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The name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw phrase oklahumma, literally meaning red people.
Choctaw Chief Allen Wright suggested the name in 1866 during treaty
negotiations with the federal government regarding the use of Indian Territory,
in which he envisioned an all-Indian state controlled by the United
States Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Equivalent to the English word Indian, okla humma was a phrase in the Choctaw language used to describe the Native American race as a whole. Oklahoma later became the de facto name for Oklahoma Territory, and it was officially approved in 1890, two years after the area was opened to white settlers.
Oklahoma is the 20th-largest state in the United States, covering an
area of 69,898 square miles (181,035 km²), with 68,667 square miles
(177847 km²) of land and 1,231 square miles (3,188 km²) of
water. It is one of six states on the Frontier Strip, and lies partly in the Great Plains near the geographical center of the 48 contiguous states. It is bounded on the east by Arkansas and Missouri, on the north by Kansas, on the northwest by Colorado, on the far west by New Mexico, and on the south and near-west by Texas.
Oklahoma is situated between the Great Plains and the Ozark Plateau in the Gulf of Mexico watershed, generally sloping from the high plains of its western boundary to the low wetlands of its southeastern boundary. Its highest and lowest points follow this trend, with its highest peak, Black Mesa, at 4,973 feet (1,516 m) above sea level, situated near its far northwest corner in the Oklahoma Panhandle. The state's lowest point is on the Little River near its far southeastern boundary near the town of Idabel, OK, which dips to 289 feet (88 m) above sea level.
Among the most geographically diverse states, Oklahoma is one of four to harbor more than 10 distinct ecological regions, with 11 in its borders — more per square mile than in any other state.
Its western and eastern halves, however, are marked by extreme
differences in geographical diversity: Eastern Oklahoma touches eight
ecological regions and its western half contains three.
The semi-aridhigh plains in the state’s northwestern corner harbor few natural forests. Oklahoma there is a rolling to flat landscape with intermittent canyons and mesa ranges like the Glass Mountains. Partial plains interrupted by small mountain ranges like the Antelope Hills and the Wichita Mountains dot southwestern Oklahoma, and transitional prairie and woodlands cover the central portion
of the state. The Ozark and Ouachita Mountains rise from west to east
over the state's eastern third, gradually increasing in elevation in an
More than 500 named creeks and rivers make up Oklahoma's waterways, and
with 200 lakes created by dams, it holds the highest number of
artificial reservoirs in the nation. Most of the state lies in two primary drainage basins belonging to the Red and Arkansas rivers, though the Lee and Little rivers also contain significant drainage basins.
Oklahoma is located in a temperate region and experiences occasional extremes of temperature and precipitation typical in a continental climate. Most of the state lies in an area known as Tornado Alley characterized by frequent interaction between cold and warm air masses producing severe weather. An average 54 tornadoes strike the state per year—one of the highest rates in the world.
Because of its position between zones of differing prevailing
temperature and winds, weather patterns within the state can vary widely
between relatively short distances and can change drastically in a
short time. As an example, on November 11, 1911, the temperature at Oklahoma City reached 83 °F in the afternoon (the record high for that date), then an incoming squall line resulted in a drop to 17 °F at midnight (the record low for that date); thus, both the record high and record low for November 11 were set on the same day.
The humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa) of the eastern part of Oklahoma influenced heavily by southerly winds bringing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, but transitions progressively to a semi-arid zone (Koppen BSk) in the high plains of the Panhandle and other western areas from about Lawton westward less frequently touched by southern moisture.
Precipitation and temperatures fall from east to west accordingly, with
areas in the southeast averaging an annual temperature of 62 °F (17 °C)
and an annual rainfall of 56 inches (1,420 mm), while areas of the
panhandle average 58 °F (14 °C), with an annual rainfall
under 17 inches (430 mm). All of the state frequently experiences temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) or below 0 °F (-18 °C),
and snowfall ranges from an average of less than 4 inches (10 cm)
in the south to just over 20 inches (51 cm) on the border of Colorado in the panhandle. The state is home to the Storm Prediction Center, the National Severe Storms Laboratory, and the Warning Decision Training Branch, all part of the National Weather Service and located in Norman.
Monthly temperatures for Oklahoma's largest cities
Evidence exists that native peoples traveled through Oklahoma as early as the last ice age, but the state's first permanent inhabitants settled in communities accentuated with mound-like structures near the Arkansas border between 850 and 1450 AD. Spaniard Francisco Vásquez de Coronado traveled through the state in 1541, but French explorers claimed the area in the 1700s
and it remained under French rule until 1803, when all the French
territory west of the Mississippi River was purchased by the United
States in the Louisiana Purchase.
During the 19th century, thousands of Native Americans were expelled
from their ancestral homelands from across North America and transported
to the area including and surrounding present-day Oklahoma. The Choctaw
was the first of the "Five Civilized Tribes"
to be removed from the southeastern United States. The phrase "Trail of
Tears" originated from a description of the removal of the Choctaw Nation in 1831, although the term is usually used for the Cherokee removal. About 17,000 Cherokees — along with approximately 2,000 black slaves owned by Cherokees — were removed from their homes. The area, already occupied by Osage and Quapaw tribes, was called for the Choctaw Nation
until revised Native American and then later American policy redefined
the boundaries to include other Native Americans. By 1890, more than 30
Native American nations and tribes had been concentrated on land within Indian Territory or "Indian Country." Many Native Americans served in the Union and Confederate military during the American Civil War. The Cherokees had an internal civil war.
In the period between 1866 and 1899,
cattle ranches in Texas strove to meet the demands for food in eastern
cities and railroads in Kansas promised to deliver in a timely manner. Cattle trails and cattle ranches developed as cowboys either drove their product north or settled illegally in Indian Territory. In 1881, four of five major cattle trails on the western frontier traveled through Indian Territory. Increased presence of white settlers in Indian Territory prompted the United States Government to establish the Dawes Act
in 1887, which divided the lands of individual tribes into allotments
for individual families, encouraging farming and private land ownership
among native Americans but expropriating land to the federal government.
In the process, nearly half of Indian-held land within the territory
was taken for outside settlers and for purchase by railroad companies.
The Dust Bowl sent thousands of farmers into poverty during the 1930s.
Major land runs, including the Land Run of 1889,
were held for settlers on the hour that certain territories were opened
to settlement. Usually, land was open to settlers on a first come first
Those who broke the rules by crossing the border into the territory
before it was allowed were said to have been crossing the border sooner, leading to the term sooners, which eventually became the state's official nickname.
Delegations to make the territory into a state began near the turn of the 20th century, when the Curtis Act furthered the theft of Indian tribal lands in Indian Territory. Attempts to create an all-Indian state named Oklahoma and a later attempt to create an all-Indian state named Sequoyah
failed but the Sequoyah Statehood Convention of 1905 eventually laid
the groundwork for the Oklahoma Statehood Convention, which took place
two years later. On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma was established as the 46th state in the Union.
The new state became a focal point for the emerging oil industry, as discoveries of oil pools prompted towns to grow rapidly in population and wealth. Tulsa eventually became known as the "Oil Capital of the World" for most of the 20th century and oil investments fueled much of the state's early economy. In 1927, Oklahoma businessman Cyrus Avery, known as the "Father of Route 66" began a campaign to create U.S. Route 66. Using a stretch of highway from Amarillo, Texas to Tulsa, Oklahoma to form the original portion of Highway 66, Avery spearheaded the creation of the U.S. Highway 66 Association to oversee the planning of Route 66, based in his hometown of Tulsa.
Oklahoma also has a rich African American history. There were many
black towns that thrived in the early 20th century because of black
settlers moving from neighboring states, especially Kansas. Politician
Edward P. McCabe started the movement of many black settlers to the then
Indian Territory. This movement encouraged Edward P. McCabe to actually
talk to President Theodore Roosevelt about making Oklahoma a
majority-black state. Many of the all black towns are now ghost towns. Boley and Langston (home of the historically black university Langston University) still thrive today.
In the early 20th century, despite Jim Crow Laws and a statewide presence of the Ku Klux Klan, Tulsa was home to Greenwood, one of the most prosperous African American communities in the United States, but was the site of the Tulsa Race Riot
in 1921. One of the costliest acts of racial violence in American
history, sixteen hours of rioting resulted in 35 city blocks destroyed,
$1.8 million in property damage and a death toll estimated to be as high
as 300 people. By the late 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was reduced to negligible influence within the state.
During the 1930s, parts of the state began feeling the consequences
of poor farming practices, drought and high winds. Known as the Dust Bowl, areas of Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and northwestern Oklahoma
were hampered by long periods of little rainfall and abnormally high
temperatures, sending thousands of farmers into poverty and forcing them
to relocate to more fertile areas of the western United States.
Over a twenty-year period ending in 1950, the state saw its only
historical decline in population, dropping 6.9 percent. In response,
dramatic efforts in soil and water conservation led to massive flood control systems and dams, creating hundreds of reservoirs and man-made lakes. By the 1960s, more than 200 lakes had been created, the most in the nation.
In 1995, Oklahoma City became the scene of one of the worst acts of terrorism ever committed in American history. The Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, in which Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols detonated an explosive outside of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building,
killed 168 people including 19 children. Timothy McVeigh was executed
by the federal government June 11, 2001, while his partner Terry Nichols
is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Based in the sectors of aviation, energy, transportation equipment, food processing, electronics, and telecommunications, Oklahoma is an important producer of natural gas, aircraft, and food. The state ranks second in the nation for production of natural gas, and is the 27th-most agriculturally productive state, ranking 5th in production of wheat. Four Fortune 500 companies and three Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered in Oklahoma, and it has been rated one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, with the 7th-lowest tax burden in 2007. From 2000 to 2006, Oklahoma's gross domestic product
grew 50 percent, the fifth-highest rate in the nation. It had the
fastest-growing GDP between 2005 and 2006, increasing from $122.5 to
$134.6 billion, a jump of 10.8 percent,
and its gross domestic product per capita grew 5.9 percent from $36,364
in 2006 to $38,516 in 2007, the third-fastest rate in the nation. Its
2007 per capita GDP ranked 41st among the states. Though oil has historically dominated the state's economy, a collapse in the energy industry
during the 1980s led to the loss of nearly 90,000 energy-related jobs
between 1980 and 2000, severely damaging the local economy. Oil accounted for 17 percent of Oklahoma's economic impact in 2005, and employment in the state's oil industry was outpaced by five other industries in 2007.
As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 6.7%.
In early 2007, Oklahoma had a civilian labor force of 1.7 million and total non-farm employment fluctuated around 1.6 million. The government sector provides the most jobs, with 326,000 in 2007, followed by the transportation and utilities sector, providing 285,000 jobs, and the sectors of education, business, and manufacturing, providing 191,000, 178,000, and 151,000 jobs, respectively. Among the state's largest industries, the aerospace sector generates $11 billion annually.
Tulsa is home to the largest airline maintenance base in the world,
which serves as the global maintenance and engineering headquarters for American Airlines.
In total, aerospace accounts for more than 10 percent of Oklahoma's
industrial output, and it is one of the top 10 states in aerospace
Because of its position in the center of the United States, Oklahoma is
also among the top states for logistic centers, and a major contributor
to weather-related research. The state is the top manufacturer of tires in North America and contains one of the fastest-growing biotechnology industries in the nation.
In 2005, international exports from Oklahoma's manufacturing industry
totaled $4.3 billion, accounting for 3.6 percent of its economic impact.
Tire manufacturing, meat processing, oil and gas equipment
manufacturing, and air conditioner manufacturing are the state's largest
A major oil producing state, Oklahoma is the fifth-largest producer of crude oil in the nation.
Oklahoma is the nation's second-largest producer of natural gas,
fifth-largest producer of crude oil, and has the second-greatest number
of active drilling rigs, and ranks fifth in crude oil reserves. While the state ranked fifth for installed wind energy capacity in 2005, it is at the bottom of states in usage of renewable energy, with 96 percent of its electricity being generated by non-renewable sources in 2002, including 64 percent from coal and 32 percent from natural gas. Ranking 11th for total energy consumption per capita in 2006, Oklahoma's energy costs were 10th lowest in the nation. As a whole, the oil energy industry contributes $23 billion to Oklahoma's gross domestic product, and employees of Oklahoma oil-related companies earn an average of twice the state's typical yearly income. In 2004, the state had 83,750 commercial oil wells and as many as 750,000 total wells, churning 178 thousand barrels of crude oil a day. Ten percent of the nation's natural gas supply is held in Oklahoma, with 1.662 trillion cubic feet (47.1 km3).
The 27th-most agriculturally productive state, Oklahoma is fifth in cattle production and fifth in production of wheat.
Approximately 5.5 percent of American beef comes from Oklahoma, while
the state produces 6.1 percent of American wheat, 4.2 percent of
American pig products, and 2.2 percent of dairy products.
The state had 83,500 farms in 2005, collectively producing $4.3 billion
in animal products and under one billion dollars in crop output with
more than $6.1 billion added to the state's gross domestic product. Poultry and swine are its second and third-largest agricultural industries.
Oklahoma's heritage as a pioneer state is depicted with the Pioneer Woman statue in Ponca City.
Oklahoma is placed in the South by the United States Census Bureau, but lies fully or partially in the Southwest, and southern cultural regions by varying definitions, and partially in the Upland South and Great Plains by definitions of abstract geographical-cultural regions. Oklahomans have a high rate of German, English, Scotch-Irish, and Native American ancestry, with 25 different native languages spoken, more than in any other state. Six governments have claimed the area at different times, and 67 Native American tribes are represented in Oklahoma, including the greatest number of tribal headquarters and 39 federally recognized nations.
Western ranchers, native American tribes, southern settlers, and
eastern oil barons have shaped the state's cultural predisposition, and
its largest cities have been named among the most underrated cultural
destinations in the United States. While residents of Oklahoma are associated with stereotypical traits of southern hospitality — the Catalogue for Philanthropy ranks Oklahomans 4th in the nation for overall generosity — the state has also been associated with a negative cultural stereotype first popularized by John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath", which described the plight of uneducated, poverty-stricken Dust Bowl-era farmers deemed "Okies". However, the term is used in a positive manner by Oklahomans.
Prominent theatre companies in Oklahoma include, in the capital city, Oklahoma City Theatre Company, Carpenter Square Theatre, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park,
and CityRep. CityRep is a professional company affording equity points
to those performers and technical theatre professionals. In Tulsa,
Oklahoma's oldest resident professional company is American Theatre
Company, and Theatre Tulsa is the oldest community theatre company west of the Mississippi. Other companies in Tulsa include Heller Theatre
and Tulsa Spotlight Theater. The cities of Norman, Lawton, and
Stillwater, among others, also host well-reviewed community theatre
Oklahoma's centennial celebration was named the top event in the United States for 2007 by the American Bus Association, and consisted of multiple celebrations saving with the 100th anniversary of statehood
on November 16, 2007. Annual ethnic festivals and events take place
throughout the state such as Native American powwows and ceremonial
events, and include festivals in Scottish, Irish, Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Czech, Jewish, Arab, Mexican and African-American communities depicting cultural heritage or traditions. During a 10-day run in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma State Fair attracts close to one million people, and large pow-wows, Asian festivals, and Juneteenth celebrations are held in the city each year. The Tulsa State Fair attracts over one million people during its 10-day run, and the city's Mayfest festival entertained more than 375,000 people in four days during 2007. In 2006, Tulsa's Oktoberfest was named one of the top 10 in the world by USA Today and one of the top German food festivals in the nation by Bon Appetit magazine. Tulsa also hosts the annual music festival Dfest, a festival that highlights native Oklahoma bands and musicians. Norman plays host to the Norman Music Festival.
Norman is also host to the Medieval Fair of Norman, which has been held
annually since 1976 and was Oklahoma’s first medieval fair. The Fair
was held first on the south oval of the University of Oklahoma campus
and in the third year moved to the Duck Pond in Norman until the Fair
became too big and moved to Reaves Park in 2003. The Medieval Fair of
Norman is Oklahoma’s “largest weekend event and the third largest event
in Oklahoma, and was selected by Events Media Network as one of the top
100 events in the nation.”
With an educational system made up of public school districts and independent private institutions, Oklahoma had 631,337 students enrolled in 1,849 public primary, secondary, and vocational schools in 540 school districts as of 2006. Oklahoma has the highest enrollment of Native American students in the nation with 120,122 students in the 2005-06 school year.
Ranked near the bottom of states in expenditures per student, Oklahoma
spent $6,614 for each student in 2005, 47th in the nation, though its growth of total education expenditures between 1992 and 2002 ranked 22nd. The state is among the best in pre-kindergarten
education, and the National Institute for Early Education Research
rated it first in the United States with regard to standards, quality,
and access to pre-kindergarten education in 2004, calling it a model for
early childhood schooling. While high school
dropout rates decreased 29 percent between 2005 and 2006, Oklahoma
ranked in the bottom three states in the nation for retaining high
school seniors, with a 3.2 percent dropout rate. In 2004, the state ranked 36th in the nation for the relative number of adults with high school diplomas, though at 85.2 percent, it had the highest rate among southern states.
The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University are the largest public institutions of higher education
in Oklahoma, both operating through one primary campus and satellite
campuses throughout the state. The two state universities, along with Oklahoma City University and the University of Tulsa, rank among the country's best in undergraduate business programs,
The University of Tulsa College of Law, Oklahoma City University's
School of Law, and the University of Oklahoma College of Law are the
state's only ABA accredited institutions. The University of Oklahoma and
University of Tulsa are in the top percentage of universities
nationally for academic ratings, with the University of Tulsa the only
university ranked in the top 100. Oklahoma holds eleven public regional universities, including Northeastern State University, the second-oldest institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River, also containing the only College of Optometry in Oklahoma and the largest enrollment of Native American students in the nation by percentage and amount.Langston University is Oklahoma's only historically black college. Six of the state's universities were placed in the Princeton Review's list of best 122 regional colleges in 2007, and three made the list of top colleges for best value. The state has 54 post-secondary technical institutions operated by Oklahoma's CareerTech program for training in specific fields of industry or trade.
In the 2007-2008 school year, there were 181,973 undergraduate
students, 20,014 graduate students, and 4,395 first-professional degree
students enrolled in Oklahoma colleges. Of these students, 18,892
received a bachelor's degree, 5,386 received a masters degree, and 462
received a first professional degree. This means the state of Oklahoma
produces an average of 38,278 degree-holders per completions component
(i.e. July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008). The national average is 68,322 total
degrees awarded per completions component.
The state was the 21st-largest recipient of medical funding from the
federal government in 2005, with health-related federal expenditures in
the state totaling $75,801,364; immunizations, bioterrorism preparedness, and health education were the top three most funded medical items.
Instances of major diseases are near the national average in Oklahoma,
and the state ranks at or slightly above the rest of the country in
percentage of people with asthma, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension.
In 2000, Oklahoma ranked 45th in physicians per capita and slightly
below the national average in nurses per capita, but was slightly over
the national average in hospital beds per 100,000 people and above the
national average in net growth of health services over a 12-year period.
One of the worst states for percentage of insured people, nearly 25
percent of Oklahomans between the age of 18 and 64 did not have health
insurance in 2005, the fifth-highest rate in the nation. Oklahomans are in the upper half of Americans in terms of obesity prevalence, and the state is the 5th most obese in the nation, with 30.3 percent of its population at or near obesity.
The state has two primary newspapers. The Oklahoman,
based in Oklahoma City, is the largest newspaper in the state and
48th-largest in the nation by circulation, with a weekday readership of
215,102 and a Sunday readership of 287,505. The Tulsa World,
the second most widely circulated newspaper in Oklahoma and 77th in the
nation, holds a Sunday circulation of 189,789 and a weekday readership
of 138,262. Oklahoma's first newspaper was established in 1844, called the Cherokee Advocate, and was written in both Cherokee and English.
In 2006, there were more than 220 newspapers located in the state,
including 177 with weekly publications and 48 with daily publications.
Two large public radio networks are broadcast in Oklahoma: Oklahoma Public Radio and Public Radio International.
First launched in 1955, Oklahoma Public Radio was the first public
radio network in Oklahoma, and has won 271 awards for outstanding
programming. Public Radio International broadcasts on 10 stations throughout the state, and provides more than 400 hours of programming. The state's first radio station, WKY in Oklahoma City, signed on in 1920, followed by KRFU in Bristow, which later moved to Tulsa and became KVOO in 1927. In 2006, there were more than 500 radio stations in Oklahoma broadcasting with various local or nationally owned networks.
Oklahoma has a few ethnic-oriented TV stations broadcasting in Spanish, Asian languages and sometimes have Native American programming. TBN,
a Christian religious television network has a studio in Tulsa, and
built their first entirely TBN-owned affiliate in Oklahoma City in 1980.
Transportation in Oklahoma is generated by an anchor system of Interstate Highways, intercity rail lines, airports, inland ports, and mass transit networks. Situated along an integral point in the United States Interstate network, Oklahoma contains three interstate highways and four auxiliary Interstate Highways. In Oklahoma City, Interstate 35 intersects with Interstate 44 and Interstate 40, forming one of the most important intersections along the United States highway system.
More than 12,000 miles (19,000 km) of roads make up the state's
major highway skeleton, including state-operated highways, ten turnpikes or major toll roads, and the longest drivable stretch of Route 66 in the nation. In 2005, Interstate 44 in Oklahoma City was Oklahoma's busiest highway, with a daily traffic volume of 131,800 cars.
In 2007, the state had the nation's highest number of bridges
classified as structurally deficient, with nearly 6,300 bridges in
disrepair, including 127 along its primary highway system.
Map of Oklahoma showing major roads and thoroughfares
Oklahoma's largest commercial airport is Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, averaging a yearly passenger count of more than 3.5 million in 2005.Tulsa International Airport, the state's second largest commercial airport, serves more than three million travelers annually. Between the two, thirteen major airlines operate in Oklahoma.
In terms of traffic, Riverside-Jones airport in Tulsa is the state's
busiest airport, with 235,039 takeoffs and landings in 2006. In total, Oklahoma has over 150 public-use airports.
The Legislature of Oklahoma consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
As the lawmaking branch of the state government, it is responsible for
raising and distributing the money necessary to run the government. The
Senate has 48 members serving four-year terms, while the House has 101
members with two year terms. The state has a term limit for its
legislature that restricts any one person to a total of twelve
cumulative years service between both legislative branches.
Oklahoma's judicial branch consists of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, and 77 District Courts that each serves one county. The Oklahoma judiciary also contains two independent courts: a Court of Impeachment and the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary.
Oklahoma has two courts of last resort: the state Supreme Court hears
civil cases, and the state Court of Criminal Appeals hears criminal
cases (this split system exists only in Oklahoma and neighboring Texas).
Judges of those two courts, as well as the Court of Civil Appeals are
appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the state Judicial
Nominating Commission, and are subject to a non-partisan retention vote on a six-year rotating schedule.
The executive branch consists of the Governor,
his staff, and other elected officials. The principal head of
government, the Governor is the chief executive of the Oklahoma
executive branch, serving as the ex officioCommander-in-Chief of the Oklahoma National Guard when not called into Federal use and reserving the power to veto
bills passed through the Legislature. The responsibilities of the
Executive branch include submitting the budget, ensuring that state laws
are enforced, and ensuring peace within the state is preserved.
The state is divided into 77 counties that govern locally, each headed by a three-member council of elected commissioners, a tax assessor, clerk, court clerk, treasurer, and sheriff. While each municipality
operates as a separate and independent local government with executive,
legislative and judicial power, county governments maintain
jurisdiction over both incorporated cities and non-incorporated areas
within their boundaries, but have executive power but no legislative or
judicial power. Both county and municipal governments collect taxes,
employ a separate police force, hold elections, and operate emergency
response services within their jurisdiction. Other local government units include school districts,
technology center districts, community college districts, rural fire
departments, rural water districts, and other special use districts.
Thirty-nine Native American tribal governments are based in Oklahoma,
each holding limited powers within designated areas. While Indian reservations
typical in most of the United States are not present in Oklahoma,
tribal governments hold land granted during the Indian Territory era,
but with limited jurisdiction and no control over state governing bodies
such as municipalities and counties. Tribal governments are recognized
by the United States as quasi-sovereign entities with executive,
judicial, and legislative powers over tribal members and functions, but
are subject to the authority of the United States Congress
to revoke or withhold certain powers. The tribal governments are
required to submit a constitution and any subsequent amendments to the
United States Congress for approval.
Five congressional districts are located in Oklahoma.
For most of the first half of the 20th century, Oklahoma was a Democratic stronghold. From 1908 to 1948, the state only supported a Republican
twice, in 1920 and 1928. However, Oklahoma Democrats have always been
considerably more conservative than their counterparts in the rest of
the nation, and the state has become increasingly friendly to
Republicans at the national level.
Though registered Republicans are a minority in the state, Oklahoma has voted for a Republican for President in all but one election since 1952. In 2004 and 2008, George W. Bush and John McCain
swept every county in the state, both receiving over 65 percent of the
statewide vote. In 2008, Oklahoma was the only state whose counties
voted unanimously for McCain.
Generally, Republicans are strongest in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and
their close-in suburbs, as well as the Panhandle. Democrats are
strongest in the eastern part of the state and Little Dixie.
Tulsa is the state's second largest city by population and land area.
In descending order of population, Oklahoma's largest cities in 2007 were: Oklahoma City (547,274), Tulsa (384,037), Norman (106,707), Lawton (91,568), Broken Arrow (90,714), Edmond (78,226), Midwest City (55,935), Moore (51,106), Enid (47,008), and Stillwater
(46,976). Of the state's ten largest cities, three are outside the
metropolitan areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and only Lawton has a
metropolitan statistical area of its own as designated by the United
States Census Bureau, though the metropolitan statistical area of Fort Smith, Arkansas extends into the state.
Under Oklahoma law, municipalities are divided into two categories:
cities, defined as having more than 1,000 residents, and towns, with
under 1,000 residents. Both have legislative, judicial, and public power within their boundaries, but cities can choose between a mayor-council, council-manager, or strong mayor form of government, while towns operate through an elected officer system.
The state's 2006 per capita personal income ranked 37th at $32,210,
though it has the third-fastest growing per capita income in the nation and ranks consistently among the lowest states in cost of living index. The Oklahoma City suburb Nichols Hills is first on Oklahoma locations by per capita income at $73,661, though Tulsa County holds the highest average.
In 2006, 6.8% of Oklahomans were under the age of 5, 25.9% under 18,
and 13.2% were 65 or older. Females made up 50.9% of the population.
Oklahoma's state emblems and honorary positions are codified by state law;
the Oklahoma Senate or House of Representatives may adopt resolutions
designating others for special events and to benefit organizations.
Determined by a survey by the Pew Research Center in 2008. Percentages
represent claimed religious beliefs, not necessarily membership in any
particular congregation. Figures have a ±5 percent margin of error.
Ada Altus Anadarko Ardmore Bartlesville Bethany Bixby Blackwell Broken Arrow Chickasha Choctaw Claremore Clinton Coweta Cushing Del City Duncan Durant Edmond El Reno Elk City Enid Glenpool Guthrie Guymon Henryetta Idabel Jenks Lawton McAlester Miami Midwest City Moore Muskogee Mustang Norman Oklahoma City Okmulgee Owasso Pauls Valley Ponca City Poteau Pryor Creek Sallisaw Sand Springs Sapulpa Seminole Shawnee Stillwater Tahlequah Tecumseh The Village Tulsa Vinita Wagoner Warr Acres Weatherford Woodward Yukon
Adair County Alfalfa County Atoka County Beaver County Beckham County Blaine County Bryan County Caddo County Canadian County Carter County Cherokee County Choctaw County Cimarron County Cleveland County Coal County Comanche County Cotton County Craig County Creek County Custer County Delaware County Dewey County Ellis County Garfield County Garvin County Grady County Grant County Greer County Harmon County Harper County Haskell County Hughes County Jackson County Jefferson County Johnston County Kay County Kingfisher County Kiowa County Latimer County Le Flore County Lincoln County Logan County Love County Major County Marshall County Mayes County McClain County McCurtain County McIntosh County Murray County Muskogee County Noble County Nowata County Okfuskee County Oklahoma County Okmulgee County Osage County Ottawa County Pawnee County Payne County Pittsburg County Pontotoc County Pottawatomie County Pushmataha County Roger Mills County Rogers County Seminole County Sequoyah County Stephens County Texas County Tillman County Tulsa County Wagoner County Washington County Washita County Woods County Woodward County