Tulsa, Oklahoma is a unique city with a warmth and charm all its own. With its American Indian heritage, western frontier history and the discovery of oil nearby leading to the designation The Oil Capitol of the World, Tulsa was the quintessential boom town in the early third of the 20th century. Today, Tulsa's heritage lives on in its many beautiful art deco buildings, parks and museums featuring American Indian and American West life.
The city of Tulsa stands at the intersection of Tulsa, Osage and Rogers counties, in the heart of Oklahoma's forested rolling hills in the northeastern part of the state. Together with oil centers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Texas, Tulsa is a giant in the world's petroleum market, with more than 1,000 firms dependent on the production and sale of oil.
Tulsa was first settled by Creek Indians in 1828. In 1848, Creek Indian Lewis Perryman established the first trading post at the new settlement, and in 1878 his son George developed a regular mail station at the site, which then came to be called Tulsa, probably from the Talsi or Talasi branch of the Creek tribe.
Originally a cattle and dry goods trading center drawing attention from ranchers scattered throughout the area, Tulsa was integrated into a wider trading area in 1882 when the Frisco railroad brought a line through town. This in turn facilitated the movement of new settlers into the area and allowed "Tulsey Town" to transport cattle to the stockyards of St. Louis and Chicago and from there, throughout the nation. Tulsa was incorporated as a town on January 18, 1898.
Oil was first discovered in the area in 1901. In 1905, 2 years before statehood, a huge strike - the world's largest at the time - was made at Glenn Pool, where oil still flows to this day. By 1920, the city was already well-known as the "Oil Capitol of the World". Many of Tulsa's historic buildings were constructed during the boom period, which explains the city's extraordinary art deco flavor in its downtown architecture.
Oil naturally fueled the growth of aviation, and Tulsa was an early center for the development of this industry. During the Second World War, many of the nation's pilots were trained at Spartan School of Aeronautics and Douglas Aircraft sited a major manufacturing plant in Tulsa. In later years, both McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell International based aviation and space technology operations in Tulsa. Today, American Airlines operates a major maintenance facility in Tulsa and the Tulsa International Airport offers direct service to many major cities.
Today, with just under 1 million residents, the Tulsa MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) ranks 55th in the nation, slightly less than Tuscon, AZ and Honolulu, HI and slightly more than Fresno, CA, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT, and Albuquerque, NM. What distinguishes Tulsa from other similar sized American cities, is its relative diversity and representativeness. Tulsa ranks very high on the index for key demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, and income and is a very good market for gauging the opinion of "typical" Americans.
The Tulsa metropolitan surrounding area (MSA) is comprised of seven counties with an aggregate population estimated at 975,666 or 25.0 percent of the population in Oklahoma. The gross product of all goods and services produced in the seven-county MSA is estimated to be $ 50.9 billion (2010 dollars) or 30.7 percent of the Oklahoma economy.
A quick look at Tulsa MSA demographics:
- Male 49.1%; Female 50.9%
- Median age: 36.8
- Average household income: $68,210
- Number of employees: 444,415
- No. 1 city for young entrepreneurs in the U.S. (Forbes, 2013)
- 2nd best U.S. city for young people to find jobs (Fiscal Times, 2013)
- No. 1 place to live in the U.S. (Relocate America, 2009)
- No. 5 on America's Most Livable Cities (Forbes.com, 2009)
- 2nd shortest commute time in the nation
- Cost of living is 12 percent below the national average
- Cost of doing business is 14 percent under the U.S. average
- Tulsa County's per capita income is 11.6 percent above the national average
- Named one of the Top 10 southern cities by Southern Living
- The nation's largest Young Professional Organization
- America's largest Community Foundation
- The country's best Chamber of Commerce (2008)
- One of the largest heritages of art deco art and architecture in the U.S
- Top travel spot and most affordable destination (2008)
- One of the nation's best cities for minor league sports
No. 1 state for entrepreneurship (Kauffman Foundation 2010)
No. 1 affordable city in the U.S. (Relocate America 2010)
No. 1 metro for cost of living (Business Facilities 2010)
No. 1 fastest-growing state by GDP (The Huffington Post 2010)
No. 2 city for second quarter 2011 employment outlook (Manpower 2011)
No. 2 housing market (MSNBC 2010)
No. 3 city for starter home (CNBC 2010)
No. 3 state for corporate tax environment (Area Development 2010)
No. 4 city for Ten Best Places to Find a Job (The Fiscal Times 2011)
No. 4 city for jobs in winter 2011 (Forbes 2010)
No. 4 metro for quality of life (Business Facilities 2010)
No. 4 state for employment (Business Facilities 2010)
No. 4 state for workforce development (Area Development 2010)
Top 5 real estate market for value gain (Zillow.com 2011)
No. 5 place to buy a home (Zillow.com 2011)
No. 5 strongest economy for families (Parenting Magazine, Best Cities 2010)
No. 6 state for wind power capicity (U.S. Dept. of Energey 2011)
No. 6 region for small business (The Business Journals 2011)
No. 6 place to live in the U.S. (Relocate America 2010)
No. 8 U.S. city for young adults (Portfolio.com 2010)
No. 9 metro for GDP growth in 2009 (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis 2010)
No. 9 venue in the U.S. and No. 27 worldwide, BOK Center (Pollstar Magazine 2011)
Top 10 state for job growth and business creation (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011)Top 10 city in which to retire (AARP 2011)
No. 10 city having an awesome recovery (Business Insider 2010)
No. 10 state for doing business (Area Development 2010)
Top 10 pro-business communities in the South, without a beach (Southern Business & Development 2011)
No. 11 for best state for business (Chief Executive Magazine 2011)
No. 15 affordable city (Forbes 2011)
Top 20 strongest performing metro economies (Brookings Institution 2010)
No. 25 best city for business (Market Watch 2010)