Poorest Cities In Oregon For 2020


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

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the poorest places in Oregon.

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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 76 places in Oregon with more than 5,000 people.

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.

What's the poorst city in Oregon? According to the facts, Ontario is the poorest place in Oregon for 2020.

Rich people more 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.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the poorest states in America or the poorest cities in America.

For more Oregon reading, check out:

The 10 Poorest Cities In Oregon For 2020

Ontario, OR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,997
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $34,940 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.8% (2nd highest)
More on Ontario:  Data | Photos

Ontario, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Oregon thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 10,997 people averages the 4th lowest median household income in Oregon and the 2nd 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.

Madras, OR

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 6,674
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $34,966 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.3% (9th highest)
More on Madras:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Oregon is Madras.

The city ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty and 5th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 2nd highest in the Beaver State.

Prineville, OR

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 9,748
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $34,630 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.4% (10th highest)
More on Prineville:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Prineville's median income ranks as the 3rd 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 23.437985700963637% 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.

Sweet Home, OR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,435
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $37,474 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.4% (13th highest)
More on Sweet Home:  Data | Photos

Sweet Home ranks as the fourth poorest place in Oregon.

The town ranks as having the 7th lowest median household income and the 13th 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.

Klamath Falls, OR

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 21,138
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $39,738 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.5% (8th highest)
More on Klamath Falls:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Oregon is Klamath Falls.

The city ranks as having the 10th 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 8th highest in Oregon.

Still not the best news for Klamath Falls.

Umatilla, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,114
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $41,707 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.5% (7th highest)
More on Umatilla:  Data | Photos

Umatilla ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Beaver State.

It ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty and the 7th highest unemployment rate.

Talent, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,424
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $34,321 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.7% (16th highest)
More on Talent:  Data | Photos

Talent places as the seventh poorest city in Oregon.

The city of over 6,424 ranks as having the 16th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

La Grande, OR

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 13,103
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
Median Income: $41,422 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.0% (17th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.8% (11th highest)
More on La Grande:  Data | Photos

La Grande 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.

Milton-Freewater, OR

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

/10

Population: 7,035
Rank Last Year: -
Median Income: $41,354 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (27th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.5% (3rd highest)
More on Milton-Freewater:  Data | Photos

Milton-Freewater couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Oregon; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 12th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Milton-Freewater ranks as having the 3rd most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Oregon.

Monmouth, OR

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 10,131
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 6)
Median Income: $38,698 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (35th highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.8% (1st highest)
More on Monmouth:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Oregon is Monmouth.

The city of 10,131 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Beaver State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Oregon for 2020

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 2014-2018 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 76 places with more than 5,000 people in Oregon, we ranked each place from 1 to 76 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, Ontario, crowned the "Poorest Place In Oregon For 2020". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Oregon For 2020

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: Happy Valley
    2nd Richest: Sherwood
    3rd Richest: Lake Oswego

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Oregon

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Ontario 10,997 30.8%
2 Madras 6,674 24.3%
3 Prineville 9,748 23.4%
4 Sweet Home 9,435 21.4%
5 Klamath Falls 21,138 24.5%
6 Umatilla 7,114 24.5%
7 Talent 6,424 20.7%
8 La Grande 13,103 21.8%
9 Milton-Freewater 7,035 27.5%
10 Monmouth 10,131 33.8%
11 Cottage Grove 10,083 21.2%
12 Springfield 61,525 20.4%
13 Coos Bay 16,176 18.6%
14 Baker City 9,738 15.7%
15 Lebanon 16,599 18.6%
16 Florence 8,815 17.6%
17 Corvallis 57,213 26.3%
18 Pendleton 16,713 17.1%
19 Roseburg 22,988 15.1%
20 Eugene 165,997 21.5%
21 Tillamook 5,176 26.1%
22 Medford 80,051 19.1%
23 Seaside 6,643 12.2%
24 Grants Pass 37,201 18.4%
25 Winston 5,406 24.8%
26 St. Helens 13,446 18.8%
27 Woodburn 25,417 20.7%
28 Newport 10,381 17.2%
29 Gresham 110,770 19.2%
30 Lincoln City 8,684 20.9%
31 Hermiston 17,346 20.7%
32 Dallas 15,805 15.8%
33 Sutherlin 7,941 17.8%
34 Sheridan 6,106 12.0%
35 Ashland 20,912 20.1%
36 Independence 9,556 10.0%
37 Albany 52,736 13.6%
38 Mcminnville 33,662 17.0%
39 Salem 166,756 15.6%
40 Central Point 18,130 13.7%
41 North Bend 9,615 14.7%
42 Astoria 9,747 13.1%
43 Forest Grove 23,923 13.1%
44 Redmond 29,234 13.3%
45 Gladstone 12,045 13.3%
46 Junction City 5,946 14.3%
47 The Dalles 15,320 13.5%
48 Newberg 23,167 17.0%
49 Silverton 10,028 10.4%
50 Brookings 6,413 11.0%
51 Portland 639,387 14.9%
52 Keizer 38,479 11.7%
53 Molalla 9,082 15.4%
54 Troutdale 16,559 11.8%
55 Beaverton 97,012 12.2%
56 Hood River 7,688 12.4%
57 Stayton 8,025 13.2%
58 Cornelius 12,575 10.1%
59 Creswell 5,291 7.5%
60 Bend 90,500 10.3%
61 Milwaukie 20,955 10.8%
62 Warrenton 5,453 5.9%
63 Hillsboro 104,730 10.0%
64 Wilsonville 23,418 11.0%
65 Oregon City 36,040 9.9%
66 Scappoose 7,125 7.5%
67 Tigard 52,368 9.1%
68 Tualatin 27,338 10.3%
69 Canby 17,527 10.3%
70 Eagle Point 9,015 8.9%
71 Sandy 10,834 10.9%
72 Fairview 9,303 5.1%
73 West Linn 26,511 5.0%
74 Lake Oswego 38,705 4.5%
75 Sherwood 19,337 2.7%
76 Happy Valley 19,471 3.2%

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