The 10 Worst Salem Suburbs For 2023

We used data and Friday Night Science to identify the worst suburbs of Salem for 2023. The worst Salem suburbs are Willamina and Lebanon.

The suburbs of Salem call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Salem to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

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 Saturday Night Science to determine which Salem ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Salem area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Salem proper, although Lafayette 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.

The 10 worst suburbs around Salem for 2023

  1. Willamina
  2. Lebanon
  3. Woodburn
  4. Dayton
  5. Sheridan
  6. Mount Angel
  7. Jefferson
  8. Gervais
  9. Albany
  10. Monmouth

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Salem? Willamina ranks as the worst suburb of Salem for 2023 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.

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.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

For more Oregon reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Salem Suburbs To Live For 2023

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,511
Median Income: $49,773 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $194,500 (lowest)
More on Willamina:

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 2nd 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.

Lebanon, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,150
Median Income: $48,889 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $221,900 (3rd lowest)
More on Lebanon:

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 $48,889 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Woodburn, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,877
Median Income: $54,330 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $241,300 (5th lowest)
More on Woodburn:

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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Salem suburbs.

But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.

Dayton, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,672
Median Income: $68,287 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (highest)
Median Home Value: $247,600 (6th lowest)
More on Dayton:

If you live in Dayton, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 14th lowest Salem suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Salem. Remember, we looked at 29 cities for this study.

Dayton is about 20.6 miles to downtown.

Sheridan, OR

Source: Wikipedia User M.O. Stevens | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,826
Median Income: $53,277 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $215,100 (2nd lowest)
More on Sheridan:

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

All snarkiness aside, Sheridan has the 2nd lowest home values in the metro Salem area, where the median price is $215,100. The median income is $109,263.

Sheridan has an unemployment rate of 7.07% which ranks 8th worst.

Mount Angel, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,397
Median Income: $56,480 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $301,300 (15th lowest)
More on Mount Angel:

Mount Angel has 3,397 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 11.294765840220384%.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,329
Median Income: $75,542 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.6% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $261,200 (9th lowest)
More on Jefferson:

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

It’s the place with the 2nd most out of work residents in the Salem metro area (10.59%).

Gervais, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,585
Median Income: $79,375 (2lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $249,800 (7th lowest)
More on Gervais:

Gervais is a city about 14.1 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. Gervais has the 2nd most uninsured people, 2worst incomes, and has the 5th highest unemployment rate (7.82%) in the entire Salem metro area.

Homes only cost $249,800 for a reason. That’s cheap for Salem standards.

Albany, OR

Source: Wikipedia User M.O. Stevens | CC BY 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 55,776
Median Income: $65,587 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $271,100 (10th lowest)
More on Albany:

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

About 7.51% of residents are out of work.

Monmouth, OR

Source: Wikipedia User Finetooth | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,735
Median Income: $54,310 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (2highest)
Median Home Value: $279,700 (13th lowest)
More on Monmouth:

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 (3.97%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Salem for 2023

To figure out how bad a Salem suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

It’s Saturday Night Science.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, 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 dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Salem.

We also limited the analysis to places with 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 looking at you, Willamina.

We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Salem.

Summary: The areas around Salem where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023

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. Lafayette takes the cake as the best place to live around Salem.

  • Lafayette
  • Millersburg
  • Sublimity

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Salem Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Willamina 2,511 $49,773 $194,500
2 Lebanon 18,150 $48,889 $221,900
3 Woodburn 25,877 $54,330 $241,300
4 Dayton 2,672 $68,287 $247,600
5 Sheridan 4,826 $53,277 $215,100
6 Mount Angel 3,397 $56,480 $301,300
7 Jefferson 3,329 $75,542 $261,200
8 Gervais 2,585 $79,375 $249,800
9 Albany 55,776 $65,587 $271,100
10 Monmouth 10,735 $54,310 $279,700
11 Mcminnville 34,224 $58,692 $311,500
12 Dallas 16,663 $60,511 $276,800
13 Aumsville 4,193 $67,363 $240,100
14 Independence 9,850 $65,019 $260,400
15 Stayton 8,199 $65,813 $310,700
16 Corvallis 59,407 $58,315 $387,200
17 Carlton 2,219 $91,367 $339,200
18 Hubbard 3,422 $80,686 $314,100
19 Keizer 39,119 $68,460 $300,700
20 Silverton 10,402 $69,612 $344,000
21 Wilsonville 25,887 $78,508 $464,100
22 Molalla 10,060 $74,718 $333,900
23 Turner 2,306 $89,648 $332,500
24 Canby 18,078 $83,948 $385,700
25 Dundee 3,237 $95,817 $376,600
26 Newberg 25,108 $81,210 $357,900
27 Sublimity 2,940 $75,948 $363,600
28 Millersburg 2,813 $109,263 $405,300
29 Lafayette 4,369 $84,159 $278,300
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

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