Tulsa was first settled in the 1830s by the Creek Native American tribe. In 1921, it was the site of the infamous Tulsa Race Riot, one of the largest and most destructive acts of racial violence in the history of the United States. For most of the 20th century, the city held the nickname "Oil Capital of the World" and played a major role as one of the most important hubs for the American oil industry. Tulsa has been credited as the birthplace of U.S. Route 66 and the home of Western Swing music.
Once heavily dependent on the oil industry, economic downturn and subsequent diversification efforts created an economic base in the energy, finance, aviation, telecommunications and technology sectors. The Tulsa Port of Catoosa, at the head of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, is the most inland riverport in the U.S. with access to international waterways. Two institutions of higher education within the city operate at the NCAA Division I level, Oral Roberts University and the University of Tulsa.
Located in Tornado Alley, the city frequently experiences severe weather. It is situated on the Arkansas River at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in northeast Oklahoma, a region of the state known as "Green Country." Considered the cultural and arts center of Oklahoma, Tulsa houses two world-renowned art museums, full-time professional opera and ballet companies, and one of the nation's largest concentrations of art deco architecture. In 2005, the city was selected as one of "America's Most Livable Large Cities." In April 2009, the city was selected as the 5th place of "America's Most Livable Cities." by Forbes and 1st place by Relocate America's which helps home buyers and sellers access relocation resources that make moving easier. People from Tulsa are described as "Tulsans."
As of the census of 2006, there were 382,872 people, 165,743 households, and 99,114 families residing in the city, with a population density of 830.9/km² (2,152.0/sq mi). There were 179,405 housing units at an average density of 982.3/sq mi (379.2/km²). Of 165,743 households, 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. Of all households, 33.9% are made up of only one person, and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 people and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city proper, the population is spread out with 24.8% of the population under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older, while the median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males, while for every 100 females over the age of 17 there were 90.4 males. The median income for a household in the city was $35,316, and the median income for a family was $44,518. Males had a median income of $32,779 versus $25,587 for females, and the per capita income for the city was $21,534. About 10.9% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over. In 2006, the racial makeup of the city was 70.09% Caucasian, 15.47% African American, 4.72% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.45% from other races, and 4.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino persons of any race formed at least 7.15% of the population with possibly more unregistered persons living within the city.
Religiously, Tulsa is overwhelmingly Protestant. The city is located in a geographic strip of high church attendance and widespread beliefs in biblical Christianity often called the "Bible Belt", and its history as a hub for televangelists such as Oral Roberts along with a predominance of Christian beliefs and values often lead Tulsa to be considered the "buckle of the Bible Belt." In 2000, the metropolitan area of Tulsa had 364,533 Protestant Christians, including 166,550 Southern Baptists and 78,221 Methodists. Meanwhile, the area had 43,854 Catholics, 2,200 Muslims, 2,650 Jews, and 1,590 Unitarian-Universalists, which includes the largest Unitarian Universalist congregation in the world.
The Tulsa Metropolitan Area, or the region immediately surrounding Tulsa with strong social and economic ties to the city, occupies a large portion of the state's northeastern quadrant. It is informally known as "Green Country", a name derived from the state's official tourism designation for all of northeastern Oklahoma, though its usage in relation to the Tulsa Metropolitan Area can be traced to the early part of the 20th century.
The United States Census Bureau defines the sphere of the city's influence as the Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), spanning seven counties: Tulsa, Rogers, Osage, Wagoner, Okmulgee, Pawnee, and Creek. The 2007 US Census Estimate shows the Tulsa MSA to have 905,755 residents with a population expected to reach one million between 2010 and 2012. The Tulsa-Bartlesville Combined Statistical Area (CSA) is created by adding the nearby Bartlesville, Oklahoma micropolitan area, consisting of Washington County in Northeastern Oklahoma. In 2007, US Census Estimates show the Tulsa-Bartlesville CMSA to have 955,643 residents.