These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Oregon For 2018

We used science and data to determine which places in Oregon are basically dead broke.

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Oregon brings to mind images of Salem, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Oregon has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in Oregon that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 77 places in Oregon with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Beaver State for 2018:

  1. Sweet Home (Photos)
  2. Prineville (Photos)
  3. Winston (Photos)
  4. Ontario (Photos)
  5. Madras (Photos)
  6. Klamath Falls (Photos)
  7. Milton-Freewater (Photos)
  8. Cottage Grove (Photos)
  9. Umatilla (Photos)
  10. Independence

Again, this isn’t a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it’s just a look at the facts.

And according to the facts, Sweet Home is the poorest place in Oregon for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Oregon or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

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How We Determined The Poorest Places In Oregon For 2018

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.

However, we don’t think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the ‘poorest places’. So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2012-2016 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
  • Unemployment Rate

The ‘median household income adjusted for the cost of living’ attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 77 places with more than 5,000 people in Oregon, we ranked each place from 1 to 77 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a ‘Poor Score’ with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Sweet Home, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Oregon For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 77 places.

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1. Sweet Home

Sweet Home, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,171
Median Income: $34,115
Unemployment Rate: 15.3%
Poverty Rate: 25.9%
Sweet Home, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Oregon thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 9,171 people averages the 6th lowest median household income in Oregon and the 8th highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.

2. Prineville

Prineville, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,419
Median Income: $31,669
Unemployment Rate: 12.2%
Poverty Rate: 25.7%
The second poorest city in Oregon is Prineville.

The city ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 7th highest in the Beaver State.

3. Winston

Winston, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,364
Median Income: $31,889
Unemployment Rate: 11.3%
Poverty Rate: 31.8%
Placing as the third poorest city, Winston’s median income ranks as the 4th lowest.

And that’s a sign that there’s a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 31.8% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.

But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the Beaver State.

4. Ontario

Ontario, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,045
Median Income: $27,262
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Poverty Rate: 35.6%
Ontario ranks as the fourth poorest place in Oregon.

The town ranks as having the 1st lowest median household income and the 1st highest incidence of poverty in the state.

That being said, there’s still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.

5. Madras

Madras, Oregon

Source: Google Maps

Population: 6,504
Median Income: $34,811
Unemployment Rate: 15.2%
Poverty Rate: 25.2%
The fifth poorest city in Oregon is Madras.

The city ranks as having the 7th lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 10th highest in Oregon.

Still not the best news for Madras.

6. Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 21,322
Median Income: $36,977
Unemployment Rate: 14.5%
Poverty Rate: 23.9%
Klamath Falls ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Beaver State.

It ranks as having the 11th highest incidence of poverty and the 4th highest unemployment rate.

7. Milton-Freewater

Milton-Freewater, Oregon

Source: Google Maps

Population: 7,059
Median Income: $40,495
Unemployment Rate: 9.9%
Poverty Rate: 30.5%
Milton-Freewater places as the seventh poorest city in Oregon.

The city of over 7,059 ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

8. Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,889
Median Income: $38,994
Unemployment Rate: 10.7%
Poverty Rate: 21.9%
Cottage Grove ranks as the eighth poorest city in Oregon.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 17th highest in the state.

9. Umatilla

Umatilla, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,986
Median Income: $41,771
Unemployment Rate: 14.5%
Poverty Rate: 20.5%
Umatilla couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Oregon; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 26th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Umatilla ranks as having the 22nd most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Oregon.

10. Independence

Independence, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,982
Median Income: $42,746
Unemployment Rate: 11.8%
Poverty Rate: 22.4%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Oregon is Independence.

The city of 8,982 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Beaver State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Oregon For 2018

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Oregon, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Oregon.

When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.

If you’re curious enough, here are the richest cities in Oregon, according to data:

Richest: Sherwood
2nd Richest: West Linn
3rd Richest: Happy Valley

For more Oregon reading , check out:

  • These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Oregon
  • These Are The 10 Safest Places In Oregon
  • These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Oregon

    City Rank Poverty Rate
    Sweet Home 1 25.9%
    Prineville 2 25.7%
    Winston 3 31.8%
    Ontario 4 35.6%
    Madras 5 25.2%
    Klamath Falls 6 23.9%
    Milton-Freewater 7 30.5%
    Cottage Grove 8 21.9%
    Umatilla 9 20.5%
    Independence 10 22.4%
    Talent 11 20.3%
    Seaside 12 17.7%
    Florence 13 17.4%
    Coos Bay 14 22.0%
    Springfield 15 22.6%
    Grants Pass 16 20.4%
    Stayton 17 19.7%
    Tillamook 18 29.3%
    Sutherlin 19 21.7%
    Monmouth 20 33.5%
    Woodburn 21 26.3%
    Sheridan 22 16.5%
    Lebanon 23 20.9%
    Roseburg 24 17.9%
    Corvallis 25 27.5%
    Redmond 26 20.0%
    Baker City 27 14.0%
    Eugene 28 23.1%
    Mcminnville 29 19.8%
    La Grande 30 23.0%
    Pendleton 31 16.0%
    Medford 32 21.4%
    Lincoln City 33 23.6%
    Junction City 34 17.1%
    Gresham 35 20.4%
    Dallas 36 15.4%
    Albany 37 17.2%
    Newport 38 19.6%
    St. Helens 39 19.0%
    Salem 40 17.2%
    Hermiston 41 20.2%
    Ashland 42 19.1%
    Troutdale 43 15.2%
    Astoria 44 17.8%
    Eagle Point 45 17.0%
    Central Point 46 12.4%
    North Bend 47 11.7%
    Cornelius 48 9.9%
    Forest Grove 49 15.4%
    Brookings 50 10.7%
    Newberg 51 19.1%
    Keizer 52 15.6%
    Hood River 53 19.5%
    Gladstone 54 12.7%
    Portland 55 16.9%
    Scappoose 56 12.9%
    Fairview 57 14.9%
    The Dalles 58 13.5%
    Beaverton 59 13.4%
    Silverton 60 11.6%
    Creswell 61 5.1%
    Milwaukie 62 12.1%
    Molalla 63 11.8%
    Warrenton 64 12.7%
    Bend 65 12.4%
    Damascus 66 7.6%
    Hillsboro 67 12.9%
    Wilsonville 68 10.0%
    Sandy 69 8.5%
    Tigard 70 12.1%
    Canby 71 11.3%
    Tualatin 72 10.9%
    Oregon City 73 11.0%
    Lake Oswego 74 7.2%
    Happy Valley 75 4.4%
    West Linn 76 4.8%
    Sherwood 77 4.7%

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