Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles (177,847 km²), Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people", and is known informally by its nickname, The Sooner State. Formed by the combination of Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory on November 16, 1907, Oklahoma was the 46th state to enter the union. Its residents are known as Oklahomans or "Okies", and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.
A major producer of natural gas, oil and agriculture, Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and biotechnology. It has one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, ranking among the top states in per capita income growth and gross domestic product growth. Oklahoma City and Tulsa serve as Oklahoma's primary economic anchors, with nearly 60 percent of Oklahomans living in their metropolitan statistical areas. The state's largest universities participate in the NCAA and NAIA athletic associations, with two collegiate athletic departments rated among the most successful in American history.More
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%.More
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, Oklahoma State University and The University of Central Oklahoma are the largest public institutions of higher education in Oklahoma, 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.More
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.
In March 2011, Oklahoma ranked as a bottom-seven "Worst" state (tied with Georgia and Illinois) in the American State Litter Scorecard. The Sooner State suffers from overall poor effectiveness and quality of its statewide public space cleanliness (primarily from roadway and adjacent litter/debris abatement)--due to state and related eradication standards and performance indicators.More