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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.
When you're looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Madras is the 3rd worst place in the state of Oregon.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Madras is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Madras are the 4th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can't get much worse in Oregon.
Seaside, OR needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 8.5%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 10th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 19.7 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 13.8% unemployment rate.
Additionally, 21.4% of the population lives below the poverty line.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Oregon, Medford came in 6th. Let's see why.
The city has very bad crime (6th worst) and an employment rate that's nearly the highest for cities of its size 6.9%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
Woodburn ranks as the 7th worst city on this list.
Woodburn has the 2highest crime rate in Oregon, where residents have a 1 in 26.4 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 17th cheapest in the state ($179,400), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.
If you live in Cottage Grove, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 18th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Oregon. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 24.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 27 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 373 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 24th lowest salaries in Oregon At $47,316 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Things are starting to get progressively more 'modern' and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Oregon when we get to Klamath Falls. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 10.3% (which is really high), and the median income is $39,738. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren't a complete mess.
Redmond needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Redmond. That's not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Redmond. Of the 72 cities considered in this ranking, Redmond had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Redmond have Oregon's 40th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 30th and 23rd 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 Redmond, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
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:
- Best Places To Retire In Oregon
- Richest Cities In Oregon
- Safest Places In Oregon
- Best Cities For Singles In Oregon
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Oregon?