These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Oregon

We analyzed over 350 places in Oregon to determine the cream of the crop.

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Ahh, Oregon.

To the untrained eye, it seems as if every town in the state would be a great place to live. What with Oregon being home to Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, and miles of Pacific Coast awesomeness.

But here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best place to live in Oregon.

After analyzing over 350 places in Oregon, we came up with this list as the best places in the Beaver State:

  1. Oak Hills
  2. Keizer
  3. Oatfield
  4. Sherwood
  5. West Linn
  6. Bethany
  7. Lake Oswego
  8. Aloha
  9. Canby
  10. Cedar Mill

Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Oregon.

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The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Portland with a population of 585,888 against Wamic 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 10,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 10,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This left us with 53 cities, 155 towns, and 154 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 10,000 people to truly be “the best”.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

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How We Calculated The Best Place To Live

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place across a number of criteria from one to 53, 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:

  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • Housing Vacancy Rate
  • Education (Expenditures per student and Student Teacher Ratio)
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Weather

Sources of criteria include the Census, the BLS, FBI Crime Data, and Sperling’s Best Places.

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.

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1. Oak Hills

Oak Hills’ win as the best place to live in Oregon is just another notch on this historic town’s belt.

And we mean that in the literal sense given that the National Register of Historic Places added Oak Hills to its list in 2013.

As a planned community with an HOA, Oak Hills maintains impeccable standards with a very strong sense of community.

It ranked as the densest city in Oregon according to census data and was in the top 10 for it’s low unemployment rate, high median income adjusted for cost of living, and low housing vacancy rate.

2. Keizer

Best Places To Live In Oregon


Keizer takes 2nd place on our list of best places to live in Oregon thanks to a community that prides itself on volunteerism and education.

Keizer is the only city in the top ten to rank highly for our education category (It tied for 7th). It ranked highly due to its low student per teacher ratio of 17.4, which beats the median of 19.6.

There’s also plenty to do in this densely populated city where you can take in a game at Volcanoes Stadium or watch the local high school english teacher break some pretty insane weightlifting records.

3. Oatfield

The Oatfield family would be proud to hear that the city bearing their name is one of the best places to live in Oregon.

Not to mention the fact that everyone wants to live here — Oatfield’s vacancy rate of 1.95%(!) is the tops of any city in our ranking.

The city also ranks highly for its lack of crime (6th overall) and adjusted median income (8th).

A safe place that’s still affordable even with the lowest vacancy rate in the state? Sign me up any day of the week.

4. Sherwood

Sherwood is a city that is a hop skip and a jump away from Portland.

It combines a low vacancy rate (2nd overall) with low unemployment (7th), high adjusted incomes (4th), and low crime (4th) to make it a heck of a place to live.

You can take a stroll down to Old Town for a business meeting and then over to one of the many parks around town.

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. 😉

5. West Linn

For a town that’s only 7.39 sq miles, West Linn boasts an impressive 600 acres of park land. That must have something to do with why it continuously shows up on lists for best places to live around the country.

That and the fact, according to our data, West Linn ranked as the 3rd safest city in Oregon with the 4th best unemployment.

Mix a ton of parks and walking trails without fear of getting your bike stolen and you’ve got a great place to live.

6. Bethany

Best Places To Live In Oregon

Source: Wikimedia

Bethany comes in 6th our list and adds to its list of recent headlines.

It ranked as the city with the highest adjusted median income ($72,548), turning Happy Valley into Sad Valley by beating it by a little over $2,000.

Bethany’s unadjusted median income of over $100,000 also places it as one of the highest earning cities in the country.

It takes a lot of hard work and determination to achieve that level of success as a community.

Mark us down as impressed.

7. Lake Oswego

Best Places To Live In Oregon

Source: Flickr user R.U.P.A.K – A.N.T.O ~~ Passing Time

Lake Oswego — where everyone has a job.

Well, I guess technically only 95.2% of Lake Oswego residents who want to have a job are currently employed, so it’s not everyone, but it’s the 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 (7th) and adjusted median income (10th).

8. Aloha

Best Places To Live In Oregon

Source: Flickr user aCey97078

Aloha came in at number 8 on our list due to it’s high density (2nd overall) and low unemployment (7th).

It also scored as one of the highest in our weather category among the cities in the top ten.

I guess the weather has to be pretty nice since the town’s name conjures ideas of Hawaii.

So aloha, Aloha.

(We’re sorry for making this pun Aloha. We know you’re probably feel like the kid named Mercedes who everyone calls “Benz”, but it’s the first time we got to make the pun, so we had to go for it.)

9. Canby

Best Places To Live In Oregon

Source: Flickr user ktkochan

Canby maintained solid rankings across the board for the categories we researched and excelled in the housing vacancy department (3rd overall) with a rate of only 2.52%.

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).

10. Cedar Mill

Best Places To Live In Oregon

Source: Wikimedia

Just cracking our top ten best places to live in Oregon is Cedar Mill.

Taking a similar route to the top ten as many others on this list, the city ranked highly for adjusted median income (5th), crime (8th), and unemployment (7th).

With a population of just over 15,000 it was one of the smaller in the top ten and its government website actually goes to pains to say that it’s a “community though not a city”.

But don’t listen to what they say people of Cedar Mill, you can be anything you want.

That’s A Wrap

There you have our set of the best places to live in Oregon. Oak Hills made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot.

We were kind of surprised not to see Portland in the top ten, but then again with that many hipsters, it takes a certain kind of person to brave its bearded walls.

Best Towns To Live In Oregon

  1. Maywood Park
  2. Odell
  3. Irrigon
  4. Bull Mountain
  5. Island City
  6. Umatilla
  7. Sublimity
  8. Rockcreek
  9. Cedar Hills (tie)
  10. Philomath (tie)

Best Small Towns To Live In Oregon

  1. Riverside
  2. Jeffers Gardens
  3. Barlow
  4. Wasco
  5. Lexington
  6. Idaville
  7. Imbler
  8. St. Paul
  9. Kirkpatrick
  10. Rivergrove

Best Places To Live In Oregon, Detailed

You can download our entire data set here.

City Population Best Place To Live Score Rank
Oak Hills 11005 15.0625 1
Keizer 36402 15.9375 2
Oatfield 14594 17.5625 3
Sherwood 18088 17.8125 4
West Linn 25158 18.875 5
Bethany 20505 19.0625 6
Lake Oswego 36813 19.3125 7
Aloha 50710 19.75 8
Canby 15770 21.25 9
Cedar Mill 15118 21.375 10
Hermiston 16650 22.0625 11
Tigard 48366 22.625 12
Beaverton 90254 22.6875 13
Milwaukie 20391 22.6875 13
Four Corners 16472 22.6875 13
Cornelius 11867 22.6875 13
Central Point 17078 23.3125 17
Newberg 22063 23.8125 18
Troutdale 15964 24.3125 19
Damascus 10529 24.375 20
Corvallis 54341 24.875 21
Tualatin 26106 25.125 22
Salem 154835 25.375 23
Altamont 19544 25.4375 24
Dallas 14632 25.5625 25
Gladstone 11570 26 26
Pendleton 16684 26.625 27
Eugene 156222 26.6875 28
Hayesville 18224 27.1875 29
La Grande 13027 27.3125 30
Happy Valley 14050 27.625 31
Portland 585888 27.75 32
Oak Grove 17262 27.75 32
Woodburn 23879 27.9375 34
Oregon City 31904 28.25 35
Gresham 105612 28.3125 36
Ashland 20186 28.375 37
Wilsonville 19262 28.625 38
Bend 77063 28.9375 39
The Dalles 13537 29.0625 40
Springfield 59347 29.125 41
Forest Grove 21245 30.5625 42
St. Helens 12807 31.0625 43
Albany 50239 31.25 44
Mcminnville 32092 32.0625 45
Lebanon 15500 33.125 46
Medford 75134 33.3125 47
Redmond 26186 33.3125 47
Ontario 11273 34.25 49
Klamath Falls 20943 35.3125 50
Roseburg 21542 35.875 51
Coos Bay 15938 37.5625 52
Grants Pass 34454 37.8125 53

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Facebook Discussion

15 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Oregon

  1. 9 of the 10 best places to live in Oregon are Portland area suburbs? Sure, let’s run with that. Attention people looking to move to Oregon – move to the Portland area and leave the rest of us alone. thanks.

  2. Any list that has Cornelius tied for 13th, while it’s FAR more livable neighbor Forest Grove is 42nd should be considered suspect, to say the least. And Ashland all the way down at 37th? This is what happens when a few numbers are used to determine the “best places to live”. lol

  3. This post made me laugh because it pretty much said “Portland” is the best city. No top ten. Just a top one.

    Clearly this person doesn’t know Oregon very well.

  4. Oak Hills is not an actual city – it’s Beaverton. West Linn, like Lake Oswego, are two of the most expensive places to live and the least racially diverse. And nothing more ignorant than making a stereotype about over a million people as hipsters.

    1. I agree with the majority; this list is a compilation of areas around Portland. And, not every one can afford housing in Lake Oswego and West Linn. The adjusted median income will be high in each. I would question the crime rate figure for all areas mentioned.

  5. Options are cool because they are not facts. Numbers are different. Crunch a number and you get a sum total, period. Peoples’ opinion on their town, city or community are just that. OPINIONS not facts. Keep that in mind before telling others of flaws, attitudes and degrading.

  6. Thanks for the refreshing fact-based approach and the work put in. Obviously that leaves out “likability”; but that is something which will be different for everybody anyway since it is based on one’s own perceptions and likes/dislikes. I just find it nice to have a ranking and – even better – the excel list with all the numbers based on some researchable statistics. This in combination with impressions from visits and looks at rental/property prices would probably make it easier finding a suitable place if you are from out of state and plan on moving and want/need to take a systematic approach to the decision.

  7. Perfect list, would love to follow every inch of it. I´m a wanderer myself and I could put quite a few check marks to some from these list and still willing t see more and more. So happy travelling to all of us!

  8. This is really false information and whoever is behind entering such is or must be known as White Trash. And has NEVER traveled or knows much about Oregon, Let it be known that many of the cities or towns they list is really part of a larger city. Like Four Corners is part of the city of Salem the Capitol of this Great State. I live in Keizer and have for years
    the city council votes many businesses from entering and the crime rate grows each year and as far as employment for higher paying jobs one has to drive a good distance to get a
    job that pays over $12.00 to $15.00 per hour even with a college education. These are the real facts.

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