Thousands of remote workers moved to Tulsa to take advantage of a $10,000 incentive program. The vast majority of them stayed.

2 minute read

June 13, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Tulsa, Oklahoma city skyline at sunset

Reagan / Tulsa, Oklahoma

An incentive program that offers remote workers $10,000 to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma is proving remarkably successful  as new residents build community and grow to love their new home. 

In a piece on Vox, Rani Molla describes how the Tulsa Remote initiative has transformed the city. “The latest Tulsa Remote economic impact report, which the organization conducted itself, found that in 2022, full-year Tulsa Remote members each generated $150,000 in labor income, which includes their salaries plus the estimated income Tulsans got based on their spending. That’s more than 10 times what the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which funds Tulsa Remote and a lot of the city’s other programs and public works, paid out to bring them there.” That’s not including an estimated $2.5 million in added sales tax revenue for the county.

For potential new residents, the money isn’t Tulsa Remote’s only draw: “The program also offered a place where they could find relatively affordable housing, access to free coworking space, and the subsidized opportunity to reimagine their lives anew somewhere else.” 

Molla describes the program’s success and the resurgence of many Tulsa neighborhoods, but adds that conservative policies pose a barrier to many young people moving to Oklahoma. Over 2,400 people have participated so far. “Impressively, 90 percent have remained in Tulsa beyond the requisite one-year commitment, and 76 percent of all members have been there since the program launched. People are buying homes, starting families, and getting involved in the community.”

For Tulsa, the key to sustained success will be finding “a way to retain what makes it special while adapting to a new future” by protecting affordable housing and the other amenities that drew people there in the first place.

Monday, June 12, 2023 in Vox

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