These Are The 10 Worst Salem Suburbs For 2018


We used science and data to determine which Salem suburbs are the real pits.

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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 Wilsonville certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Salem are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

We examined the 16 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.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Salem for 2018:

  1. Stayton (Photos)
  2. Sheridan (Photos)
  3. Woodburn (Photos)
  4. Lebanon (Photos)
  5. Independence (Photos)
  6. Mcminnville (Photos)
  7. Monmouth (Photos)
  8. Albany (Photos)
  9. Dallas (Photos)
  10. Newberg (Photos)

Read on to see how we determined the places around Salem that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.

Or, if you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in Oregon check out the best places in Oregon overall or the worst.

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:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Salem for 2018

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, 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 6,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 16 suburbs to evaluate around Salem.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 16 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, Stayton.

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.

1. Stayton

Stayton, Oregon

Population: 7,875
Unemployment Rate: 13.1%
Median Home Price: $195,700
Median Income: $42,178
More on Stayton: Data | Jobs

We’ll get the ball rolling with Stayton, the absolute worst place to live around Salem according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Stayton beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 4th worst in the Salem area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 7th 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 Stayton.

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.

2. Sheridan

Sheridan, Oregon

Population: 6,054
Unemployment Rate: 15.8%
Median Home Price: $153,000
Median Income: $40,882
More on Sheridan: Data | Jobs

Welcome to Sheridan. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 21.7 miles to Salem. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $40,882 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.

3. Woodburn

Woodburn, Oregon

Source: Public domain

Population: 24,765
Unemployment Rate: 9.6%
Median Home Price: $157,900
Median Income: $44,228
More on Woodburn: Data | Jobs

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Salem suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Woodburn 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.

4. Lebanon

Lebanon, Oregon

Source: Public domain

Population: 16,162
Unemployment Rate: 8.8%
Median Home Price: $143,100
Median Income: $37,201
More on Lebanon: Data | Jobs

If you live in Lebanon, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest Salem suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 8th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Salem. Remember, we looked at 16 cities for this study.

Lebanon is about 27.7 miles to downtown.

5. Independence

Independence, Oregon

Population: 8,982
Unemployment Rate: 11.8%
Median Home Price: $150,300
Median Income: $42,746
More on Independence: Data | Jobs

Independence has the distinction of being a Salem suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Independence has the 2nd lowest home values in the metro Salem area, where the median price is $150,300. To put that into perspective, in Wilsonville, the median income is $63,097, which is the best in the area.

Independence has an unemployment rate of 11.8% which ranks 3rd worst.

6. Mcminnville

Mcminnville, Oregon

Population: 33,724
Unemployment Rate: 10.3%
Median Home Price: $200,800
Median Income: $47,460
More on McMinnville: Data | Jobs

McMinnville has 33,724 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 19.8%.

7. Monmouth

Monmouth, Oregon

Population: 9,919
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Median Home Price: $198,100
Median Income: $35,295
More on Monmouth: Data | Jobs

Ah, Monmouth. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Salem.

It’s the place with the 12th most out of work residents in the Salem metro area (6.8%).

8. Albany

Albany, Oregon

Population: 51,919
Unemployment Rate: 10.1%
Median Home Price: $179,900
Median Income: $50,135
More on Albany: Data | Jobs

Albany is a city about 20.8 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. Albany has the 12th most uninsured people, 9th worst incomes, and has the 6th highest unemployment rate (10.1%) in the entire Salem metro area.

Homes only cost $179,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Salem standards.

9. Dallas

Dallas, Oregon

Population: 15,175
Unemployment Rate: 11.2%
Median Home Price: $179,400
Median Income: $51,349
More on Dallas: Data | Jobs

If you absolutely have to live near Salem, then Dallas might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Salem suburb.

About 11.2% of residents are out of work.

10. Newberg

Newberg, Oregon

Population: 22,749
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Median Home Price: $228,000
Median Income: $53,075
More on Newberg: Data | Jobs

Rounding out the ten worst Salem suburbs to call home is Newberg.

Located 26.6 miles outside the city, Newbergs is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 14th highest unemployment rate (6.6%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Salem where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Salem with Stayton casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Salem aren’t all bad. Wilsonville takes the cake as the best place to live around Salem.

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Salem Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Stayton 7,875 13.1% $195,700 $42,178
2 Sheridan 6,054 15.8% $153,000 $40,882
3 Woodburn 24,765 9.6% $157,900 $44,228
4 Lebanon 16,162 8.8% $143,100 $37,201
5 Independence 8,982 11.8% $150,300 $42,746
6 Mcminnville 33,724 10.3% $200,800 $47,460
7 Monmouth 9,919 6.8% $198,100 $35,295
8 Albany 51,919 10.1% $179,900 $50,135
9 Dallas 15,175 11.2% $179,400 $51,349
10 Newberg 22,749 6.6% $228,000 $53,075
11 Corvallis 55,766 8.1% $276,900 $43,922
12 Keizer 37,497 8.2% $203,600 $56,832
13 Molalla 8,867 6.5% $207,200 $55,082
14 Silverton 9,585 8.3% $230,500 $59,904
15 Canby 17,218 5.4% $256,900 $62,035
16 Wilsonville 21,814 6.8% $349,800 $63,097

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