Best Portland Suburbs To Live For 2020

We analyzed over 37 places around Portland to identify the most in demand places to live.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best Portland suburbs.

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Big city living isn't for everyone--but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There's the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There's traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing--pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you're looking at.

But that's where the suburbs come in--they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

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

What's the best suburb of Portland? Sherwood ranks as the best suburb of Portland for 2020 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Sherwood, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 Portland 'burbs better than the rest--but first, a bit about our methodology.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.
Or feel free to check out some more reading about Oregon:

The 10 Best Portland Suburbs To Live For 2020

Sherwood, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,337
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $103,592
Unemployment Rate: 3.0%
Poverty Rate: 2.7%
More on Sherwood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sherwood is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Portland area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Sherwood."

Everyone here is rich; families average $103,592 a year, which is the 4th highest in the Portland region. And only 2.95% are out of work. Homes average more than $388,800 each.

Lake Oswego, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 38,705
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $100,461
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
Poverty Rate: 4.5%
More on Lake Oswego: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lake Oswego is the second best 'burb we looked at near Portland for 2020.

It ranks 5th for incomes in the area and only 3.03% of residents lack insurance, good for 6th best.

West Linn, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 26,511
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $104,061
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 5.0%
More on West Linn: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in West Linn, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Portland metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in West Linn.

Happy Valley, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,471
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $124,968
Unemployment Rate: 2.7%
Poverty Rate: 3.2%
More on Happy Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Happy Valley ranks as the 4th best suburb of Portland for 2020.

You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Happy Valley and the schools are some of the best around.

Ridgefield, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,178
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $95,859
Unemployment Rate: 1.5%
Poverty Rate: 3.3%
More on Ridgefield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Ridgefield.

Ridgefield gets kudos for having the 9th most expensive homes in the Portland area, where houses sell for an average of $369,700. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Camas, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 22,615
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Income: $106,513
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Poverty Rate: 3.8%
More on Camas: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Camas is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here's why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 4.03% which is 13th best in the area.

According to online reports, Camas is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Portland area, meaning you need to get in soon.

North Plains, OR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,427
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Income: $84,737
Unemployment Rate: 2.7%
Poverty Rate: 3.6%
More on North Plains: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to North Plains.

North Plains schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it's only 17.2 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

8. OregonOregon Location In Wisconsin

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,215
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Income: $80,385
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
Poverty Rate: 4.4%
More on Oregon: Real Estate

Oregon is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 1.98% of people lack insurance, good for 1st in the area.

Washougal, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,484
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Income: $87,283
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
Poverty Rate: 7.6%
More on Washougal: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Washougal?'


It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it's really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

La Center, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,172
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Income: $90,278
Unemployment Rate: 5.0%
Poverty Rate: 4.5%
More on La Center: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2020 is La Center.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It's far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Portland for 2020

Figuring out the best suburbs around Portland was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data for 2014-2018 to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Portland.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 36 suburbs to evaluate around Portland.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 36 in each category, where 1 was the "best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the "Best Suburb near Portland." We're lookin' at you, Sherwood. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Welcome to the Best Portland 'Burbs of 2020

We said it once and we'll say it again--life in the big city isn't for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you're hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Portland, but don't want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Portland Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Sherwood, OR 19,337 $103,592
2 Lake Oswego, OR 38,705 $100,461
3 West Linn, OR 26,511 $104,061
4 Happy Valley, OR 19,471 $124,968
5 Ridgefield, OR 7,178 $95,859
6 Camas, OR 22,615 $106,513
7 North Plains, OR 2,427 $84,737
8 Oregon, OR 10,215 $80,385
9 Washougal, OR 15,484 $87,283
10 La Center, OR 3,172 $90,278
11 Dundee, OR 3,219 $77,656
12 Tualatin, OR 27,338 $81,118
13 Wilsonville, OR 23,418 $69,043
14 Tigard, OR 52,368 $75,795
15 Scappoose, OR 7,125 $79,401
16 Milwaukie, OR 20,955 $63,421
17 Canby, OR 17,527 $66,433
18 Fairview, OR 9,303 $64,656
19 Hillsboro, OR 104,730 $78,144
20 Sandy, OR 10,834 $64,296
21 Battle Ground, OR 19,932 $70,774
22 Beaverton, OR 97,012 $68,586
23 Gladstone, OR 12,045 $61,045
24 Troutdale, OR 16,559 $72,188
25 Estacada, OR 3,270 $60,893
26 Molalla, OR 9,082 $61,185
27 Cornelius, OR 12,575 $62,786
28 Newberg, OR 23,167 $56,599
29 Vancouver, OR 178,413 $58,865
30 Forest Grove, OR 23,923 $59,902
31 Gresham, OR 110,770 $52,303
32 Hubbard, OR 3,399 $56,184
33 Woodland, OR 5,912 $61,818
34 St. Helens, OR 13,446 $48,311
35 Woodburn, OR 25,417 $46,690
36 Columbia, OR 10,389 $39,019

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.