Where are the best places in the state of Oregon?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Beaver State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Oregon.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 73 places in Oregon, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Lake Oswego (Photos | Homes)
- Sherwood (Photos | Homes)
- Brookings (Photos | Homes)
- Sandy (Photos | Homes)
- Milwaukie (Photos | Homes)
- Tualatin (Photos | Homes)
- Canby (Photos | Homes)
- Silverton (Photos | Homes)
- Bend (Photos | Homes)
- Beaverton (Photos | Homes)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Oregon.
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Salem with a population of 161,975 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,100
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,100
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 73 cities, 108 towns, and 170 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,100 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In Oregon
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Oregon across a number of criteria from one to 73, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Oregon”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Oregon.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Lake Oswego at the end of the cul-de-sac.
1. Lake Oswego
Population: 38,065Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Values: $508,500 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (11th best)
More on Lake Oswego: Real Estate | Data
Well, I guess technically 6.3% of Lake Oswego residents who want to have a job can’t find one, so not everyone has a job, but it’s the 12th closest of any city in Oregon.
You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.
In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Lake Oswego also ranked well for crime (6th) and median income ($89,979).
Population: 18,965Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Values: $313,000 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (2nd best)
More on Sherwood: Real Estate | Data
You can take a stroll down to Old Town for a business meeting and then over to one of the many parks around town.
The median home costs a cool $313,000 and households make $86,111 which is good for 4th in Oregon.
As an aside, while putting together the research for this report, we were pretty sure we would see Sherwood in the top ten, and we were right.
Population: 6,390Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 8)
Home Values: $264,400 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (23rd best)
More on Brookings: Real Estate | Data
Brookings has it made. In fact, according to science, it’s one of the best places to live in the state of Oregon.
The unemployment rate is the 24th lowest in the state at 7.3%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $40,316, and the average cost of a home is $264,400. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.
We wouldn’t be surprised if more and more publications call Brookings one of America’s gems.
Population: 10,369Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 14)
Home Values: $219,600 (29th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (16th best)
More on Sandy: Real Estate | Data
Sandy’s unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the state and the median income is the 13th highest, making Sandy a great place to work and settle down if you’re look for a stable job with a stable income.
Additionally, Sandy has above average education and low crime, making this place a safe place to live.
Population: 20,643Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 9)
Home Values: $245,000 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (22nd best)
More on Milwaukie: Real Estate | Data
The Town of Milwaukie might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.
The crime rate in Milwaukie isn’t amazing, but it’s far below the state average. The homes are valued at $245,000 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Oregon.
If Milwaukie can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (7.2% is the 22nd highest in the state.
Population: 27,024Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Values: $337,100 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (10th best)
More on Tualatin: Real Estate | Data
Tualatin takes 6th place on our list of best places in Oregon for 2018 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (10th overall) and things to do.
Tualatin is no stranger to top ten lists, being named one of the best places to live in the country by multiple outlets over the past ten years.And that tends to happen when home prices hit $337,100 at the median.
Population: 17,218Rank Last Year: 26 (Up 19)
Home Values: $256,900 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (4th best)
More on Canby: Real Estate | Data
Taking its place as the 7th best place in Oregon is Canby. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of Oregon.
It’s considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too. Which means you can’t be bored here.
An unemployment rate of only 5.4% helps thing too.
One of Canby’s main attractions is the Clackamas County Fairgrounds, where Clackamas County hosts its annual Fair and Rodeo (Seems fitting to me that Clackamas County has an annual rodeo).
Population: 9,585Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 4)
Home Values: $230,500 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (35th best)
More on Silverton: Real Estate | Data
Silverton ranks 8th on our list of best places to live in Oregon thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.
Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Oregon that we examined.
People have been flocking to Silverton over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.
Population: 84,416Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Home Values: $295,300 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (6th best)
More on Bend: Real Estate | Data
We wouldn’t be surprised to see CNN call Bend one of the best places to live in the United States. Not only do the residents all make great livings, there’s essentially no crime in the entire city. And the residents are very involved in the community.
They can’t build homes fast enough here as it seems everyone wants a piece of Bend.
Population: 94,865Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 13)
Home Values: $303,500 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (31st best)
More on Beaverton: Real Estate | Data
We think the motto in Beaverton should be “Everything is greater in Beaverton,” and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.
Beaverton has some of the highest home values in Oregon, and they’re going up fast. Additionally, Beaverton only has 13.4% of its residents living in poverty.
Crime is also well below the state average, making Beaverton a solid option for people who value safety. At least those who can afford it.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best In Oregon
If you’re looking at areas in Oregon with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Lake Oswego made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Oregon
- Banks (Pop. 1,688)
- Jacksonville (Pop. 2,845)
- King City (Pop. 3,599)
- Eagle Crest (Pop. 1,630)
- Stafford (Pop. 1,945)
- Sublimity (Pop. 2,845)
- North Plains (Pop. 2,072)
- Yamhill (Pop. 1,174)
- Durham (Pop. 1,417)
- Dundee (Pop. 3,203)
Best Small Towns To Live In Oregon
- Beatty (Pop. 0)
- West Scio (Pop. 139)
- Beaver (Pop. 170)
- Butteville (Pop. 159)
- Cloverdale (Pop. 297)
- Rivergrove (Pop. 438)
- Tumalo (Pop. 602)
- Tetherow (Pop. 349)
- Greenhorn (Pop. 11)
- Bellfountain (Pop. 93)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Oregon:
- Madras (Pop. 6,504)
- Ontario (Pop. 11,045)
- Prineville (Pop. 9,419)
For more Oregon reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon
- These Are The 10 Bona Fide Happiest Cities In Oregon
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Oregon