The 10 Best College Towns In Oregon For 2020

Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our time ranking the best college towns in Oregon.
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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and Oregon is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in Oregon are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in Oregon for 2020.

The 10 Best College Towns In Oregon For 2020

  1. Corvallis, OR (Photos | Homes)
  2. McMinnville, OR (Photos | Homes)
  3. Monmouth, OR (Photos | Homes)
  4. Ashland, OR (Photos | Homes)
  5. Portland, OR (Photos | Homes)
  6. Eugene, OR (Photos | Homes)
  7. Forest Grove, OR (Photos | Homes)
  8. La Grande, OR (Photos | Homes)
  9. Newberg, OR (Photos | Homes)
  10. Wilsonville, OR (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Corvallis, McMinnville and Monmouth - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Corvallis ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Read on to find out more or for more on Oregon check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In Oregon For 2020

Corvallis, OR
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 57,213
% Undergrad Pop.: 24.1% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $1,020 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 694.7% (10th best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Corvallis: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Corvallis is a city in central western Oregon, United States. It is the county seat of Benton County and the principal city of the Corvallis, Oregon Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Benton County. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 54,462. Its population was estimated by the Portland Research Center to be 55,298 in 2013. Corvallis is the location of Oregon State University, a large Hewlett-Packard research campus, and Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.

Colleges: Oregon State University, Phagans Beauty College

Mcminnville, OR
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 33,662
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.6% (9th best)
Median Rent: $929 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 585.5% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Mcminnville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

McMinnville is the county seat and largest city of Yamhill County, Oregon, United States. According to Oregon Geographic Names, it was named by its founder, William T. Newby, an early immigrant on the Oregon Trail, for his hometown of McMinnville, Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 32,187.

Colleges: Linfield College-McMinnville Campus

Monmouth, OR
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 10,131
% Undergrad Pop.: 41.5% (1st best)
Median Rent: $860 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 612.1% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 1st best
More on Monmouth: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Monmouth ( is a city in Polk County in the U.S. state of Oregon. It was named for Monmouth, Illinois, the origin of its earliest settlers. The population has reached 9,534 as of the 2010 census and it is part of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Colleges: Western Oregon University

Ashland, OR
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 20,912
% Undergrad Pop.: 23.3% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $1,003 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 521.2% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 11th best
More on Ashland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ashland is a city in Jackson County, in the State of Oregon. It lies along Interstate 5 approximately 16 miles north of the California border and near the south end of the Rogue Valley. As of 2015, the city's population was approaching 21,000.

Colleges: Southern Oregon University

Portland, OR
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 639,387
% Undergrad Pop.: 3.7% (10th best)
Median Rent: $1,187 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 544.9% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 14th best
More on Portland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Portland is the largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Multnomah County. It is a major port in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The city covers 145 square miles and had an estimated population of 639,863 in 2016, making it the 26th most populous city in the United States, and the second-most populous in the Pacific Northwest. Approximately 2,424,955 people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area, making it the 25th most populous MSA in the United States. Its Combined Statistical Area ranks 18th with a population of 3,160,488. Roughly 60% of Oregon's population resides within the Portland metropolitan area.

Colleges: Portland Community College, Portland State University, University of Portland

Eugene, OR
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 165,997
% Undergrad Pop.: 8.8% (6th best)
Median Rent: $988 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 696.2% (11th best)
Crime Rank: 12th best
More on Eugene: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Eugene is a city of the Pacific Northwest located in the U.S. state of Oregon. It is located at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers, about 50 miles east of the Oregon Coast.

Colleges: University of Oregon, Lane Community College, Northwest Christian University

Forest Grove, OR
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 23,923
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.6% (8th best)
Median Rent: $952 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 730.8% (12th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Forest Grove: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Forest Grove is a city in Washington County, Oregon, United States, 25 miles west of Portland. Originally a small farm town, it is now primarily a bedroom suburb of Portland. Settled in the 1840s, the town was platted in 1850, then incorporated in 1872, making it the first city in Washington County. The population was 21,083 at the 2010 census, an increase of 19.1% over the 2000 figure.

Colleges: Pacific University

La Grande, OR
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 13,103
% Undergrad Pop.: 19.4% (4th best)
Median Rent: $756 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 804.3% (13th best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on La Grande: Real Estate | Data | Photos

La Grande is a city in Union County, Oregon, United States. Originally named "Brownsville," it was forced to change its name because that name was being used for a city in Linn County. Its name comes from an early French settler, Charles Dause, who often used the phrase "La Grande" to describe the area's beauty. The population was 13,082 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Union County. La Grande lies east of the Blue Mountains and southeast of Pendleton.

Colleges: Eastern Oregon University

Newberg, OR
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 23,167
% Undergrad Pop.: 7.4% (7th best)
Median Rent: $1,114 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 453.8% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Newberg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Newberg is a city in Yamhill County, Oregon, United States. Located in the Portland metropolitan area, the city is home to George Fox University. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 22,110 making it the second most populous city in the county.

Colleges: George Fox University

Wilsonville, OR
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 23,418
% Undergrad Pop.: 1.5% (12th best)
Median Rent: $1,279 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 406.9% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Wilsonville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Wilsonville is a city primarily in Clackamas County, Oregon, United States. A portion of the northern section of the city is in Washington County. It was founded as Boones Landing because of the Boones Ferry which crossed the Willamette River at the location; the community became Wilsonville in 1880. The city was incorporated in 1969 with a population of approximately 1,000. The population was 13,991 at the 2000 census, and grew to 19,509 as of 2010. Slightly more than 90% of residents at the 2000 census were white, with Hispanics comprising the largest minority group.

Colleges: Pioneer Pacific College

How'd we figure out the best college towns in Oregon?

To crunch our data on Oregon's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 12 places in Oregon with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In Oregon For 2020".

And it looks like Corvallis placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in Oregon, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

12 Best College Towns In Oregon

Rank City Population
1 Corvallis, OR 57213
2 Mcminnville, OR 33662
3 Monmouth, OR 10131
4 Ashland, OR 20912
5 Portland, OR 639387
6 Eugene, OR 165997
7 Forest Grove, OR 23923
8 La Grande, OR 13103
9 Newberg, OR 23167
10 Wilsonville, OR 23418
11 Salem, OR 166756
12 Klamath Falls, OR 21138

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?