Article Table Of Contents
Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Salem.
So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Salem 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Salem area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Salem proper, although Sublimity certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Salem are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..
We examined the 29 biggest suburbs of Salem to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Oregon lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Salem in terms of quality of life.
What's the worst suburb of Salem? Willamina ranks as the worst suburb of Salem for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Salem that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Salem too.
Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.
For more Oregon reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Salem Suburbs To Live For 2022
We'll get the ball rolling with Willamina, the absolute worst place to live around Salem according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Willamina beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Salem area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks worst when it comes to home values.
But hey, at least it's cheap to live there. But there's a reason for that... it's Willamina.
You won't feel bad about not having a great income for the area, there aren't a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $49,050 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.7% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $191,000 (lowest)
More on Willamina: Data
Welcome to Lebanon. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 27.7 miles to Salem. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $45,215 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Salem suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Sheridan on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that's an understatement.
In terms of numbers, it's in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school drop out rate is poor compared to other Salem suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in Woodburn, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Salem suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 23rd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Salem. Remember, we looked at 29 cities for this study.
Woodburn is about 17.4 miles to downtown.
Mount Angel has the distinction of being a Salem suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Mount Angel has the 12th lowest home values in the metro Salem area, where the median price is $257,000. To put that into perspective, in Sublimity, the median income is $101,458, which is the best in the area.
Mount Angel has an unemployment rate of 4.65% which ranks 16th worst.
Jefferson has 3,348 residents that probably know it's a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you've ever been there, you don't need to look at the data.)
Incomes are towards the bottom and the poverty rate sits at 7.968843618933493%.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $66,208 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.7% (highest)
Median Home Value: $216,500 (4th lowest)
More on Jefferson: Data
Ah, Albany. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Salem.
It's the place with the 6th most out of work residents in the Salem metro area (7.23%).
McMinnville is a city about 21.5 miles from Salem, but Salem probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.
You'd be hard pressed to find a worse place to live. McMinnville has the 9th most uninsured people, 5th worst incomes, and has the 22nd highest unemployment rate (3.21%) in the entire Salem metro area.
Homes only cost $282,000 for a reason. That's cheap for Salem standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Salem, then Independence might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Salem suburb.
About 6.36% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Salem suburbs to call home is Monmouth.
Located 11.2 miles outside the city, Monmouths is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 2highest unemployment rate (3.42%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Salem for 2022
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 threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2016-2020, this is the criteria we used:
- High unemployment rate
- Low median household incomes
- Low population density (no things to do)
- Low home values
- A lot of high school drop outs
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Salem.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 29 suburbs to evaluate around Salem.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 29 in each category, where 1 was the "worst".
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index the "Worst Suburb near Salem." We're lookin' at you, Willamina. You can download the data here.
Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.
Summary: The areas around Salem where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022
Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Salem with Willamina casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Salem aren't all bad. Sublimity takes the cake as the best place to live around Salem.
For more Oregon reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Oregon
- Richest Cities In Oregon
- Safest Places In Oregon
- Worst Places To Live In Oregon
Detailed List Of The Worst Salem Suburbs