There are lots of people who throw the term ‘ghetto’ around. But which of the largest cities in Oregon are the most ghetto of all?
How do you decide if a place is ghetto or not? You ask the internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ghetto is defined as:
“urban; of or relating to (inner) city life” and “poor; of or relating to the poor life.”
Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where ghettos might exist in a state, and then put out a list.
After analyzing the largest cities here, we came up with this list as the most ghetto places to live in Oregon:
- Salem (Photos)
- Lincoln City (Photos)
- Portland (Photos)
- Madras (Photos)
- Astoria (Photos)
- Florence (Photos)
- Eugene (Photos)
- Seaside (Photos)
- Oregon City (Photos)
- Newport (Photos)
In case you’re wondering, Central Point is the least ghetto city of all we measured.
Read on below to see where your hometown ranked and why.
For more Oregon reading, check out:
What ghetto criteria did we use?
In order to rank the most ghetto places in Oregon, we had to determine what criteria defines a ghetto city or neighborhood.
Since a ghetto is defined as a poor area, we used income levels, crime and education levels as a guide to determine where the most broke citizens of a state live.
Additionally, the staples of inner city life include cheap and discounted retail outlets.
We started by making a list of cities with populations over 5,000 based on the 2014 American Community Survey. That left us with 91 cities in Oregon to measure.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using Yelp and Area Vibes, this is the criteria we used:
- Household income levels
- High school graduation rates
- Number of convenience stores
- Number of drug stores
- Number of discount stores
Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.
All of these results are listed in a per capita basis. Meaning number of stores per person in a state. Additionally, high school graduation rates are determined by looking at the total number of people who live in a city, not the current graduation rate of an area’s high schools.
Income: 21st lowest in OR
Drop out rate: 20%
Crime: 3rd worst
When you look at the unbiased data, Salem is the most ghetto city in Oregon. Here’s why.
First off, you’d have a hard time finding a more dangerous place than Salem. Only Portland and Lincoln City are more dangerous, statistically, in the state. There were ‘only’ two murders here in 2014, but if you spent a year here, you’d have a 1 in 320 chance of being raped, attacked or murdered.
While that’s really low when compared to other cities in America, that’s really high for Oregon. You’d also have a 1 in 22 chance of being robbed, which is actually really high when compared to the rest of the nation.
1 in 5 residents of Salem never finished high school by the age of 25. That’s actually not the lowest (Woodburn is lowest at an astounding 41%).
When you’re looking at income levels, Salem families bring in about $34,000 a year. That’s in the bottom 20% for Oregon, and 1 in 5 people under the age of 18 live in poverty in Salem. (A family of 4 needs about $25,000 to live outside of poverty.)
Finally, Salem has a high number of convenience stores per capita. Sociologists have indicated that discount outlets are a staple of inner city life.
Other Highlights From The Study
Portland: P-Town ranks as the 3rd most ghetto city in Oregon, when you look at the unbiased data. While this may or may not be a surprise to locals, it’s statistically true. For instance, Portland is the most dangerous place in Oregon. On average, there were two murders a month here in 2014, and you have a 1 in 205 chance of being a victim of a violent crime if you spent a year within city limits. There were also 24,000 robberies in Portland, according to the FBI.
Portland residents, overall, earn the 14th lowest incomes in the state ($32,000 per family).
What saved Portland from ‘winning’ this whole thing? The education levels are in the top 15%. Only 13% of residents never finished high school.
Eugene: Incomes are the 3rd lowest in Oregon in Eugene, where the average family earns a tick above the poverty line. There are also a high number of convenience stores here, per capita. Crime is the 12th highest.
Corvallis: The home of Oregon State University is the largest, ‘least ghetto’ city in Portland. This city of 54,000 has the 11th highest incomes ($70k a year), and is the 13th most educated. Only 8% of residents are considered dropouts.
Medford: Across the board, Medford is just about average, so it falls towards the middle. Crime is a bit above average (29th highest), but income levels and education levels trend toward the middle of the pack.
Not ghetto at all: The following are the least ghetto areas in the Beaver State: Central Point, Damascus, West Slope (a Portland unincorporated suburb), Eagle Point, and Sherwood.
Clackamas County is the least ghetto county in the state.
There You Have It
If you’re measuring the locations in Oregon where there are a high number of poor and uneducated residents, and where there are a high number of discounted shopping stores, this is an accurate list.
Below is the desktop version, with more detailed stats.
We also wrote about the 10 Drunkest Cities in Oregon if you didn’t happen to see it.
Desktop users, below is a chart of all large cities in Oregon, along with their detailed statistics.