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Cost of Living in Oklahoma City, OK 2021

By: Emily Kho
July 2, 2021

Oklahoma City is known as the Horse Show Capital of the World for very literal reasons. Home to more national and international horse shows and events than any other city in the world, watch real-life cowboys and cowgirls at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds year-round.

Even for those who are keen on equestrian matters, the city is rather popular. Boasting the largest population in Oklahoma at over 1.3 million, Oklahoma City is also the third-largest city in land area in the country.

Whether you’re looking to move to Oklahoma City to be a part of the cowboy culture, entertainment district, or a combination of both, you’ll want to get a better idea of your potential costs. Let’s take a closer look at the cost of living in Oklahoma City to understand better how much you need to live there.

Oklahoma City Housing Costs

As a result of the pandemic, most cities across the country experienced significant drops in rent prices. But, as things begin reopening once again, we have started to see rent increases, with Oklahoma City being no exception. Thankfully, despite these increases, Oklahoma City’s rent prices fall below the national averages.

According to the latest Rent Report on Oklahoma City, the median rent index is $872 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,078 for a two-bedroom. Rent prices took a minor hit from October 2020 through the end of the year. At the start of the new year, though, rates began taking a turn. They’ve continued to trend upward.

In the second quarter of this year, rent prices have spiked significantly. Overall, the city's year-over-year rent growth is well above the state average of 9.5%. At 11.4%, Oklahoma City’s rent growth rate is above the national average of 8.4% by 3.0%.

Compared to other significant cities in the country, like Indianapolis, Kansas City, or Dallas, Oklahoma City’s rent prices are lower. For example, Indianapolis’ median rent index is $873 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,065 for a two-bedroom, while Kansas City's median rent index is $950 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,200 for a two-bedroom. Not surprisingly, Dallas is even more expensive, with a median rent index of $1,058 for a one-bedroom and $1,270 for a two-bedroom.

The Oklahoma City housing market is also seeing steady growth, with median home prices currently at $164,261. These prices fall below competing areas like Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Dallas, with median home prices of $194,000, $196,318, and $259,621, respectively.

Oklahoma City Transportation

Oklahoma City’s official public transportation operator is the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA), which today does business as EMBARK. Through EMBARK, Oklahoma City residents can take advantage of multi-modal transit service throughout the greater Oklahoma City area.

The EMBARK services include:

Single trip cash bus fares on the EMBARK fixed-route bus service costs $1.00 to $3.00 for adults or $0.50 to $1.50 for reduced fare riders, including seniors 65+, Medicare holders, children ages 7-17, and persons with qualifying disabilities. Children six and under will ride for free. For frequent riders, one-day, seven-day, and 30-day unlimited passes are available.

The EMBARK public transportation system in Oklahoma City is highly dependable and likely the most cost-effective method of getting around the city. There are other available options as well, including ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. There are also taxis, car rentals, and chauffeur services, but these tend to be the more expensive options.

If you're a single adult without children, you'll spend about $5,113 for transportation in Oklahoma City over a year. A family of four, including two working adults and two children, will pay $13,896 for transportation in one year. Thankfully, gasoline prices are around $2.02 per gallon, much lower than the national average of $3.04.

Oklahoma City Food Costs

Oklahomans love their land and have been lucky enough to reap the benefits of eating food that the land provides. As a result, Oklahoma City offers countless dining options, where you can find the city’s famous chicken-fried steak, fried-onion burgers, barbeque, and Indian tacos.

Thankfully, dining out in Oklahoma City is relatively cheap and will cost an average of $10 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant. A three-course dinner for two people at a mid-range restaurant will run $47.50 without alcohol or dessert.

You can expect to spend at least $3,177 on food per year for single adults without children. However, if you're a family of four with two working adults and two children, you can expect to pay $9,305 per year for food.

You can anticipate costs similar to the national average for food items purchased from the local Sprouts Farmers Market, WinCo Foods, or Walmart Neighborhood Market. For example, one gallon of regular milk will run you $3.76 in the grocery store, with the national average being $3.58.

Oklahoma City Healthcare Costs

Whether you go to the doctor on an annual basis for your checkups or have a medical condition that requires you to see them more regularly, having medical insurance helps keep your costs to a minimum. Additionally, if any emergencies arise in your new hometown, it is nice to know you’ll be able to afford the proper care you’ll need.

Because healthcare is an essential item, you will also want to account for proper medical care when planning your budget in Oklahoma City. A single adult without children will pay around $2,646 for medical care over the year. Two working adults with two children will pay $8020.

Oklahoma City Utilities

The weather in Oklahoma City can be somewhat temperamental. The summer months of May through August bring humid heat and a muggy climate with regular thunderstorms, April through June marks tornado season, and winter December through February, typically bring cold weather and high winds.

The coldest month in Oklahoma City is in January, with an average overnight temperature of 26.2°. Conversely, July is the hottest month of summer, where the average daytime high is typically 93.1°.

To stay warm through the relatively cool winter nights and cool through the hot, muggy summer, you'll need to account for higher utilities. Oklahoma City’s basic utilities include electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, running $154.53 for a 915-sq. ft. apartment. Adding on the Internet with 60 Mbps or more with unlimited data, cable/ADSL will cost you an extra $69.85 for a total of $224.38 each month.

It’s always a good idea to better understand how much utilities will cost in an apartment before you move, as it will allow you to budget accordingly for this sometimes overlooked expense.

Oklahoma City Fitness and Entertainment

Oklahoma City hasf fitness and entertainment opportunities for everyone. However, if you like to spend your time in a local gym for workouts, you’ll want to consider club membership costs at VASA Fitness, Evolve Fitness OKC, Colaw Fitness of Oklahoma City Gyms, or any of the others in the area. Thankfully, these costs are relatively low, with the monthly fee for a fitness club membership for one adult costing $27.00.

Through some of the more temperate months of the year, you can enjoy the beautiful outdoors Oklahoma City has to offer. Enjoy local parks like the Will Rogers Park, the Martin Park Nature Center, or the Scissortail Park. Or, explore outside of Oklahoma City to visit one of the six national parks the state has to offer.

If you’re looking to escape the heat during the summertime, you can purchase a seat at the local cinema for $12 without snacks or drinks. Otherwise, check out some of the museums in town, like the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, or the Science Museum Oklahoma.

Other Expenses to Consider in Oklahoma City

Despite Oklahoma having a progressive income tax, the top marginal rates still fall well below the bottom half of the states across the country. Anyone looking to purchase a home in Oklahoma can also anticipate property taxes that fall below the national average. The sales tax rate in Oklahoma is the sixth highest in the country when you include state and local taxes. For Oklahoma City, in particular, expect a sales tax rate of 8.625%.

If you are moving out of state, you’ll need to account for additional expenses, including cross-country movers, storage, hotels, and transportation. Moves like this also require even more fees, such as apartment application fees, security deposits, pet deposits, and other add-ons.

You’ll also want to keep track of the costs associated with furnishing your new apartment since they can add up quickly. Decorate your apartment on a budget and stick to it, so you are sure not to go overboard.

To determine your recommended salary in Oklahoma City, you’ll first need to determine what lifestyle you plan to lead. The living wage in Oklahoma City is $14.11 per hour, which is the basic wage required to pay for essentials such as housing, food, and necessities. Just remember that this living wage will force you to live pretty frugally, as it does not account for any extra costs like entertainment or dining out.

The average salary index in Oklahoma City is $61,000 per year, roughly $17.25 per hour. Remember that the living wage, average salary, and recommended salary are three very different figures. To determine your recommended salary in Oklahoma City, you can follow the 30% rule for rent.

According to the 30% rule, you should not be spending more than one-third, or 30%, of your gross income on rent to live comfortably. For example, if your rent is close to the median for a one-bedroom apartment in Oklahoma City and costs $872, your monthly wages should be at least $2,616 per month or $31,392 annually according to the 30% rule.

While this figure might seem reasonable, this recommended salary is for a very basic lifestyle. If you anticipate having additional living costs, such as dining, entertainment, etc., you’ll need to pursue a higher salary, a less expensive apartment, or both.

Thankfully, the typical annual salaries for common professions in Oklahoma City are highly competitive, with the three highest typical annual salaries belonging to Management, Architecture and Engineering, and Computer and Mathematical positions, respectively.

Job Market in Oklahoma City

The current job market in Oklahoma City is comparable to other similarly sized metropolitan areas. The current unemployment rate in Oklahoma City is lower than the national average and is currently sitting at 0.7%. It’s worth noting that the income rate is lower than the national average, currently at $47,120.

The top employers in Oklahoma City include the state government, the University of Oklahoma, Integris Health, and the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center. Jobs are readily available across the city, especially for those seeking a career in aviation, energy, or healthcare. There is a demand for pipefitters, welders, and machinists in Oklahoma City as well.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking to move somewhere with cowboy culture, delicious food, or a low cost of living, Oklahoma City might be the place for you. Register with Apartment List today and start checking out the hundreds of available apartments to rent in Oklahoma City!

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EMILY KHO
Emily is a professionally trained SEO writer who covers a wide range of topics but specializes in business and hospitality content. With over a decade of professional writing experience in the hospitality industry, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a BS from the world-renowned William F. Read More
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