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 5,100 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 Madras.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Oregon reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Oregon
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Oregon
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Oregon
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon For 2019
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Oregon, Madras came in 1st. Let’s see why.
When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Oregon residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Oregon, you can see some really big differences. In Madras, the number of people out of work is 13.4%
In Oregon, that’s the 2nd highest in the state.
The residents in Madras have the 6th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Madras average $35,485 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $119,200 on average. That’s the 3rd lowest in the state.
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.
Seaside needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Seaside. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Seaside. Of the 72 cities considered in this ranking, Seaside had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Seaside have Oregon’s 54th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 10th and 4th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of “Worst City in Oregon.”
If you know anyone in Seaside, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
Cottage Grove ranks as the 4th worst city on this list.
Cottage Grove has the 14th highest crime rate in Oregon, where residents have a 1 in 19.1 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 17th cheapest in the state ($169,600), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.
Coos Bay, OR needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 10.0%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 1st highest in the state. You have a 1 in 12.9 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
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 13.6% unemployment rate.
Additionally, 22.6% of the population lives below the poverty line.
There’s probably not many people in Oregon that would be surprised to see Klamath Falls on this list. In fact, if Klamath Falls wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Klamath Falls has the 31st worst crime rate in Oregon. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 106 violent crimes in Klamath Falls in 2019. Residents here had a 1 in 199 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Klamath Falls are the 7th cheapest in the state ($148,900), the unemployment rate is the 3rd highest (11.5%), and the annual household income is 14th lowest in Oregon, at $38,847. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
Medford takes the 8th worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons — below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.
But what gives Medford its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 2nd worst in the whole state.
Umatilla is a really small, densely populated place in Oregon.
The unemployment rate here is sky high at 9.5%, and income levels are the 13th lowest in Oregon. Homes sell for an average of $114,000.
If you’re trying to have some sort of professional career in Oregon, this is one of the last places you would want to live.
Sure, it’s in a beautiful area, and there’s lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you’re measuring desirability, it’s the 10th worst in Oregon.
Gresham residents had a 1 in 29.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Gresham is through the roof, as more than 8.0% of the population can’t get a job. At least their mortgages aren’t too high; at $242,800, Gresham has the 46th-lowest home prices in the state of Oregon.
How we determined the worst places to live in Oregon for 2019
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 — Madras. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Oregon.
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, Madras ranks as the worst city to live in Oregon for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Oregon:
- Milwaukie (Pop. 20,627)
- Sherwood (Pop. 19,107)
- Lake Oswego (Pop. 38,212)
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