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 science and data, the city of Madras is the worst place you can live in the state of Oregon. Let’s see why.
Crime and no jobs. How does that sum it up? When you look at the numbers, you can see why Madras might be a bad place to live. Would you believe Madras has the 30th highest crime rate in Oregon? It does. You have a 1 in 28.2 chance of being robbed when you’re within Madras city limits each year.
Plus, Madras has the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the state at 13.4%.
And the home prices ($119,200) are the 3rd cheapest in the state. 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 Madras.
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 as it ranks as the 3rd worst city to live in Oregon for 2019.
Crime in Seaside is the 4th highest in the state, where 1 in 18.5 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Additionally, the income is almost dead last in Oregon.
If commute time is important, Seaside residents have the 56th longest commute of any residents on our list.
When you’re looking at science and data, Cottage Grove is the 4th worst place you can live in the state of Oregon. Let’s see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Oregon. Cottage Grove is the 14th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 19.1 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $169,600, which is the 17th lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Cottage Grove.
Income levels are just about $40,436, the 17th lowest in Oregon.
When you add it all up, Cottage Grove really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
Coos Bay’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.
Coos Bay has the 1st worst crime index of any place in Oregon, and has the 22nd lowest income.
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.
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 7th worst in Oregon.
Klamath Falls residents had a 1 in 30.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Klamath Falls is through the roof, as more than 11.5% of the population can’t get a job. At least their mortgages aren’t too high; at $148,900, Klamath Falls has the 7th-lowest home prices in the state of Oregon.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Oregon, Medford came in 8th. 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 Medford, the number of people out of work is 7.1%
In Oregon, that’s the 32nd highest in the state.
The residents in Medford have the 24th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Medford average $45,361 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 $229,200 on average. That’s the 42nd lowest in the state.
Umatilla ranks as the 9th-worst place in Oregon due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 34th-worst commute of any place in the state.
Out of all the places to live in Oregon, Gresham ranks as the 10th worst — not something to brag about.
Gresham’s unemployment rate stands at 8.0%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $50,675 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 46th cheapest in the entire state at $242,800. 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 Gresham. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 34th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 29.7 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 285 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
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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