The latest batch of Census Bureau numbers show Oklahoma has made
slow but steady progress in the last decade - poverty is declining,
income is growing and more people are finishing college.
Oklahoma Census 2000 demographic profile tables, unveiled Tuesday,
showed that the median household income in Oklahoma grew 8.6 percent
from 1990 to 2000 in inflation-adjusted dollars. In 2000, the median
household income was $33,400, compared to $30,760 in 1990.
capita income rose 13.4 percent over the same period, growing from
$15,516 to $17,646.
While a gain of only $2,000 to $3,000 in
average income may not seem like much, officials said it represents
"Any increase over 10 percent is a nice,
good, healthy increase, so yes, I believe we are better off than we
were 10 years ago," said Jeff Wallace, director of programs for the
Information Management Team at the Oklahoma Department of
Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County both recorded higher
median household income than the state as a whole. In Oklahoma City,
median household income grew from $33,600 in 1989 to $34,900 in
1999. In Oklahoma County, the median household income grew from
$34,100 in 1989 to $35,100 in 1999.
In Oklahoma City, per capita
income was $19,098 in 2000, a 41.2 percent increase from $13,528 in
Full-time male workers in Oklahoma City earned an average
of $31,589 in 2000 while full-time female workers earned an average
of $24,420. In 1990, the figure was $26,332 for men and $18,981 for
During the last decade, the number of Oklahomans living
below the poverty line fell from 112,652 to 103,757, a 7.9 percent
drop. Overall, the percentage of families living in poverty fell
from 13 percent in 1990 to 11.2 percent in 2000. The decline came at
a time when the state's total population grew more than 10
However, the number of families with no husband present
living below the poverty line increased 1.6 percent in the last
decade, growing from 46,243 in to 46,980.
In Oklahoma City,
however, the figures weren't as good - the number of families living
in poverty grew 13.7 percent from 14,152 in 1989 to 16,084 in
Wallace said the majority of average income gain was made
in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas or in counties
with a university. The worst pockets of poverty continue to remain
in rural Oklahoma, he said.
On the education front, the Census
showed that 80.6 percent of those 25 years and older in Oklahoma
possess at least a high school degree, compared to 74.6 percent in
1990. Individuals with a bachelor's degree or higher represented
20.3 percent of the population in 2000 vs. 17.8 percent in
In Oklahoma City, the percentage of the population with at
least a high school degree rose from 78.2 percent in 1990 to 81. …