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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.
For more Oregon reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon For 2020
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 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 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.
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 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.
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'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.
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.
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.
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
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:
- Sherwood (Pop. 19,337)
- West Linn (Pop. 26,511)
- Lake Oswego (Pop. 38,705)
For more Oregon reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Oregon?