Lot lines: Population growth shows OKC is in the sweet spot


J. David Chapman

Over the past four years, Oklahoma City has seen its ranking rise from the 27th largest city to the 20th largest city in the United States.

I have written about the importance of the US census. The census is an important report card on how we behave as a city. Ultimately, the best judge of whether your city is a place people want to live is population growth or decline. Oklahoma City is on the rise! New census demographics showed OKC’s population at 687,700, moving us to the 20th largest city in the nation, just behind Denver.

This is a big deal. Between 2020 and 2021 we jumped over Nashville and Washington, D.C. We are now bigger than some highly respected cities. Even better news for our community is the continued growth of our suburbs, which is producing impressive growth numbers for the metro area. As our transportation networks mature, between suburbs and OKC, we will see more interest in amenities that require larger numbers of customers such as professional sports teams.

Economists have predicted growth in Oklahoma’s population after the pandemic. The lack of long-term economic shutdowns during the pandemic has been criticized by some national experts; however, it is difficult to argue the results of our population growth and economic performance created by the decisions made. Our decisions have preserved jobs and people tend to follow job opportunities.

Of course, size is just one of the variables we compare. We also continue to compare crime, school performance, flight connections and overall quality of life. Beginning with the metro area’s first one-cent project sales tax approved in 1993, OKC has continued to invest in quality of life amenities for its citizens. Now the fourth iteration, known as MAPS4, includes nearly $1 billion worth of projects, including a new fairground coliseum, multi-purpose stadium and upgrades to the Paycom Center, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder. of the NBA.

Currently, the OKC metro area is a unique location with a low cost of living and ease of living combined with the modern conveniences of a major American city. We should take advantage of this place where we are because as the population increases, the prices will also increase. But for now, enjoy the amenities that come with being a big city without the inconveniences.

J. David Chapman is Professor of Finance and Real Estate at the University of Central Oklahoma (jchapman7@uco.edu).

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