THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Oregon For 2020


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

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in Oregon.

Oregon is best known for its forests, mountains, farms, and beaches.

The Beaver State also has some of the best cities to call home.

The love the residents have for their state is evident on every license plate. "We love Dreamers," "Things Look Different Here," and "Pacific Wonderland," are just a few of the bold statements Oregonians boast about their state on a daily basis. Who wouldn't be in love in with a state where you can ski and surf both n the same day.

Oregon has every type of city for every type of person. Hip millennial cities like Portland, hippie tree huggin' cities like Bend, and coastal cities like Coos Bay are great places to find work, raise families, and just plain enjoy life.

And if that doesn't seal the deal, check out our stories, Best States to Raise a Family and Best States to Retire: Oregon crushes the competition.

Whether you are an Oregon State Beaver fan, or an Oregon Ducks fan, or just a fan of Oregon's 0% sales tax, there is a city in Oregon for you. How did we determine the best places to live in Oregon? Grab a chunk of Tillamook cheese and a Kriek from Cascade Brewing and read on.

Oregon cities are known for their quirky, avant-garde culture, iconic coffee shops, local flare, and farm to table restaurants. And, don't get us started on their gold star recycling programs and cutting edge transportation.

Needless to say, it was very difficult to narrow down 72 of Oregon's best places to live to just ten.

What city is the best place to live in Oregon for 2020? Well according to the US Census and FBI data we crunched, Lake Oswego is the best place to live in Oregon if you care about home values, low crime, and a high quality of life.

We also looked at facts like low unemployment rates, education, and available housing to individually analyze the cities. Below are the top ten best places to live in Oregon based on our calculations.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Oregon reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Oregon For 2020

Lake Oswego, OR

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 38,705
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $603,800 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (4th best)
More on Lake Oswego: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Well, I guess technically 3.2% of Lake Oswego residents who want to have a job can't find one, so not everyone has a job, but it's the 4th 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 (4th) and median income ($100,461).

West Linn, OR

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 26,511
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $465,000 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (14th best)
More on West Linn: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Who doesn't want to live inWest Linn? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.

Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 4.1%.

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

Sherwood, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 19,337
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $388,800 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (2nd best)
More on Sherwood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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 $388,800 and households make $103,592 which is good for 3rd 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.

Milwaukie, OR

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 20,955
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $291,300 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (16th best)
More on Milwaukie: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Things can't get much better than in the town of Milwaukie. The crime is the 6th lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Milwaukie make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.

The median home costs a cool $291,300 and households make $63,421 which is good for 18th in Oregon.

Tualatin, OR

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 27,338
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $397,300 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (19th best)
More on Tualatin: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Tualatin consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. There aren't any surprises here. Which probably adds credibility to our data, right?

Let's see why Tualatin ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Tualatin are the 6th most expensive in the state of Oregon, with the average home worth a whopping $397,300. We're not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Tualatin if they can afford it.

Other numbers that stand out: Tualatin residents have the 5th highest income in the state, and the 25th lowest crime numbers in Oregon.

Scappoose, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 7,125
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $273,800 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (28th best)
More on Scappoose: Real Estate | Data | Photos

In Scappoose, everyone loves to call Scappoose home! The median home value is the 23rd highest in Oregon.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 28th lowest in the state and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Beaver State.

Tigard, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 52,368
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $375,100 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (23rd best)
More on Tigard: Real Estate | Data | Photos

We wouldn't be surprised to see CNN call Tigard 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 Tigard.

Bend, OR

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 90,500
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $363,200 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (20th best)
More on Bend: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's A LOT of demand to live in Bend.

Bend ranked impressively high for its crime rate (18th overall) and its short commute times (16th).

We think that's worth the price of admission.

Canby, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 17,527
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $298,000 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (12th best)
More on Canby: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Taking its place as the 9th 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 4.0% 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).

Hillsboro, OR

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 104,730
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $315,100 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (24th best)
More on Hillsboro: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hillsboro has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Oregon. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Hillsboro is a real gem.

With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Hillsboro residents to work is significantly higher than average.

Mapping The Best And Worst 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 166,756 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 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 72 cities, 107 towns, and 123 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Oregon have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 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.

How We Calculated The Best Cities 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 72, 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
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Oregon? That would be Lake Oswego.

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.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living 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 the best place to live in Oregon for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Oregon

  1. Banks (Pop. 1,688)
  2. Jacksonville (Pop. 2,845)
  3. King City (Pop. 3,599)
  4. Eagle Crest (Pop. 1,630)
  5. Stafford (Pop. 1,945)
  6. Sublimity (Pop. 2,845)
  7. North Plains (Pop. 2,072)
  8. Yamhill (Pop. 1,174)
  9. Durham (Pop. 1,417)
  10. Dundee (Pop. 3,203)

Best Small Towns To Live In Oregon

  1. Rivergrove (Pop. 438)
  2. Cloverdale (Pop. 297)
  3. Tetherow (Pop. 349)
  4. Tumalo (Pop. 602)
  5. St. Paul (Pop. 389)
  6. Black Butte Ranch (Pop. 343)
  7. Neskowin (Pop. 177)
  8. Riverside (Pop. 152)
  9. Bayside Gardens (Pop. 662)
  10. Adair Village (Pop. 933)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Oregon according to the data:

  1. Madras (Pop. 6,674)
  2. Prineville (Pop. 9,748)
  3. Ontario (Pop. 10,997)

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Oregon?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Lake Oswego 38,705 3.2% $603,800
2 West Linn 26,511 4.1% $465,000
3 Sherwood 19,337 3.0% $388,800
4 Milwaukie 20,955 4.5% $291,300
5 Tualatin 27,338 4.5% $397,300
6 Scappoose 7,125 5.3% $273,800
7 Tigard 52,368 5.0% $375,100
8 Bend 90,500 4.8% $363,200
9 Canby 17,527 4.0% $298,000
10 Hillsboro 104,730 5.1% $315,100

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

21 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Oregon For 2020

  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.

  9. Having spent 30 years in Oregon… Boy, you have got to be out of your ducking mind with this list. Incredible.

  10. “…if you drive slightly South of Tillamook to Astoria…”

    When did Astoria migrate South[sic] of Tillamook?

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