growth rates than Oklahoma were Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

In contrast, a significant number of states have experienced population decline: California, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia -Western.

The remaining states all experienced population growth of between 0.01% and 0.5%.

That many people are moving to Oklahoma defies the predictions of some critics who claim that Oklahoma’s conservative political environment keeps more people away than it attracts. Such views were adopted earlier this year by participants in a June panel hosted by the Oklahoma Conference of Churches titled “Is America a ‘Fundamentally Racist Nation’?” A perspective of faith.

Much of the attention of this panel was on the enactment of the House Bill 1775, which prohibited K-12 schools in Oklahoma from teaching several concepts widely associated with critical race theory, including that “a race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex ”and that“ an individual, by reason of race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.

“Everyone around us despises this state,” said Lawrence Ware, assistant professor and diversity liaison in the philosophy department at Oklahoma State University. “And they despise this state because of these kinds of laws. Many, many of my friends refuse to come back to this state. Many, many people who are not from this state do not want to come here.

“There are so many people that I have contact with who tell me, ‘I’m leaving Oklahoma. I’m getting out of here. It is not safe for me here. I can’t be there, ”said Shannon Fleck, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches. “And I don’t blame them.”

She added that “Oklahoma’s future literally leaves Oklahoma’s borders because of the laws that are passed.”

But those who interact directly with people who are now moving to Oklahoma say the state’s political climate is part of the draw for new residents, not only in terms of COVID restrictions, but also when it comes to political debates. wider.

“I’ve been in real estate for 20 years now, and over the past two years I’ve seen more people contact me from other states or parts of the country who wanted to settle here,” said Monty Strickland, 2021 President of MLSOK. , a local association of real estate agents. “I’ve helped people from California, South Carolina, Austin, Chicago. I mean, they come from all over the place. And I think there are several reasons, one being the political climate. Historically, we’ve been a fairly conservative state, which I appreciate and that’s why I’m here personally. And people are fed up with lockdowns and they are fed up with being told what they can do, where they can go. Fortunately, our governor did not lead us down this path. We took the conservative approach and it worked. My business has never been better from the perspective of the people who come here.

Strickland said Oklahoma’s relatively low cost of living also played a role. While the median price of a home in the Oklahoma market has increased by $ 50,000 over the past two years, the average price of a home is still lower than in many state markets, sometimes so spectacular.

The fact that most Oklahoma schools remained open throughout the 2020-2021 school year also made the state attractive to people wishing to relocate, he said.

“It was just kind of a perfect storm,” Strickland said, “for people who wanted to get a little piece of Oklahoma pie.”

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