These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Oregon For 2019

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 2019. This is our fourth 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.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Beaver State for 2019:

  1. Ontario (Photos)
  2. Madras (Photos)
  3. Prineville (Photos)
  4. Sweet Home (Photos)
  5. Klamath Falls (Photos)
  6. Umatilla (Photos)
  7. Talent (Photos)
  8. Cottage Grove (Photos)
  9. Florence (Photos)
  10. Coos Bay (Photos)

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, Ontario is the poorest place in Oregon for 2019.

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.

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:

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Oregon for 2019

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 2013-2017 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 2019”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 76 places.

Ontario, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,972
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Median Income: $31,182 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.2% (1st 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 10,972 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Oregon and the 1st 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

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,552
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $35,485 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.4% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.9% (8th highest)
More on Madras:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Oregon is Madras.

The city ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty and 6th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 2nd highest in the Beaver State.

Prineville, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,515
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $33,195 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.2% (6th 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 24.2% 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


Population: 9,289
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Median Income: $36,411 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.6% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.6% (12th 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 12th 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


Population: 21,113
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Income: $38,847 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.1% (11th highest)
More on Klamath Falls:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Oregon is Klamath Falls.

The city ranks as having the 15th 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 11th highest in Oregon.

Still not the best news for Klamath Falls.

Umatilla, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,069
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Median Income: $38,796 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.1% (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 12th highest unemployment rate.

Talent, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,349
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Median Income: $31,484 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (23rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.0% (13th highest)
More on Talent:  Data | Photos

Talent places as the seventh poorest city in Oregon.

The city of over 6,349 ranks as having the 13th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Cottage Grove, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,930
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $40,436 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.6% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.0% (19th highest)
More on Cottage Grove:  Data | Photos

Cottage Grove ranks as the eighth poorest city in Oregon.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 5th highest in the state.

Florence, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,678
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Median Income: $33,821 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 18.6% (26th highest)
More on Florence:  Data | Photos

Florence couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Oregon; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 5th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Florence ranks as having the 26th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Oregon.

Coos Bay, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,070
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Median Income: $43,173 (24th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.4% (17th highest)
More on Coos Bay:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 16,070 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 2019

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: Happy Valley
    3rd Richest: West Linn

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Oregon

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Ontario 10,972 35.2%
2 Madras 6,552 23.9%
3 Prineville 9,515 24.2%
4 Sweet Home 9,289 22.6%
5 Klamath Falls 21,113 23.1%
6 Umatilla 7,069 24.1%
7 Talent 6,349 22.0%
8 Cottage Grove 9,930 21.0%
9 Florence 8,678 18.6%
10 Coos Bay 16,070 21.4%
11 Grants Pass 36,687 20.2%
12 Springfield 60,823 21.3%
13 Lebanon 16,336 21.6%
14 Winston 5,365 25.4%
15 La Grande 12,999 21.8%
16 Monmouth 9,983 34.1%
17 Corvallis 56,224 27.3%
18 Tillamook 5,085 28.4%
19 Roseburg 22,013 17.5%
20 Eugene 163,135 21.7%
21 Seaside 6,542 12.4%
22 Pendleton 16,709 15.6%
23 Medford 79,246 19.8%
24 Baker City 9,741 14.5%
25 Independence 9,246 14.3%
26 Woodburn 25,067 23.7%
27 Gresham 110,336 20.0%
28 Stayton 7,927 15.9%
29 Lincoln City 8,541 23.4%
30 Sheridan 6,049 11.9%
31 Newport 10,274 19.4%
32 Sutherlin 7,887 18.9%
33 Mcminnville 33,211 16.3%
34 Hermiston 17,241 20.0%
35 Redmond 28,492 16.2%
36 Albany 52,007 15.4%
37 St. Helens 13,254 17.8%
38 Central Point 17,760 13.4%
39 Dallas 15,413 15.1%
40 North Bend 9,566 13.4%
41 Astoria 9,632 15.3%
42 Salem 163,654 16.2%
43 Brookings 6,366 12.7%
44 Ashland 20,733 18.6%
45 Junction City 5,819 17.1%
46 Forest Grove 23,554 14.0%
47 The Dalles 15,224 13.4%
48 Newberg 22,898 17.0%
49 Hood River 7,526 17.9%
50 Troutdale 16,557 13.0%
51 Portland 630,331 16.2%
52 Molalla 8,987 13.7%
53 Gladstone 11,936 11.6%
54 Eagle Point 8,858 15.6%
55 Keizer 37,910 13.8%
56 Silverton 9,757 11.4%
57 Cornelius 12,423 10.5%
58 Beaverton 95,710 12.6%
59 Warrenton 5,335 12.2%
60 Milwaukie 20,627 12.2%
61 Scappoose 6,975 8.2%
62 Wilsonville 22,789 11.9%
63 Damascus 10,909 8.1%
64 Bend 87,167 10.9%
65 Creswell 5,202 8.5%
66 Tualatin 27,135 11.1%
67 Oregon City 35,483 9.5%
68 Fairview 9,261 10.0%
69 Canby 17,337 10.9%
70 Tigard 51,355 10.4%
71 Hillsboro 102,396 10.8%
72 Sandy 10,581 11.8%
73 Lake Oswego 38,212 5.6%
74 West Linn 26,307 4.3%
75 Happy Valley 18,477 4.6%
76 Sherwood 19,107 3.8%


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