Cities that are considered big and affordable are rare indeed. According to one of the nation’s biggest financial publishers, Tulsa fits the best of both worlds.

Kiplinger ranked Tulsa No. 5 in its “top 10 Most Affordable Big Cities in the U.S.” list. Tulsa finished ahead of in-state neighbor Oklahoma City, ranked at No. 9, while Memphis, Tennessee, was lauded at the top.

One key note was that Tulsa’s cost of living is nearly 12 percent below the national average, while it’s per-capita income is 11.6 percent higher than the U.S. norm, according to the report. Kiplinger also noted the city’s historical ties to the oil and cattle industries that resonate even today.

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“The Gilcrease Museum, which specializes in exhibits about the American West, offers free admission on the first Tuesday and third Sunday of each month,” the online entry reads. “Another must-see is the 1920s villa that is home to the Philbrook Museum of Art. Construction of the opulent Italian renaissance building was financed by the oil boom.”

Cowboys and oil barons aside, Tulsa was celebrated by Kiplinger for its relatively low home costs, unemployment rate and average commutes to work.

“Tulsa is that rare kind of city where costs of living and doing business are avenues to success and prosperity, not obstacles,” Tulsa Regional Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal said in a statement.

Kiplinger joins Relocate America, Apartment Guide and Forbes among publications that have ranked Tulsa high for affordability and quality of life in recent years, Neal added.

“We’re thrilled and humbled that Tulsa is once again being recognized for what Tulsans have known their entire lives,” he said.

Ranked between Memphis and Tulsa in the top five are Columbus, Ohio; Omaha, Nebraska; and Nashville. Finished No. 6-10 are San Antonio, Lexington, Kentucky; Lincoln, Nebraska; Oklahoma City and Louisville, Kentucky.


Kiplinger's Most Affordable Big Cities

Rank/City Cost of living (below U.S. avg.) Income Unemployment Average commute
1. Memphis 14.6 percent $36,817 9.9 percent 21.5 minutes
2. Columbus 12.8 percent $43,992 4.4 percent 21.2 minutes
3. Omaha 12.8 percent $46,978 3.9 percent 18 minutes
4. Nashville 12.4 percent $45,982 6.2 percent 23.2 minutes
5. Tulsa 11.7 percent $40,781 4.5 percent 18.3 minutes

Source: Kiplinger, using federal data including median household income.

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Rod Walton 918-581-8457

rod.walton@tulsaworld.com