Tulsa, Oklahoma, offered remote workers $10,000 to move to the state, and a shocking number of people chose to stay.
- In 2018, Tulsa began a program offering “digital nomads,” or remote workers, $10,000 to simply move to the city.
- Five years after the program, a surprising number of people who accepted the offer stayed in the Sooner State city, The Hustle reports.
- Around 2,400 people participated in the Tulsa Remote program. The program required participants to stay for one year—something around 90% of participants did.
- However, around 76% stayed even after the program ended.
Why it’s news
Tulsa began its remote-worker program pre-2020, so before the pandemic-led influx of remote workers. With thousands of employees now fully remote, the Tulsa Remote program could be a template for other states looking to boost their population and tax revenue.
The digital nomads who remained generated more than $150,000 in labor income and brought the state of Oklahoma around $2.5 million in new sales tax revenue last year, The Hustle reports.
Digging a little deeper
But if other states want to replicate Oklahoma’s program, they must do more than offer a moving bonus. Tulsa also focused on ensuring its transplants had the opportunity to build a community once they moved to their new state. Tulsa Remote hosts around 15 community-building events each month. It also established 160 Slack channels for residents who had niche interests, such as cycling, book clubs, or parenting, The Hustle reports.
While the money may have drawn many program participants, the sense of community convinced them to stay.
Already other cities have started remote worker programs that incentivize new residents to move in by offering them a lump sum. Bentonville, Arkansas, and Paducah, Kentucky, are just a few examples.
In many cities where these programs are active, low housing costs are part of the draw. For example, in Paducah, the median home price is $118,000, while in Boston, the median price is $799,000.