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What are the Key Facts of Oklahoma? | Oklahoma Facts - Answers


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What are the Key Facts of Oklahoma?

Map of Oklahoma
Map of Oklahoma which lies in the south-central region of the USA

State

Oklahoma

State Capital

Oklahoma City

Largest City

Oklahoma City

Coordinates

35.5°N 98°W

Nickname(s)

Native America”, “Land of the Red Man”, “Sooner State”

Postal Abbreviation

OK

Area

69,899 sq. mi (181,037 sq. km)

Highest Point

Black Mesa, 4,975 ft (1,516 m)

Neighboring States

Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas

Number of Counties

77

Population

3956971

Date of entering the Union

November 16, 1907

State Anthem

Oklahoma, Oklahoma Hills”

Governor

Kevin Stitt (Republicans)

Lieutenant governor

Matt Pinnell (Republicans)

U.S. senators

Jim Inhofe (Republicans), James Lankford (Republicans)

U.S. House delegation

4 Republicans, 1 Democrat

GDP (millions of dollars)

207381

Demonym

Oklahoman; Okie (colloq.)

Time Zones

Entire state (legally) UTC−06:00 (Central), Summer (DST) UTC−05:00 (CDT); Kenton (informally) UTC−07:00 (Mountain), Summer (DST) UTC−06:00 (MDT)

Where is Oklahoma?

Oklahoma (the 46th state admitted to the union on November 16, 1907) is located in the South-Central region of the USA. Kansas borders it to the north, Colorado to the northwest, New Mexico to the west, Texas to the west and south, Arkansas to the east, and Missouri to the northeast. Oklahoma is situated partly in the Great Plains near the 48 contiguous states’ geographical center.

What is the Geography of Oklahoma?

Oklahoma is spread across a total area of 69,899 sq. mi (181,037 sq. km), out of which 68,595 sq. mi (177,660 sq. km) is land area and 1,304 sq. mi (3,377 sq. km) is water area. Water bodies constitute 1.9% of the total area. In terms of total area, it is the 20th largest state in the US.

The longest rivers in the state are Arkansas River, Red River, Canadian River, Cimarron River, Neosho River, North Canadian River, Verdigris River, Washita River, North Fork Red River, Salt Fork Arkansas River, etc. The major lakes in the state are Lake Texoma, Eufaula Lake, Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, Broken Bow Lake, Tenkiller Ferry Lake, Keystone Lake, Oologah Lake, Robert S. Kerr Reservoir, Foss Reservoir, Kaw Lake, and many more.

This state’s mean elevation is 1,300 feet (396.24 m) above sea level. While the highest elevation point in Oklahoma is Black Mesa at 4,973 feet (1,515.77 m) above sea level, the lowest elevation point is Little River at 289 feet (88.09 m) above sea level.

The significant mountains in the state are Robbers Roost Peak, Blacksmith Canyon, Layton Canyon, Road Canyon, Coopers Arroyo, Road Canyon, Pat Canyon, Sand Canyon, Burrows Canyon, and many more.

The terrain in Oklahoma is mainly flat and fertile plains, as well as low-lying hills. There are many oil and natural gas wells found across the state. Vast wheat fields are found in this state. Large herds of cattle grazing flat grasslands are a common sight in the state.

The state has a wide variety of landforms, consisting of 10 different land regions.

These regions are Ozark Plateau, Prairie Plains, Ouachita Mountains, Sandstone Hills Region, Arbuckle Mountains, Wichita Mountains, Red River Valley Region, Red Beds Plains, Gypsum Hills, and High Plains.

The Ozark Plateau (an extension of the landscape of Missouri and Arkansas) is in the northeastern part of Oklahoma. This land region is characterized by rivers having steep valley walls, which are separated by broad flat areas.

The Prairiee Plains are the second most important region in the state. They are located to the west and south of the Ozark Plateau. Whether it is the oil, coal, or grazing flatlands in Oklahoma, they are in this region of the state. Spinach, beans, and carrots are produced in large amounts in the farms of Arkansas River Valley, which is located to the east of Muskogee.

The Ouachita Mountains are in the southern part of the state along the border of Arkansas. These mountains are sandstone ridges that run from east to west. They are Oklahoma’s roughest land. The spring-fed streams flow through the narrow valleys, located between the ridges.

The Sandstone Hills Region is in the north-central part of Oklahoma. It extends from the Kansas border towards the south to the Red River. These hills are around 250 feet (76.2 m) to 400 feet (121.92 m) high. Blackjack and Post Oak forests are found in this region. The early oil development started in this part of the state.

The Arbuckle Mountains are situated in south-central Oklahoma. It is spread over a total area of around 1,000 sq. mi (2589.99 sq. km). These are predominantly low mountains whose heights range within 600 feet (182.88 m) to 700 feet (213.36 m) above the plains. Erosion in the mountains has led to unusual rock formations. This mountainous region is mainly used for grazing cattle.

The Wichita Mountains are in the southwestern part of the state.

The Red River Valley Region is situated along the neighboring Texas border in southern Oklahoma. Rolling prairie and some forested hills are found in this region. The soil in the Red River Valley region is sandy but fertile. Some of the crops grown here are vegetables, peanuts, and cotton.

The Red Beds Plains are the largest region of land in the state. They are in the western part of the Sand Hills. They originate in the north as a stretch from the Kansas border and stretch through the center of Oklahoma to the south. From east to west, this region slopes, this region slopes upward. Some forested areas are in the east. The western part is covered with grass.

The Gypsum Hills is located to the west of the Red Beds Plains and extends towards the north to the High Plains (situated in the northwestern part of the state). These hills are low-lying hills whose height varies within 150 feet (45.72 m) and 200 feet (60.96 m). These hills are capped with 15-20 feet (4.57-6.09 m) layers of gypsum. The gypsum content makes these hills to sparkle in the sunlight. That is why the Gypsum Hills are also called the Glass Hills.

The High Plains are mainly level grasslands that are in northwestern Oklahoma. The highest mountains in the state are found in this area. The height varies from 2,000 ft (609.6 m) above sea level in the eastern part to 4,973 feet (1,515.77 m) above sea level in the west. The highest elevation point (Black Mesa) is in this region. The Oklahoma Panhandle region is in the High Plains. It is 166 miles (267.15 km) long and 34 miles (54.72 km) wide. The High Plains are located between Colorado and Kansas in the north and Texas in the south.

What is the Climate of Oklahoma?

Oklahoma has a humid subtropical climate in the east and semi-arid climate in the west (including the panhandle). The eastern part gets mild-to-cold winters and hot-to-humid summers, thanks to the humid subtropical climate. Extreme temperature is found in the semi-arid climate in the western portion of the state. The climatic condition of the state is influenced by both mountain ranges and the Gulf of Mexico.

In this state, the summer season is long and hot. In comparison to the western region, the southern and eastern areas remain more cloudy, moist, and humid. For around 15 to 35 days during summer, the temperatures remain more than 100 °F (37.8 °C). For approximately 65 to 115 days during summer, the temperatures remain more than 90 °F (32.2 °C).

In the panhandle as well as the west, winter remains cold. For around 110 to 140 days across the year, the temperatures stay below the freezing point. Every year, the southeast gets around 60 nights when the temperature remains below the freezing point. Freezing temperature generally starts by mid-October in the fall (or autumn) season and continues till mid-April every year in the spring season. In Oklahoma, the soil freezes up to a depth of 3-to-10 inches (76.2-254 mm).

While the western part of the state receives scanty rainfall (18 inches or 457.2 mm) annually, the eastern and southern parts receive around 56 inches or 1422.4 mm of annual rainfall. The maximum level of precipitation takes place in May of a year, followed by September in the eastern part of Oklahoma. The panhandle and adjacent western regions of this state remain wettest during June and July.

The panhandle region receives more snowfall (30 inches or 762mm) than the eastern parts of the state (2 inches or 50.8mm). Several incidences of snowfall take place in Northwest Oklahoma, but the snow hardly remains on the ground for over a few days. This state receives lots of sunshine annually, ranging from 2,500 hours to 3,100 hours.

What is the Economy of Oklahoma?

The Oklahoma economy is heavily dependent upon petroleum and agriculture. It is not as balanced as other prospering US states. However, the state and local officials are working hard to develop new forms of industry in Oklahoma, including tourism.

The total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the state was US$202,554.1 in 2018. While the per capita income was US$47,951 in 2019, the median household income was US$54,434 in 2018. The median household income in the state is significantly lower than that of the median household income of the national average of the US.

The main agricultural products in Oklahoma, in terms of revenue generation, are cattle and calves, wheat, broilers (young chickens), hogs, and dairy products. While Oklahoma is among the top 5 states in the production of wheat and beef, it is among the top 10 in terms of production of hogs.

The unemployment rate was 3.3% in January 2020. It is among the lowest rates ever in the history of Oklahoma since 1976. The poverty rate in Oklahoma is higher than the national average. As per the US Census Bureau, the overall poverty in the state decreased slightly from 15.8% in 2017 to 15.5% in 2018. However, the rate of poverty for the age group of below 18 years increased from 21.3% in 2017 to 21.4% in 2018.

What is the Transportation System of Oklahoma?

The transportation system in Oklahoma consists of an anchor system including Interstate Highways, inland ports, airports, inter-city rail lines, and mass transit networks.

There are three main Interstate Highways (Interstate 35, 40, and 44) and four auxiliary Interstate Highways. The entire roadway in the state is over 12,000 mi (19,000 km), which includes Interstate Highways, State Highways, and major toll roads.

The state has many airports, and the three major ones are Will Rogers World Airport (in Oklahoma City), Tulsa International Airport (in Tulsa), and Lawton–Fort Sill Regional Airport (in Lawton). Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer is the major railway network connecting Oklahoma City with Fort Worth of Texas. Tulsa Port of Catoosa and the Port of Muskogee are the two most important inland ports in Oklahoma.

What is the Origin of the name “Oklahoma”?

The name Oklahoma was made by a native American missionary Allen Wright through a combination of two Choctaw words: “ukla” and “humá.” While “ukla” means person, “humá” means red. Therefore, Oklahoma means “red person.” The word first appeared officially in the Choctaw treaty of 1866.

Why Oklahoma is called the “Sooner State”?

“Sooner State” is the most popular nickname and not the official nickname of the state.

“The Homestead Act of 1862” provided legal settlers in the state to claim 160 acres of public land. The US government started to offer “unassigned lands” (the area where the settlers began to flock to) in Oklahoma to the immigrants through a series of “Land Openings.” The Oklahoma Territory started to open around 2 million acres of land to the settlers on April 22, 1889, at noon.

Thousands of settlers were in line on the border to receive the signal from the government to participate in the Land Run of 1889 (where the newcomers initially competed for the land in horse races) and stake claim of land in the designated territory. Some people entered central Oklahoma illegally (especially before the designated entry time of noon of April 22, 1889) to lay claim to lands. These people were known as “Sooners.”

The Kentucky Historical Society says that “the early legal settlers of Oklahoma Territory held a very low opinion of Sooners.” However, this low opinion about the “Sooners” started to change when the University of Oklahoma in 1908 named their football team “Sooners”. By the 1920s, the negative connotation associated with the word “Sooners” was no longer there. The people in the state started to adopt the nickname as a badge of pride, progressivism, energetic, and can-do spirit. Soon it became a positive connotation. Since then, “Sooner State” became the most popular nickname of Oklahoma.

The state has another popular nickname, and it is the “Boomer’s Paradise”.

What are the Popular Tourist Attractions in Oklahoma?

The most popular tourist destinations in the state are Philbrook Museum of Art, Oklahoma Route 66 Museum (in Clinton), National Route 66 and Transportation Museum (in Elk City), Blue Whale of Catoosa or Golden Driller (in Tulsa), Oklahoma City Zoo, the University of Oklahoma (includes contemporary exhibits at the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, and Bizzell Memorial Library), Marland Estate Mansion, Museum of the Great Plains (in Lawton), Gilcrease Museum, Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma Aquarium, Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve, National Weather Center, Cherokee Heritage Center, JM Davis Arms & Historical Museum, Myriad Botanical Gardens, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and many more.

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Map of USA Depicting Location of Oklahoma
Location of Oklahoma
Oklahoma County Map
Oklahoma County Map
Map of the United States
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