Poorest Cities In Oregon For 2021

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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the poorest places in Oregon.

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.

Here are the ten poorest places in Oregon for 2021:

  1. Madras
  2. Prineville
  3. Ontario
  4. Klamath Falls
  5. Sweet Home
  6. Talent
  7. Umatilla
  8. La Grande
  9. Cottage Grove
  10. Springfield

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, Madras is the poorest place in Oregon for 2021.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the best 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 2021

1. Madras

Madras, OR

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,777
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $34,858 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.8% (6th highest)
More on Madras:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 6,777 people averages the lowest median household income in Oregon and the 6th 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, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,035
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $35,871 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.9% (7th highest)
More on Prineville:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Oregon is Prineville.

The city ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty and 2nd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 2nd highest in the Beaver State.

3. Ontario

Ontario, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,966
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Income: $36,922 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.3% (2nd highest)
More on Ontario:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Ontario'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 27.33383121732637% 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. Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 21,335
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $41,444 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.7% (5th highest)
More on Klamath Falls:  Data | Photos

Klamath Falls ranks as the fourth poorest place in Oregon.

The town ranks as having the 8th lowest median household income and the 5th 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. Sweet Home

Sweet Home, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,619
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $43,589 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.7% (8th highest)
More on Sweet Home:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Oregon is Sweet Home.

The city ranks as having the 13th 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 Sweet Home.

6. Talent

Talent, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,503
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $40,385 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.5% (20th highest)
More on Talent:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 20th highest incidence of poverty and the 5th highest unemployment rate.

7. Umatilla

Umatilla, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,162
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $41,995 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (20th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.1% (3rd highest)
More on Umatilla:  Data | Photos

Umatilla places as the seventh poorest city in Oregon.

The city of over 7,162 ranks as having the 3rd 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. La Grande

La Grande, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,310
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $42,375 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (13th highest)
Poverty Rate: 18.6% (15th 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 13th highest in the state.

9. Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,182
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Income: $47,752 (22nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.2% (14th highest)
More on Cottage Grove:  Data | Photos

Cottage Grove couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Oregon; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 22nd lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Cottage Grove ranks as having the 14th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Oregon.

10. Springfield

Springfield, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 62,077
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Income: $47,695 (2lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.3% (12th highest)
More on Springfield:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 62,077 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 2021

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 2015-2019 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, Madras, crowned the "Poorest Place In Oregon For 2021". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Oregon For 2021

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 Madras 6,777 21.8%
2 Prineville 10,035 20.9%
3 Ontario 10,966 27.3%
4 Klamath Falls 21,335 22.7%
5 Sweet Home 9,619 20.7%
6 Talent 6,503 17.5%
7 Umatilla 7,162 26.1%
8 La Grande 13,310 18.6%
9 Cottage Grove 10,182 19.2%
10 Springfield 62,077 19.3%
11 Monmouth 10,282 27.8%
12 Coos Bay 16,229 16.8%
13 Florence 8,921 15.6%
14 Baker City 9,752 12.3%
15 Eugene 168,302 20.4%
16 Hermiston 17,423 19.3%
17 Pendleton 16,733 17.6%
18 Grants Pass 37,545 17.2%
19 Lebanon 16,870 16.4%
20 Corvallis 58,028 25.6%
21 Milton-Freewater 7,037 20.4%
22 Lincoln City 8,826 19.2%
23 Winston 5,416 18.3%
24 Medford 81,145 17.3%
25 Roseburg 23,083 12.7%
26 Newport 10,559 17.0%
27 St. Helens 13,559 16.8%
28 Gresham 110,494 16.5%
29 North Bend 9,652 13.6%
30 Dallas 16,168 13.4%
31 Seaside 6,737 11.2%
32 Ashland 21,056 18.4%
33 Sheridan 6,122 11.2%
34 Tillamook 5,231 15.6%
35 Salem 169,259 15.5%
36 Sutherlin 8,033 16.2%
37 Albany 53,521 12.0%
38 Woodburn 25,738 18.0%
39 Central Point 18,376 12.2%
40 Brookings 6,431 9.0%
41 Gladstone 12,170 12.2%
42 Astoria 9,836 11.4%
43 Redmond 30,167 12.1%
44 The Dalles 15,448 10.7%
45 Molalla 9,155 14.5%
46 Independence 9,842 8.9%
47 Junction City 6,053 16.0%
48 Silverton 10,242 8.3%
49 Mcminnville 34,010 14.3%
50 Newberg 23,396 15.8%
51 Keizer 38,980 10.9%
52 Portland 645,291 13.7%
53 Stayton 8,130 8.8%
54 Forest Grove 24,457 10.6%
55 Milwaukie 21,009 11.2%
56 Warrenton 5,549 6.0%
57 Beaverton 97,861 11.3%
58 Bend 93,917 10.3%
59 Fairview 9,363 6.9%
60 Oregon City 36,492 7.6%
61 Troutdale 16,466 9.8%
62 Sandy 11,070 9.5%
63 Hillsboro 106,543 9.5%
64 Wilsonville 24,073 9.7%
65 Creswell 5,356 7.7%
66 Hood River 7,715 6.2%
67 Canby 17,695 8.7%
68 Tualatin 27,527 10.2%
69 Tigard 53,312 8.9%
70 West Linn 26,656 5.1%
71 Eagle Point 9,154 9.8%
72 Cornelius 12,638 6.7%
73 Scappoose 7,270 8.8%
74 Lake Oswego 39,127 3.9%
75 Sherwood 19,625 2.9%
76 Happy Valley 20,971 3.1%

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