The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon For 2020


We used science to determine which places in the Beaver State are the real pits.

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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 worst places to live in Oregon.

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Oregon is one of those states that quietly flies off the radar. The one in the corner, quietly doing its work without much of a peep. No one can deny that it's a beautiful place filled with lots of progressive people who enjoy their little nook of the country.

But, is it all roses? Not at all. Just like other states, Oregon has its share of issues just like everyone else. And the purpose of this post is to use science to see where those places are.

So, after analyzing all 72 cities with a population of 5,200 or more, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Oregon:

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we're picking on small town America, that's not the case.

We understand there's a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn't measure things like beauty and 'friendly people'), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Oregon? That would be Prineville.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.

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

For more Oregon reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon For 2020

Prineville, OR

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 9,748
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $164,300 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (4th worst)
More on Prineville:  Data | Photos

The good news is, according to a story we recently did, Prineville is the 10th luckiest city in Oregon, based on lottery winnings per capita.

The bad news is if you hit it big, someone might steal your money here. Prineville doesn't have the worst crime in the state, but it's sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, this town on the desert side of Bend may not be your first choice for a vacation.

Ontario, OR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,997
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 13)
Median Home Value: $114,800 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (7th worst)
More on Ontario:  Data | Photos

Ontario might as well be in Idaho, it's so far away from everyone else. Folks here suffer through high crime, low wages and a very high number of homes aren't occupied.

On the bright side, the public education system here is 6th highest in Oregon.

Madras, OR

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 6,674
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $138,500 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (2nd worst)
More on Madras:  Data | Photos

Madras places 3rd in our ranking of the worst places to live in Oregon. Here, 20.0% of the adult population lack's even a high school degree. That makes Madras have the 6th highest adult drop out rate in Oregon.

Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $138,500 each -- the 4th lowest in Oregon.

As you can imagine, there's not a lot of demand to live here.

Seaside, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,643
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $279,600 (52nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (9th worst)
More on Seaside:  Data | Photos

When you're looking at science and data, the city of Seaside is the 4th worst place you can live in the state of Oregon. Let's see why.

You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 10th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.

Residents in Seaside had a 1 in 19.7 chance of being robbed in 2019. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Seaside, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.

Seaside's other issues are a very high unemployment rate (8.5%) and income levels of its residents ($42,169).

Sweet Home, OR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,435
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $138,600 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (1st worst)
More on Sweet Home:  Data | Photos

Sweet Home doesn't sound too sweet when you add up the numbers. This town in the middle of nowhere (north of Eugene) has a low household income and a long commute time, meaning even less time with the family. That is for folks who have a job -- residents here have a 13.8% unemployment rate.

Additionally, 21.4% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Medford, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 80,051
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $244,700 (42nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (24th worst)
More on Medford:  Data | Photos

you're looking to live in Oregon, Medford might not be the best choice as it places 6th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2020.

Medford doesn't have the worst crime in the state, but it's sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Medford may not be your first choice for a vacation.

Woodburn, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 25,417
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $179,400 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (41st worst)
More on Woodburn:  Data | Photos

Woodburn's situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.

Woodburn has the 2worst crime index of any place in Oregon, and has the 23rd lowest income.

Cottage Grove, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,083
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $180,200 (18th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (8th worst)
More on Cottage Grove:  Data | Photos

If you're looking to live in Oregon, Cottage Grove might not be the best choice as it places 8th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2020.

The unemployment rate here is 9.2%, and households bring in a combined $47,316 a year in income. That's not too far from the poverty line, even though money goes a lot further in the boonies of Oregon.

Crime is the 18th highest in the state in Cottage Grove as well. Just not a very desirable place at all to make home.

Klamath Falls, OR

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 21,138
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $155,600 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (5th worst)
More on Klamath Falls:  Data | Photos

Here in Klamath Falls, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Oregon. That's not a good combination.

Located in Klamath County, you have a 1 in 28.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Klamath Falls city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (10.3%). That's good for the 5th highest unemployment rate in Oregon.

Redmond, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 29,234
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $242,200 (40th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (30th worst)
More on Redmond:  Data | Photos

There's probably not many people in Oregon that would be surprised to see Redmond on this list. In fact, if Redmond wasn't somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.

Here are the statistics. Redmond has the 23rd worst crime rate in Oregon. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 73 violent crimes in Redmond in 2020. Residents here had a 1 in 400 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.

The home values in Redmond are the 40th cheapest in the state ($242,200), the unemployment rate is the 30th highest (6.7%), and the annual household income is 44th lowest in Oregon, at $55,679. That's basically at the poverty level for a family of four.

How we determined the worst places to live in Oregon for 2020

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 cities have the least amount of those things.

We don't think it's a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census's most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered -- leaving 72 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 72 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".

Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in Oregon -- Prineville. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Oregon. You can download the data here.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

Wrapping Up The Worst In Oregon

If you're looking at areas in Oregon with the worst economic situations, where there's higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Prineville ranks as the worst city to live in Oregon for 2020.

If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Oregon:

  1. Sherwood (Pop. 19,337)
  2. West Linn (Pop. 26,511)
  3. Lake Oswego (Pop. 38,705)

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Oregon?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Prineville 9,748 10.4% $164,300
2 Ontario 10,997 9.2% $114,800
3 Madras 6,674 11.5% $138,500
4 Seaside 6,643 8.5% $279,600
5 Sweet Home 9,435 13.8% $138,600
6 Medford 80,051 6.9% $244,700
7 Woodburn 25,417 5.6% $179,400
8 Cottage Grove 10,083 9.2% $180,200
9 Klamath Falls 21,138 10.3% $155,600
10 Redmond 29,234 6.7% $242,200

How Is The Area In ?

54 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon For 2020

  1. In your colection of “scientific” information you should have been informed Roseburg is south of Eugene, And it’s just Roseburg, not north roseburg….

  2. You meant COBURG, not “Roseburg North.” Roseburg has over 21,000 citizens, and is south of Eugene. The photo you’re using is of Roseburg as well. Just because you write on the internet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t proofread and fact-check yourself. Shame on you and this site for publishing this without reading it first.

  3. Im not sure what “North Roseburg” is. I live in Roseburg Oregon, which is one hour SOUTH of Eugene and we have a population of 21,549. Maybe get your facts straight.

  4. Roseburg North??? I have lived in the state for 37 years and lived in Eugene and never heard of this place. Do you mean Coburg? The town of Roseburg is an hour south of Eugene and has over 20,000 residents.

    1. Winston is home to wildlife safari, an incredible drive through zoo my family visits once a year. Not to mention awesome hikes to waterfalls and rivers nearby and a 2 hour drive to Coos Bay. I wouldn’t want to live there, but there certainly isn’t ‘nothing to do’ in Winston/Roseburg.

  5. You have the location of Roseburg incorrect. Not sure how much of this to believe, depends on what you classify as things to do.

  6. What a negative article. I wonder if you ever thought about writing an article about the best places to live in Oregon. Or were you too busy coming up with only negative things to say?

    If you don’t like the places you listed, then do their citizens a favor: Stay away. Stay far, far, *far* away.

  7. When Oregon had jobs which was before logging & working were dirty words, the towns you mention were 180 degrees different than what they are now.

  8. Jennings Lodge is #7? Interesting. I have lived here for 15 years, and did not even know that it was an actual city, as opposed to an ‘area’. However, we refer to it as the banana belt as it is usually a bit warmer here than 5 miles south or north (scientifically that would be Oregon City, Milwaukie, and 5 more miles would be Portland) We also are within 5-7 minutes of freeway ramps going N. and S. on I-205. The Willamette and the Clackamas rivers join forces just down the road which gives us plenty of water activities, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, sunning, and of course fishing and boating of all sorts. Houses that do go on the market sell rapidly and for asking price. Yeah, you’re right, who’d want to live here?

    1. Or Baker City…..9K people and the WORST schools ever, rude nasty people, and literally nothing to do if you don’t have a big 4×4 or a horse.

  9. People please! If you don’t agree with this list that’s okay. I don’t either. But, to better state your case, be nice. I see so many mean posts and it’s not necessary.

  10. I would just like to say that many of the residents of this community are RETIRED. thus we will have a LOWer INCOME. Yes there has been an increase in crime, but remember, we are very close to Medford and regretfully get their overflow.

  11. Hahaha! Thanks for this! I grew up in Jennings Lodge and YES, it is not a city, it’s a neighborhood and YES, it TOTALLY belongs on this list! Glad the person above is happy living there but high crime, drug dealers, drunks, domestic violence, rape, incest, dog fights, poverty and sh*t, etc are all things I remember from my childhood there. I and other escapees I’ve met refer to growing up and leaving as “getting out,” as in “when did you get out?”

  12. Since when does Grants Pass have the worst climate? Its famous a giant “It’s the climate!” sign hanging on the same street pictured in your article! Most people say it’s better than Portland rain and eastern Oregon’s freezing temps any day.

  13. I was sad to see Sheridan on your list. Sheridan is a great little community, as are many of the others you listed. Most of us who live in these small communities wouldn’t think of moving to your supposed “best places”. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    1. Sheridan is a great small community they have Sheridan days the Monroe center friendly people it’s only like 12 miles from Mcminnville where u can find big item stores it’s only like 30 miles from the beach 25 from Salem 50 to Portland hmmmmm

  14. Winston has Wildlife Safari, there is no such place as North Roseburg and they are idiots if they think that their values (urban = better) makes any sense. I deliberately live in a place with fewer people so I don’t have to listen to this kind of logic and lack of integrity.

  15. 1. Regarding the “science” behind the article, since when is low population density a bad thing ? If so then people from these towns would be migrating in droves to Southern California, not vice-versa. Speaking of those Californians, when they move to my home town of Grants Pass, they call it paradise and pass the word along to their friends. These folks bring crime and sundry other urban baggage with them. I’d like to see if the ten worse communities in Oregon are also the ten most popular destinations for invaders from California. I’d bet the two lists would mirror each other.
    2. Grants Pass weather is fantastic.

  16. Hit the nail on the head regarding Grant’s Ass. It’s funny to see all the lames get their panties in a bunch defending their state that has only one thing going for it anymore, the geography.

  17. Grants Pass is a wonderful place to live Roseburg North is not a city, nor is Jennings Lodge, plus all these places are better than living in Portland, Assland(Ashland) and Lake NoNegroe

  18. I really love living in Grants Pass, all the people hear are very nice and very kind. The community even though it is quite a big place is a very tight nit community. Plus the weather truly is fantastic, every year we have sunny days all through the summer a good amount of rain each year not the torrential down pours in Portland every year. We also only get a little bit of snow each year not the 20 inches in Bend every year

  19. As pointed out, Jennings Lodge isn’t even a city, it’s an unincorporated community in Clackamas Country, so it’s hard for your article to have an credibility if you can’t get the definitions correct. Also, I think the photo you used, which I guess is supposed to show a boarded up building on right to highlight the run down aspects of JL, was actually a new restaurant under construction which is now completed. You could have also taken a photo of all of the nice homes along River Rd. in the city of “Jennings Lodge”, but that would I suppose defeat the purpose of the article. Also, Grants Pass has bad weather and Lincoln City has nice weather? Have you even been to Oregon? Lastly, you talk about Winston with no mention of “Wildlife Safari”? Get out from behind your desk and actually go see the places first before you regurgitate statistics.

  20. why with all the judgmental accusationswho are you to judge only god can judge me what are you arguing with me I’m not arguing with you

  21. This is the most ridiculous thing I have seen about best worst places to live. Brookings is 60 % retirement, of course there is a low employment rate. Every one is retired living the life. Density lol we are classifies as frontier on the tax roles with 27 miles to the next town.. How do you compare that to Tigard. Housing vacancies because there are a lot of second vacation homes and vacation rentals… What a miss representation… The good news is it may keep more people from flooding the area and affecting our density.

  22. First of all, Brookings does NOT have high crime. I mean, yes, it is quiet with not alot to do if you are used to big city life but it is a tourist town and retirement community. Many people here have two homes. For example, some retirees have a home here for summer time and then one in Arizona to go in the winter. I would like to ask where this “scientific” data come from? It is beautiful here and very slow pace but many people enjoy that way of living.

    1. Exactly… ironically they have another article about the safest cities in Oregon and Brookings is on it as well… so the author is clearly clueless and making up the content as they go along.

  23. All in All Sheridan’s actual Community Population is only 3300 as out of the 6100 you are stating 2800 are inmates housed at the Federal Prison. Unless you have spent a long period of time in Sheridan or lived there for a couple years or longer you really cannot give an opinion especially stating its on the Top 10 list of Worst Places To Live In Oregon. Every City in Every State has Good & Bad traits you Really Cannot Narrow Any Of Them Down To Being The Worst !!!

  24. I use to live in Roseburg and it sucked!! Totally nothing to do there very boring! No entertainment and if you wanted to go do anything fun you have to drive an hour or more away. Sorry to say but this is one of the worst places to visit or live.

  25. You guys are so out of touch with reality reality is Grants Pass number 8 has a very well-funded police force you’ve taken the crime weight from Josephine County you stupid f****** next thing as household income is $32,000 if you have a job in Josephine County 80% of the county drives to Medford for a job so when you really want to know what the annual income is you have to look at medford’s income

  26. All these towns you actually have to do work to succeed in not sit around on your ass all day like all the homeless in Portland. Also you clearly have never been to cave junction Oregon because if you have that would on the top of the list. Even people in CJ would agree. Just wish you could get your facts right

  27. McMinnville drives me crazy. The crime has increased over the past few years and the things the taxpayers pay for in McMinnville is downright ridiculous. I liked living in forest grove ok except that it’s expensive to live there. Most of the people who live in McMinnville bother me too particularly my moms neighbor who i call Mr scrudge. He always calls animal control on us to the point where I can’t take my dog to my parents place anymore. I live near amity which is more peaceful and quiet which I prefer compared to a community environment. City life isn’t for everyone that’s for sure. I could own 20 dogs where i live and none of my neighbor’s would notice. I like that I can do projects where I live and no one cares.

  28. I live in roseburg ater many years in crime infested san diego area (el cajon) i researched roseburg and to me all parts are outstanding, especially stewart park, the Y to name many more, whoever wrote this city is in my opinion an idiot and anyone who shares this article is trying to stir up fake crap…

  29. I see you have the “white trash” and the “whitest” cities which you specify looking at the white people per captia.
    That’s the only “color” used in your descriptions.
    Why is that?
    I have my own theories but what “reason” will you share with us?

  30. You want to see a trashy Town go to Green Oregon on char

    You want to see some trashy Street go to Green Oregon on chartres Street 95% of the houses are filled with white trash

  31. This so called study is obviously intended to generate controversy and keep people scanning through the ads. However I’d like to explain to the advertisers that this thing is a sad waste of your resources. I’d wager that the majority of hits you get from this is purely accidental. Maybe that is good enough for you, but you csn probably do better.
    The title of this scam is totally bogus. If the authors truely believe it is “scientific”, then they are really poor scientists. A better title might be 15 Oregon cities with highest unemployment rates.
    I believe beauty, crime, commute time, access to nature, overcrowding, friendly people, lower cost of living, and number of liberals should be included in any best/worst plaves to live study. Go back and do your homework. Most of all, survey the people who choose to live in the places and find out from them what is really important.

  32. I am not an Oregonian; I have never been one; I have driven through Oregon only twice but I am considering moving there, which is how I found these so-called stats on Oregon towns and Cities written by Roadsnacks. I have read most of their articles and based on their use of words and opinions, It didn’t take me long to realize that their views are bogus. Especially when I read their definition of “redneck” which was a crime in itself. There is only one definition of a redneck – “One who does outdoor work where the sun bares down on the back of their neck and turns the color reddish brown.” These are usually hard-labor workers and you can add any other characteristic you like but you will find that in most cases, a true red-neck will be the best friend you could ever have.

  33. I have been to all these places except Ontario and cant really disagee. The only thing I will say is if you add in traffic, polution and homeless population, I think Portland or Salem would rank higher. I am in those two cities quite often and the homeless people there are very aggresive. It is not a fun to dine or shop in a lot of areas

  34. To claim ‘unbiased’ and scientific are not terms that can be be used for best or worst places to live. Saying ‘good’ and ‘nice’ prove that. These words are not scientific nor unbiased. You have ranked the communities for what you value, someone else would rank them differently. We all have bias and if acting honestly and with integrity, we will learn to recognize and claim our bias instead of denying it. You do list what you used as comparisons but leave out the unbiased part, that’s false advertising. I’ve visited many of those ‘worst’ communities and given a chance, would enjoy living in them. I live in one that didn’t make the list: Boring, but then, what’s in a name!?

  35. It is amazing that some people want to spend lots of money on a home that probably wouldn’t stand up to some of the oldies just cause it’s thousands of dollars doesn’t make it great! Or well built! So some of us would prefer those towns there are things you can get there and can’t in those so called better places, some places you just have to look a little harder but to be honest a lot of those towns may not want to be bigger it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and I have lived in Denver, Colorado and Boise, Idaho been to Portland they are not all that great to much fast pace hard to get to know people hard to trust. Smaller places you learn about people we all look for different things so judging by home prices and crime rates are not high on my list, jobs are! The people come next .

  36. I am happy to report that I live in Madras and it is a very nice community. Please go ahead bad mouth our place. In fact, please stay away! It just means fewer of us get to enjoy its many great features.

    And by the way, isn’t it amazing how many of your places are small towns? Let me guess, you live in Portland, Eugene or Salem and the thought of actually having a life out in places that have scenery, good water and open spaces instead of the lovely crowded commutes, ugly buildings, scarce housing and liberal nutcases drive you to tears.

  37. Hello folks i live in sweet home oregon and i have noticed that theft here is bad because the dug addicts think they own the town and i have beem standing up for the mentally ill because the drug addicts target the mentally ill and the elderly.

  38. These thieves on my street 1862,1855,1854,ulex street sweethome oregon have it in their heads they can break into my home and never be caught well i already filed 4 complaints about them staking out my home and stalking me with the fbi in portland oregon.

  39. The problem with sweet home oregon is lack of education of its people and feelbthe mayor should make sure that everyone in their town should get proper education because i live on ulex street and these folks need to go back to school because they are really dumb.

  40. A play of a thief?
    Lets say you saw a person drop a 20 dollar bill in front of you.well you decide you want the money more well folks that still makes you a thief.just because you want something more than the other person does not give you the right to take it from them.i am vicar raymond eli and i am going prepare you for god’s judgement for the end is coming to the sinner.

  41. You can tell the people who been threating you i am willing to take a polygraph anytime any where i know about the drug addicts here in town against the town every chance they can.i am ordained by the universal life church you call them at any time if you wish the governor of oregon has my paperwork in her office here in oregon.

  42. honestly, this is kind of bs its not even that bad. most of these places are quite beautiful and nice. I dont know what there think is so bad.

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