Boomtown: More People Are Moving To The Tulsa Area

More people are moving to Oklahoma, and to Tulsa. The U.S. Census said the state's population is growing faster than most of the country. News On 6's Chinh Doan introduced us to the Eldridge family, who is moving from all over the country. They love the area so much, there will soon be 16 relatives living here.

Wednesday, March 15th 2023, 10:24 pm



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More people are moving to Oklahoma, and to Tulsa. The U.S. Census said the state's population is growing faster than most of the country.

The U.S. Census said about 7,000 people moved to Tulsa in 2021.

Some of it was driven by Tulsa Remote, a program that pays people to move here.

Others found out about our city on their own and have encouraged loved ones to also call Green Country home.

The Eldridge family is so tight knit, members of the family are moving from all over the United States to be together in Green Country.

"We all gathered together as a family and talked about Oklahoma, and then we decided we should just take the step forward and try and hope that everyone was going to follow us," Daniel Eldridge said.

Daniel moved to Sand Springs from New Hampshire in 2021 with his wife, Storm. The couple’s 3-month-old daughter, Piper, is the first member of the family to be born in Oklahoma.

Storm said she felt good about their new home and even recruited her mom, Linda Jones, to move from Tennessee to Sand Springs in 2022.

"She was always going to go where I ended up, and then she moved this way a lot sooner than I think even she expected, but opportunities opened up for her as well and she was able to make the move out here,” Storm said.

Also in 2022, Daniel's older brother, James Eldridge, and his wife, Maria Eldridge, left South Carolina for Jenks.

“Tulsa just checked a lot of boxes for us, and so we decided to visit and we just really fell in love with it,” said Maria. “We love the people, we love just the things to do."

James and Maria are chiropractors and recently opened Kingdom Chiropractic in Tulsa.

"There's a huge connection in Tulsa, and if you're looking to start a business, Tulsa's an incredible place because you're going to find so many other business owners who are willing to help you, invest in you,” James said.

In 2022, their youngest brother, Matt, his wife Sara and their two kids, Atlas and Aurelia, moved to Jenks from New Hampshire.

"Being centrally located, you can easily get to anywhere and still have those relationships with people where you move from and also have being in an upcoming city that's full of people who love people and want to have that sense of community," Matt said.

Matt owns Altitude Engraving Company, making custom hats and gifts. Sara helps with the business and also works for a university from home. The couple is expecting their third child; their first Oklahoma-born.

"I feel like a lot of people I've come across, they want to be here,” Sara said. "They want to live in Tulsa, which is cool to be in a place where people want to be here."

All three Eldridge brothers live in the same area for the first time in years.

They have persuaded their parents, and even grandparents, to leave New Hampshire for Broken Arrow. Sara’s dad also plans to leave New York for Tulsa.

Eventually, 16 people with Eldridge connections, four generations’ worth, will call Oklahoma home in just two years’ time.

"It's really cool just seeing how the families are now taking root and growing here, which is really cool,” Daniel said.

"Overall, Oklahoma's population has been on an upward climb since the early 2000s,” said Kristie Wilder from the U.S. Census Bureau. “There was a slowdown at the end of the last decade, but the rate of growth as accelerated over the last couple of years, which culminated in the state's population exceeding four million in 2022."

The Tulsa metro tops over one million residents and added about 7,000 people in 2021.

Arthur Jackson with the Tulsa Regional Chamber moved here from Austin two years ago for the job. He said big companies from Washington, Colorado, and Texas have been moving their headquarters here, which means more people and jobs.

"Tulsa is the next boom town, as we call it, and I think it really goes back to setting really that foundation back in 2018 when George Kaiser Family Foundation and Tulsa Remote, being creative and getting folks to move here that were in the software field or creative field," he said.

Jackson said the Tulsa region, which covers these nine counties (Creek, Mayes, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Rogers, Tulsa, and Wagoner Counties) is forecast to grow by almost six percent or 63,000 people between 2021 and 2027.

He said the community is also becoming more diverse.

"We've significantly increased our Black population overall in certain cohorts when you pile all those together,” said Jackson. “I think we're being very intentional with keeping that historic Greenwood area, Black Wall Street and not driving out minorities as we become more successful."

Many transplants have praised Green Country for the lower cost of living, but there is a shortage of affordable housing.

"I know the City has a special focus on creating more housing here and affordability,” said Jackson. “What I can say from the data that we typically pull when we compare ourselves to other cities is that we're doing pretty well when you look at whether that's San Antonio or Reno.”

Members of the Eldridge family said they hope their journey will encourage others to take a chance on Oklahoma and perhaps live on Tulsa time.

"We're planting roots here in Tulsa and who knows how long and how far it's going to spread,” said James. “It's pretty awesome."

A reminder that home is wherever you are surrounded by people who love and support you.

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