Poverty in Oklahoma City Neighborhoods
A Mobile Video Project

 

In Oklahoma’s capital, the voices of low-income people are like faintly heard footsteps behind the long march of an oil and gas boom, which is stumbling. Some impoverished areas seem stuck in time, struggling with blight, crime and other issues. University of Oklahoma students and Oklahoma Watch journalists joined forces to gather short videos and deep data about residents’ concerns in these areas and then record responses from leaders—a virtual conversation.

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Mapping Poverty

Where Videos Are Recorded

The neighborhoods where “Talk With Us” videos are being shot have some of the highest poverty rates and percentages of minority residents in Oklahoma City. Two of those areas have historic significance and emanate a cultural pride. The third has little identity, comprised of seedy apartments and modest homes.


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Life in Poor Neighborhoods

Many people have exaggerated fears about low-income neighborhoods. Residents there have many of the same concerns, graces and hopes that define any community. But statistics bear out the extremes of suffering connected with poverty. Professor David Moxley speaks to the forces at work in poor areas. Councilman John Pettis talks of growing up in one.

David Moxley

Professor, Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work

University of Oklahoma, Norman

John Pettis

Councilman, Ward 7

Oklahoma City

Numbers That Matter

18.2%

Living below poverty level, Oklahoma City, 2009-2013

48

State’s ranking in per-pupil common-education spending, at $7,466 per student, 2012.

28.1%

Bachelor’s degree or higher, age 25-plus, Oklahoma City, 2009-2013

17.2%

Hispanics in Oklahoma City, 2010

610,613

Population, Oklahoma City, 2013

2

Hispanics in 149-member Oklahoma Legislature, 2015

15.1%

African-Americans in Oklahoma City, 2010

1

African-Americans or women on the 8-member Oklahoma City Council, including mayor.

37,900

Number of offenders in Oklahoma prisons and jails, yielding the second highest rate in nation, 2013.

0

Hispanics on the 8-member Oklahoma City Council, including mayor.