Quality of Life

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Why it Matters

Quality of life factors play an important role in attracting the best talent and high-paying jobs to our state. From the health and education systems that impact our families to the cultural and recreational activities that add value to our communities, we must plan for a future that makes Oklahoma the best place to live, learn, work and play. 

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Methodology

Health Care Access & Funding (250 points)

Access to health care is crucial for good health. To gauge how states provide health care access to their citizens, we look at whether a state is a member of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, the percentage of the population without health insurance coverage, and whether or not a state gives nurse practitioners full independent practice authority. We also consider the number of active primary care physicians and the percent of need met in designated primary care health professional shortage areas.

Health Outcomes (50 points)

On average, Oklahomans live shorter lives than those who live in other states. Since smoking remains Oklahoma’s leading cause of preventable death, we examine the percentage of adults who are smokers in each state to see how our state compares.

Criminal Justice Reform (100 points)

Excessive incarceration depletes a state’s workforce, breaks up families, reduces the tax base and racks up massive costs. To see how Oklahoma compares to other states in the criminal justice arena, we grade states on their incarceration rates and their average annual change in incarceration rates.

Living Environment (100 points)

Public safety plays a big part in how citizens view their living environment. We compare states on their property crime rates and their violent crime rates to see which states have a safer living environment.

School Choice (50 points)

Oklahoma has the potential to build a top-tier education system. To do so, school choice needs to be part of the equation. We look at EdChoice’s rankings of states based upon their share of students enrolled in an educational choice program.

Percentage of Population without Health Insurance Coverage
13.8%
US Rate
8.6%
OK Rank
48th
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Source

U.S. Census Bureau (2016)

Explanation

Percentage of people without health insurance coverage by state

Number of Active Primary Care Physicians
127.5
US Rate
149.7
OK Rank
35th
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Source

United Health Foundation, America’s Health Rankings (2017)

Explanation

Number of active primary care physicians (including general practice, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, geriatrics, and internal medicine) per 100,000 population.

Percent of Need Met in Designated Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas
56.5%
US Rate
48.65%
OK Rank
17th
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Source

Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (February 2018)

Explanation

Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations are used to identify areas and population groups within the United States that are experiencing a shortage of health professionals. There are three categories of HPSA designation based on the health discipline that is experiencing a shortage: 1) primary medical; 2) dental; and 3) mental health. The primary factor used to determine a HPSA designation is the number of health professionals relative to the population with consideration of high need. Federal regulations stipulate that, in order to be considered as having a shortage of providers, an area must have a population-to-provider ratio of a certain threshold. For primary medical care, the population to provider ratio must be at least 3,500 to 1 (3,000 to 1 if there are unusually high needs in the community). The percent of need met is computed by dividing the number of primary care physicians available to serve the population of the area, group, or facility by the number of primary care physicians that would be necessary to reduce the population to provider ratio below the threshold for designation so that it would eliminate the designation as a primary care HPSA.

Percentage of Adults Who are Smokers
19.6%
US Rate
17.1%
OK Rank
36th
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Source

United Health Foundation, America’s Health Rankings (2017)

Explanation

These adults reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke every or some days.

State Imprisonment Rate
673
US Rate
450
OK Rank
49th
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Source

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (2016)

Explanation

This data shows the number of sentenced prisoners incarcerated in state prisons per 100,000 residents in each state.

Average Annual Change in Imprisonment Rate
-1.39%
US Rate
-1.92%
OK Rank
25th
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Source

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (2013-2016)

Explanation

The average annual growth rate of the imprisonment rate from 2013 to 2016.

Property Crime Rate
2,982.9
US Rate
2,450.7
OK Rank
42nd
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Source

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program (2016)

Explanation

Property crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants. The property crime figure includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Violent Crime Rate
449.8
US Rate
386.3
OK Rank
37th
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Source

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program (2016)

Explanation

Violent crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime figure includes the offenses of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Educational Choice Share
0.4%
US Rate
0.8%
OK Rank
14th
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Source

EdChoice (2018)

Explanation

The EdChoice share looks at what proportion of all K-12 students are enrolled in an education savings account (ESA), voucher, or tax-credit scholarship program.