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5 Oklahoma counties where it's easiest to live, and 5 where it's hardest to live

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Screenshot from nytimes.com.
Screenshot from nytimes.com.

Earlier this year The New York times put together an interactive map that takes a look at the hardest U.S. counties to live in. The data used to rank (out of 3,135) the counties consisted of: median household income, the percentage of residents with a college education (bachelor’s degree), the unemployment rate, the disability rate, residents’ life expectancy and the obesity rate. The New York Times then averaged the data which created the final ranking.

Jaclyn Cosgrove, The Oklahoman’s health reporter and blogger, used some of this data in her story about the rankings Canadian and McCurtain counties received, and it’s worth reading.

The following list shows the 5 Oklahoma counties where it’s easiest to live, and the 5 Oklahoma counties where it’s hardest to live, based on the data from The New York Times’ map.


Easiest No. 5 – Beaver County

Oklahoma Arts Council
Oklahoma Arts Council

Located in the panhandle, Beaver County produces a lot of wheat and, at one time, was a part of Texas.

Rank: 715
Median income: $50,466
College education: 17.5 percent
Unemployment: 2.5 percent
Disability: 0.5 percent
Life expectancy: 77.2 years
Obesity: 37 percent


Easiest No. 4 – Ellis County

The Oklahoman Archive
The Oklahoman Archive

Ellis County sits in Western Oklahoma and shares a border with Texas. In 1947 an F5 tornado tore through Ellis County, killing six people.

Rank: 495
Median income: $47.933
College education: 23.9 percent
Unemployment: 2.3 percent
Disability: 0.7 percent
Life expectancy: 77.2 years
Obesity: 35 percent


Easiest No. 3 – Cleveland County

Steve Sisney/The Oklahoman
Steve Sisney/The Oklahoman

Cleveland County is home to Norman, which is home to the state's largest university, the University of Oklahoma.

Rank: 482
Median income: $54,883
College education: 31.4 percent
Unemployment: 4.4 percent
Disability: 0.8 percent
Life expectancy: 77.9 years
Obesity: 37 percent


Easiest No. 2 – Woods County

The Oklahoman Archive
The Oklahoman Archive

Woods County shares a border with Kansas, and has seen its population steadily decline in the last 100 years. In 1910 the census reported a population of about 17,500. In 2010 the number was just shy of 9,000.

Rank: 463
Median income: $50,690
College education: 27.3 percent
Unemployment: 2.9 percent
Disability: 0.7 percent
Life expectancy: 77.5 years
Obesity: 36 percent


Easiest No. 1 – Canadian County

Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman
Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman

Formed in 1889, Canadian County currently has a population of roughly 126,000. As of January 2012 the county was split 58.24 percent Republican to 30.85 percent Democratic registered voters.

Rank: 354
Median income: $63,884
College education: 25.6 percent
Unemployment: 4.2 percent
Disability: 0.6 percent
Life expectancy: 78 years
Obesity: 37 percent


hardest No. 5 – Adair County

Tulsa World
Tulsa World

Farms and food processing plants are two of the larger industries running Adair County's economy.

Rank: 2,781
Median income: $31,287
College education: 10.9 percent
Unemployment: 7 percent
Disability: 2.3 percent
Life expectancy: 74.6 years
Obesity: 43 percent


hardest No. 4 – Okfuskee County

AP photo
AP photo

Okfuskee County has five places listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Woody Guthrie's house.

Rank: 2,791
Median income: $34,258
College education: 11.4 percent
Unemployment: 7.2 percent
Disability: 2.4 percent
Life expectancy: 73.7 years
Obesity: 44 percent


hardest No. 3 – Sequoyah County

Sequoyah County Times
Sequoyah County Times

Sequoyah County is home to s good number of archaeological sites, including one that dates back to 6,000 B.C.

Rank: 2,794
Median income: $36,191
College education: 12.9 percent
Unemployment: 8.5 percent
Disability: 2.9 percent
Life expectancy: 73.7 years
Obesity: 41 percent


hardest No. 2 – Hughes County

Chance Chapman
Chance Chapman

Tyson Foods is one of the largest employers in Hughes County, which has a population of about 14,000.

Rank: 2,808
Median income: $34,656
College education: 11.4 percent
Unemployment: 8 percent
Disability: 1.9 percent
Life expectancy: 73.7 years
Obesity: 45 percent


hardest No. 1 – McCurtain County

The Oklahoman
The Oklahoman

McCurtain County was originally part of the Choctaw Nation, and is named after an important Choctaw family that once lived in the area.

Rank: 2,890
Median income: $32,134
College education: 13 percent
Unemployment: 8.8 percent
Disability: 2.7 percent
Life expectancy: 72.3 years
Obesity: 42 percent

Related Photos
 Screenshot from nytimes.com.

Screenshot from nytimes.com.

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Richard Hall

Richard Hall is an award-winning newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Read more ›

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