More and more Oklahomans leaving the state looking for work

Thursday, February 5th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Despite an improving economy, America's heartland is losing residents at an alarming rate. A report prepared by Allied Van Lines says Oklahoma ranks 2nd among states losing families to other areas.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells talked to a Tulsa wife who's leaving her home of 23 years to join her husband who has found work in Indiana.

"This is home we wouldn't have left it if there was anything at all around." Mary Ann Walker is getting ready to move out of state to join her husband who left for a new job. More Oklahomans are in the same boat. Allied Van Lines tracks its relocation activity in every state.

States like Oklahoma are losing more folks than they are gaining. Last year Oklahoma was number 2, second only to South Dakota, in percentage of people moving out of state. "When you're out of work, work looks pretty good." Her husband Steve is a chemical engineer. He was laid off two years ago, tried teaching and contract work, but there was nothing permanent. Then he got a couple of calls about opportunities in other states, he was reluctant.

“I'm not leaving Tulsa 'cause my family's here and so as it is he went on a job interview. They offered him a job and we now own a home in Indiana.” Their Tulsa home has a sale pending and she and her college student son are living in an apartment. She will pack up the rest of their stuff and move from Tulsa to Terre Haute, Indiana in May.

She says it's odd, usually the kids leave the nest and head out on their own, and this time they are. "It's fun, I'm getting new carpet and new paint and new windows." The down side of this moving away is all the family they'll leave behind. "E-mail and telephone is not the same as a hug." No they're not.

Oklahoma has climbed from 10th to 2nd on Allied Van Lines’ list of states losing more people than they are gaining.