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:
- Madras (Photos)
- Prineville (Photos)
- Sweet Home (Photos)
- Cottage Grove (Photos)
- Coos Bay (Photos)
- Klamath Falls (Photos)
- Umatilla (Photos)
- Ontario (Photos)
- Woodburn (Photos)
- Springfield (Photos)
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
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.
It’s not even close. Madras is the worst place in the state of Oregon that you can live in, according to science. Let’s see why.
Madras’s residents are unemployed at a 13.4% clip, which is the 2nd highest in the state. Homes are the 3rd cheapest in Oregon here, and at $119,200, that shows there’s not a lot of demand to live here.
Plus, crime is the 30th highest in the state of Oregon in Madras. In Madras, there were 26 violent crimes in 2019. That means people who live here have a 1 in 252 chance of being raped, attacked or murdered. For Oregon, that’s off the charts high.
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.
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.
Cottage Grove, where there’s absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 4th worst city in Oregon.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, Cottage Grove has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 10.6%, and families earn around $40,436 a year. It’s also the 14th highest in Oregon for crime, where 1 in 19.1 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
Would you believe that Coos Bay is the 1st most dangerous place in Oregon? That’s the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 12.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within Coos Bay city limits.
In addition, every year, you have a 1 in 267 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Coos Bay. That means raped, attacked or killed. Again, for Oregon, that’s just unacceptable.
Beyond the crime numbers, Coos Bay’s unemployment rate is the 8th highest in Oregon (10.0%), and homes are the 16th cheapest in the state ($169,300). Say what you want about ‘cheap living’, the fact is homes are priced on demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Coos Bay.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Oregon, Klamath Falls ranks 6th worst. Let’s see why.
Here in Klamath Falls, crime is the 31st highest in the state, and 1 out of 30.4 residents was robbed here according to the latest FBI numbers.
That’s not the first place you think of making home, is it?
Additionally, you have a 1 in 199 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rapes, attacks or murders. That’s really high.
When you look at adult education in Oregon, the folks in Klamath Falls have the 24th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Klamath Falls undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 3rd highest in Oregon, at 11.5%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means Oregon has some hard workers.
Umatilla ranks as the 7th worst city on this list.
Umatilla has the 72nd highest crime rate in Oregon, where residents have a 1 in 196.4 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 2nd cheapest in the state ($114,000), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.
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.
If you’re looking to live in Oregon, Woodburn might not be the best choice as it places 9th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Beaver State for 2019.
The average family earns $47,042 a year out here, and 23.7% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 6.4% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it’s just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you’re in Woodburn, every year, you have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it’s an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it’s the 32nd most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Out of all the places to live in Oregon, Springfield ranks as the 10th worst — not something to brag about.
Springfield’s unemployment rate stands at 9.4%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $41,700 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 19th cheapest in the entire state at $175,000. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there’s not a lot of demand to live way out in Springfield. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 22nd worst in the state. You have a 1 in 24.7 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 359 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
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:
- Tualatin (Pop. 27,135)
- Sherwood (Pop. 19,107)
- Lake Oswego (Pop. 38,212)
For more Oregon reading, check out:
- 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Oregon
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Oregon
- 10 Safest Places In Oregon
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Oregon
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Oregon