Only Half of Tulsans Say They're Thriving in First Gallup-Tulsa CitiVoice Index

Jan 9, 2019

How are Tulsans doing? Results from the first Gallup-Tulsa CitiVoice Index say overall, half are thriving.

"Thriving" means a respondent rated their life at least seven now and at least eight five years in the future on a 10-point scale.

Thriving closely followed household income, ranging from 31 percent of Tulsa households earning less thatn $27,000 to 80 percent of households earning $100,000 or more. Gallup Research Consultant Grant Buckles said there are some things that make less-wealthy Tulsans more likely to thrive, though.

"Knowing an organization that you can turn to for help almost doubles well-being for income groups under $50,000," Buckles said. "We also find that closely knit neighborhoods — having neighbors you can turn to for help in times of crisis — actually expands well-being as well."

With half of Tulsans reporting they're thriving, 46 percent said they're struggling and 4 percent said they're suffering.

According to the Gallup-Tulsa CitiVoice Index, access to basic needs is a challenge for many. About one-third of Tulsans haven’t had enough money for food or health care sometime in the past year. That jumps to two-thirds among poor families.

City Chief of Performance Strategy and Innovation James Wagner said the index could guide efforts outside city hall to help them.

"What we’ve created is really a comprehensive source of data for not just the City of Tulsa, but for the nonprofit sector, the philanthropic sector and other organizations that are helping make Tulsa a great place to live and a place that people want to be," Wagner said.

Wagner said based on the index, the city and local organizations could do a better job getting out the word about their services.

Mayor G.T. Bynum said the wide-ranging CitiVoice Index is meant to give city officials data from Tulsans themselves to base decisions on rather than gut feelings.

"Take community policing, for example. We see that there’s a clear need to improve trust with the black community in Tulsa in particular that this data shows, and we’re going to be focused on that over the next year through our community policing work," Bynum said. "And when we update this study a year from now, we’ll be able to see how we’re really doing."

According to the CitiVoice Index, 53 percent of black Tulsans disagree or strongly disagree the police treat people like them fairly, compared to 26 percent of Hispanic residents and 18 percent of white residents.

The index is built on responses to a 50-measure survey mailed out to 22,500 Tulsa households last year. Questions covered whether Tulsans have access to basic needs and services they need, whether Tulsans view the city as a place to live and work, and how local institutions are contributing to making the community better.

More than 4,400 completed surveys were returned.