The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Portland For 2022

We used data and science to identify the neighborhoods in Portland that are the real pits.

Portland's neighborhoods conjure up too many stereotypes to count. You've got hipster areas, preppy places, neighborhoods where college kids thrive, and of course, ghettos.

It seems as if there's a neighborhood for everyone in Portland.

And while the city consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment, it's not all rainbows and sunshine in Portland. Some neighborhoods aren't as great as others.

So the question arises, which Portland neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?

Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Portland hoods need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Portland area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Alameda ranks way above the rest.

We examined 63 of Portland's neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don't quite measure up to Portland's reputation.

So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Portland for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Centennial looks to be the worst neighborhood in Portland.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Portland that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.

Once you're done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of every neighborhood we looked at from worst to best. Looking for places to avoid outside of the city? You can also check out the worst suburbs of Portland.

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Worst Neighborhoods In Portland

The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Portland For 2022

Located in the eastern part of the city, Centennial forms part of Portland's outer boundary. Head further east and you reach the suburb of Gresham. If you want to escape the urban sprawl entirely, you can turn south. There, you'll find Powell Butte Nature Park.

This kind of escape to nature represents a key feature for Centennial's residents. The hiking trails and scenic views might help them forget their financial troubles. Because Centennial has more than its fair share of those. The area suffers from an unemployment rate of 7.7%. At the same time, the median income hovers at $41,022.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,932
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $165,638 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $41,022 (7th worst)
More on Centennial:  Data

Bordered on one side by the Powell Butte Nature Park and cut through by SE Powell Blvd., the "Powell" part of the neighborhood's name seems well earned. Originally, the moniker comes from early settler Jackson Powell, though the neighborhood is actually directly named for the Powellhurst school, which got its name in the 1920s.

The school part makes sense. Powellhurst still has a reputation for solid public schools. Housing and crime present a bit of problem, though. That's not a surprise, though, given the underlying economic realities.

Not that the area represents a financial sinkhole. Far from it. But with a 6.5% unemployment rate and a $40,114 median income, it's difficult for many locals to make ends meet.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,760
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $186,475 (4th worst)
Median Income: $40,114 (5th worst)
More on Powellhurst:  Data

Old Town-Chinatown has an inviting cultural footprint. As you've probably guessed, it houses Portland's Chinatown, with a collection of restaurants and shops. This is centered around Lan Su Chinese Garden, complete with a botanical garden and tea room. Meanwhile, the neighborhood borders the Willamette River, providing excellent waterside strolls.

All this promises an excellent excursion for a night out or a day browsing through an interesting part of the city. But don't get fooled into settling down here. Even with the thriving shopping district, jobs remain tough to find. The unemployment rate hovers at 9.0% and the median income only reaches $30,369.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,802
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $135,400 (worst)
Median Income: $30,369 (worst)
More on Old Town-Chinatown:  Data

Mill Park lands at number 4 on this list of worst neighborhoods in Portland for 2022 because of a weak economy and a high cost of living. You'll have trouble finding work in the neighborhood, with an unemployment rate of 7.3%. Meanwhile, even if you land a job, it probably won't pay very well. The median income sits at $38,634. Adding to the woes, it's not even easy to find affordable housing for the underpaid residents of the neighborhood.

Located in the eastern part of the city, Mill Park has its bright spots as well. The area is dotted with green spaces, including its namesake park and Midland Park. You've also got plenty of amenities, especially a retail strip along 122nd Ave.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,289
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $205,840 (9th worst)
Median Income: $38,634 (3rd worst)
More on Mill Park:  Data

Some of Sunderland's features make it seem quite appealing. It sits along the Columbia River, giving it some waterfront property. It contains the Riverside Golf & Country Club, perhaps suggesting a touch of class and elegance.

But then zoom out a bit and you'll notice that the neighborhood sits right by the airport. That's a spot in most cities where people usually avoid putting down roots. If you buy a house near all that noise and traffic, you probably don't have a lot of other options.

The economy in Sunderland isn't bad, however. The unemployment rate sits at 2.1%. However, it isn't a haven for great-paying jobs either. The median income sits below $40,000.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 760
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $198,900 (6th worst)
Median Income: $39,875 (4th worst)
More on Sunderland:  Data

St. Johns, located on a strip of land sandwiched between the Willamette and Columbia rivers, was once its own city. The town was annexed by Portland in 1915. More than 100 years later, it ranks as the number 6 worst neighborhood in Portland for 2022.

Economically, this section does well. It sports a median income of $60,428 and an unemployment rate of 6.0%. However, things can get expensive on this side of town. The median home value stands at $227,860, out of range for many locals.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,933
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $227,860 (13th worst)
Median Income: $60,428 (29th worst)
More on Saintjohns:  Data

If you come to Portland on business, it's a good bet you'll spend some time in the Lloyd District. Built along the north bank of the Willamette River, it houses the Oregon Convention Center, perfect for anyone in town for a professional gathering. You'll also find the Moda Center arena, home of the Portland Trailblazers NBA basketball team.

All these amenities come with a price, however. The median home value sits at $260,100. That's a hard mortgage to manage when the local median income only reaches $40,808. At the same time, Lloyd suffers from other signs of economic weakness. For instance, the unemployment rate stands at an elevated 7.0%.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,686
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $260,100 (24th worst)
Median Income: $40,808 (6th worst)
More on Lloyd:  Data

Settled into the intersection of I-84 and I-205, with the south bank of the Columbia River forming its northern boundary, Parkrose sits in northeast section of Portland. Look out over the river and you'll seen Government Island. No, not a sight of secret deep-state conspiracies. Rather, a nature recreation area with a notable population of blue herons.

Unfortunately, now we have to talk about Parkrose's other distinction: it's the number 8 worst neighborhood in Portland for 2022. Turns out, waterside real estate facing prime heron-spotting areas costs a sizable chunk of cash. The median home value hovers at $206,845. Compare this to the median income in the area, which runs just $48,714.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,252
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $206,845 (10th worst)
Median Income: $48,714 (14th worst)
More on Parkrose:  Data

If you came to Bridgeton for a bridge, you won't be disappointed. I-5 runs through the eastern side of the neighborhood, where it crosses the Columbia River. That stretch of road will take you first to Hayden Island, and then on to Vancouver, Washington. This makes Bridgeton one of the last stops in Oregon before leaving the state.

So should you stop or keep on driving? Well, there are signs that you might find a better spot to put down roots.

Located on the far northern end of Portland, Bridgeton lacks some of the amenities found closer to the center of the city. Also, prices are a bit high, with a median home value of $214,900 compared to median income of $50,927.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 838
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $214,900 (11th worst)
Median Income: $50,927 (16th worst)
More on Bridgeton:  Data

Got a few weekend hours to burn? Head to Kenton. You can hit the Heron Lakes Golf Club. Or, if you want something a little more fast-paced, you could check out the Portland International Raceway. Or maybe there's an event planned at the Portland Metropolitan Expo Center.

Whatever you end up doing with your Saturday, you might want to look for somewhere else to call home. Kenton counts as the number 10 worst place to live in Portland for 2022. As we've seen on this list before, affordability represents the culprit here. Homes in the area demand a median price of $261,390, a stretch when the median income sits at $54,400.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,238
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $261,390 (25th worst)
Median Income: $54,400 (20th worst)
More on Kenton:  Data

Methodology: How we determined the worst Portland neighborhoods in 2022

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what places have the least amount of those things. We threw the following criteria into this analysis in order to get the best, most complete results possible. We used this set of criteria for each neighborhood in Portland:

  • High unemployment (Less jobs)
  • Low median income (Less pay)
  • Low population density (No things to do)
  • Low home values (No one's willing to pay to live here)
  • High crime (Estimated)

Then, we ranked each neighborhood in Portland, Oregon for each of these criteria from worst to best.

Next, we averaged the individual rankings for each criteria into a "Worst Score".

The neighborhood with the lowest "Worst Score" ranks as the worst neighborhood of Portland.

Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Portland to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 63 neighborhoods ranked from worst to best.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Hold on to your pants.

Summary: The Worst Neighborhoods Around Portland

Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Portland with Centennial landing at the bottom of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Portland aren't all bad. Alameda takes the cake as the best place to live in Portland.

We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Neighborhoods To Live In Portland For 2022?

Rank Neighborhood Population Home Value Median Income
1 Centennial 20,932 $165,638 $41,022
2 Powellhurst 25,760 $186,475 $40,114
3 Old Town-Chinatown 2,802 $135,400 $30,369
4 Mill Park 10,289 $205,840 $38,634
5 Sunderland 760 $198,900 $39,875
6 Saintjohns 7,933 $227,860 $60,428
7 Lloyd 2,686 $260,100 $40,808
8 Parkrose 12,252 $206,845 $48,714
9 Bridgeton 838 $214,900 $50,927
10 Kenton 8,238 $261,390 $54,400
11 Argay 8,877 $247,312 $66,521
12 Downtown 12,061 $222,386 $35,908
13 Lents 20,514 $194,508 $43,959
14 Madison South 6,452 $253,100 $58,542
15 Portsmith 10,654 $250,000 $46,666
16 Hazelwood 24,435 $201,031 $41,993
17 Brentwood-Darlington 13,190 $203,925 $55,499
18 Buckman 8,869 $252,990 $42,765
19 Wilkes 13,484 $248,111 $56,404
20 Montavilla 17,996 $253,833 $50,326
21 Pleasant Valley 12,876 $246,390 $64,486
22 Cathedral Park 9,630 $251,200 $55,148
23 Cully 20,717 $304,200 $64,329
24 Haden Island 565 $149,050 $60,522
25 Kerns 5,562 $271,286 $51,634
26 Eliot 3,888 $392,700 $45,398
27 Reed 4,338 $363,675 $48,087
28 Foster Powell 7,801 $250,786 $54,018
29 Woodlawn 12,319 $318,440 $61,828
30 Overlook 6,889 $311,000 $66,513
31 Creston-Kenilworth 7,159 $290,750 $54,382
32 South Tabor 7,091 $308,000 $56,838
33 Mount Scott 7,892 $259,450 $56,753
34 Government Island 418 $281,500 $67,280
35 Hayhurst 5,669 $352,525 $73,651
36 University Park 5,468 $349,740 $68,728
37 Brooklyn 5,053 $339,340 $58,775
38 Pearl District 5,591 $299,900 $60,041
39 Arbor Lodge 7,144 $322,510 $69,712
40 Roseway 21,686 $373,988 $75,634
41 Maplewood-Ashcreek 17,712 $361,243 $79,174
42 Boise 7,397 $377,431 $60,547
43 Concordia 10,267 $369,755 $78,174
44 Northwest 21,700 $460,796 $65,129
45 Hosford 8,107 $417,230 $71,902
46 Woodstock 9,124 $331,200 $76,433
47 Southwest Hills 6,279 $622,364 $131,143
48 Sellwood-Moreland 11,716 $413,850 $64,873
49 Hillsdale 8,391 $458,562 $94,739
50 Bridlemile 4,890 $565,300 $119,354
51 Far Southwest 16,876 $418,864 $96,411
52 Center 9,781 $436,970 $78,398
53 Mount Tabor 10,111 $412,250 $72,145
54 Eastmoreland 5,822 $455,088 $94,644
55 Ross Island 154 $450,000 $100,139
56 Richmond 18,996 $408,912 $71,477
57 Linnton 736 $554,700 $115,628
58 King 15,335 $423,211 $83,104
59 Corbett-Terwilliger-Lair Hill 8,195 $406,833 $81,749
60 Homestead 2,809 $562,080 $83,972
61 Irvington 8,968 $488,486 $76,071
62 Forest Park 10,184 $664,927 $138,185
63 Alameda 9,040 $588,075 $110,249

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 2022. This is our time ranking the worst neighborhoods to live in Portland.
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.