Report Says Cherokee Nation Has $1.5 Billion Impact on Oklahoma's Economy


A new report by a professor at Oklahoma City University shows that the Cherokee Nation has a $1.5 billion impact on Oklahoma’s economy, a 50 percent boost since a previous report from 2012.  

Dr. Russell Evans, a research economist and assistant professor of economics at the Meinders School of Business, prepared both studies, in which the 2014-2015 report revealed:

“Annual operations by the Cherokee Nation now support more than $1.55 billion in local production of goods and services, ranging from retail purchases to new construction and manufacturing to new demands for local health care and education. Production of the $1.55 billion of local goods and services requires support from 15,610 local jobs that generate labor income payments of more than $644 million. The economic importance of the Cherokee Nation continues to expand as its economic impacts to output, employment and labor income grew by 16.5 percent, 10 percent and 15.3 percent over fiscal year 2012 levels.”

In its fiscal year 2014, Cherokee Nation businesses generated more than $829 million in revenue. Some of that source of revenue is attributed to: Cherokee Nation Entertainment, its gaming and hospitality company, which this year, constructed a new casino and started construction on an $80 million casino and hotel in Roland, Okla.; coupled with, a new home construction program for its citizens; and a $100 million investment in the overhaul of its healthcare system.

From a demographic standpoint, the nation’s business offices are spread throughout at least 14 counties in northeast Oklahoma. “Cherokee Nation’s economic engine is a critical component of the broader regional economy,” Evans said, according to a Cherokee Nation press release. “Its economic influence continues to grow in northeast Oklahoma, and that economic strength not only provides valuable opportunities to workers and their families throughout the region, but it also facilitates expanding Cherokee Nation’s government services.”

Evans worked with a research team at the Steven C. Agee Economic Research Policy Institute to collect and review data for its accuracy. “The economists also released similar economic impacts studies in 2011 and 2013, reporting Cherokee Nation impacts of $1 billion and $1.3 billion,” respectively, a release said.

To read the 2014-2015 report in its entirety, visit

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