Living in Oregon – Pros and Cons, Cost of Living

Living in Oregon

Are you an outdoors lover contemplating making a move to one of the best places in the United States, where the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest meets the vibrant lifestyle of a progressive community? Oregon, fondly known as the Beaver State, may just be that great place you’re dreaming about!

Located between Washington State and California, with the majestic Pacific Coast to the west and towering mountain ranges to the east, Oregon embodies the essence of the ethereal Pacific Northwest. It’s a good place for those who cherish outdoor recreation, from the lush landscapes of the City of Roses, Portland, to the rugged natural scenery that defines much of the state.

Living in the State of Oregon offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and untamed wilderness, making it one of the most beautiful places for those drawn to the allure of the great outdoors without forsaking the conveniences of city life. With its mild climate, Oregon provides year-round access to plenty of activities, whether it’s exploring the scenic beauty of its coastlines, hiking through diverse mountain ranges, or enjoying the cultural offerings of one of Oregon’s favorite cities.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into what makes Oregon a standout destination in the United States for both adventurers and tranquility seekers alike. From the striking natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities to the warm, welcoming communities that embody the spirit of the Pacific Northwest, we’ll explore why Oregon might just be the next place you’ll want to call home.

Living in Oregon

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Table of Contents


While Oregon’s cost of living may be higher than some other states, particularly in terms of housing prices and income taxes, the trade-offs in terms of quality of life, natural beauty, and the unique lifestyle opportunities it presents make it a compelling choice for many. Prospective residents should weigh these factors carefully, considering both the financial implications and the intangible benefits of living in this dynamic and picturesque state.

Here’s a rough breakdown of what to expect for the average cost of monthly expenses in Oregon (in USD):

Monthly Rent: $1000-$2000

Utilities: $350-$400

Cell Phone: $100

Wifi: $100

Groceries: $350+ per person

Entertainment: $200-$400

Gas: $80+

Health Care: $670 per person

Child Care: $1000-$1500 per child

Income Tax: Graduated individual income tax (ranging from 4.75 percent to 9.90 percent)

Oregon’s financial landscape is characterized by its lack of sales tax, providing a somewhat offsetting benefit to residents. This absence of sales tax can make everyday purchases more affordable compared to states with high sales taxes. Yet, this benefit is balanced by Oregon’s income tax, which is among the highest in the United States, impacting the net income of its residents.

Despite these financial considerations, Oregon continues to be a popular destination for those drawn to its mild climate, natural scenery, and the quality of life it offers. For those willing to navigate the economic aspects, Oregon remains one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest, offering a distinctive living experience in the United States.

Looking to live somewhere in the USA with a lower cost of living? You might want to explore Puerto Rico as an option:

Living in Puerto Rico: Pros and Cons, Cost for Expats

Living in Puerto Rico

Or looking to live in another type of tropical paradise with a cost of living similar to Oregon?

Average Cost of Living in Hawaii – What to Expect

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Cost of Rent in Oregon

Housing costs in Oregon, particularly in the most sought-after urban areas like the city of Portland, are a major contributor to the state’s overall high cost of living. The demand for housing in these areas has led to a steady increase in prices, making it challenging for new residents to find affordable housing options. This scenario is especially true in the metropolitan regions and desirable neighborhoods known for their access to natural landscapes, outdoor recreation, and vibrant communities.

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Cost of Buying a Home in Oregon

In cities like Portland, housing costs rank among the highest nationwide, with the median home price hovering around $530,000. This reflects the broader trend of escalating real estate values across Oregon, particularly in its urban centers where demand is high, making it one of the most expensive states to purchase a home in.

The rising costs underscore the state’s desirability but also pose challenges for affordability in the housing market, affecting both potential homeowners and the rental market. This situation highlights the importance of strategic financial planning for those considering Oregon as their new home.

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Cost of Food in Oregon

The cost of groceries in Oregon fluctuates significantly based on several factors including the city of residence, the specific food items being purchased, and the choice of shopping venues.

Urban areas with a higher living cost, notably Portland, typically experience elevated grocery prices in comparison to Oregon’s smaller towns or rural locales.

The state’s emphasis on locally-sourced and organic produce can further drive up prices, distinguishing Oregon’s food costs from places where such premium options are less in demand.

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Living in Oregon

Weather in Oregon

In Oregon, the climate varies depending on the region. The western part is known for its wet, mild conditions with damp winters and warm, dry summers, characteristic of a maritime climate.

Eastern Oregon, however, experiences a more continental climate, featuring colder winters and hotter summers.

The state’s coastal regions benefit from the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean, leading to cooler summers and gentler winters. This diverse climate results from Oregon’s varied topography, including its mountains and valleys.

As for precipitation, the coast gets drenched, with places like Tillamook seeing nearly 90 inches annually of average rainfall. The Willamette Valley, including Portland and Salem, averages around 40-43 inches. The Cascade Mountains can get up to 93.6 inches at Detroit Lake Dam, while Bend in Central Oregon only sees about 10.6 inches. Eastern Oregon is on the drier side, with Ontario receiving roughly 10 inches a year.

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Pros of Living in Oregon

Embrace the Great Outdoors

One of the absolute BEST things about living in Oregon is that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with so many outdoor activities to choose from in your free time.

The state’s rich variety of natural settings, from its coastline to forested areas and mountainous terrains, ensures outdoor enthusiasts have endless activities to choose from. Oregon’s beauty encourages adventures like hiking, skiing, and scenic appreciation, making it a haven for those who love nature.

Enjoy Shopping Without Sales Tax

The absence of state sales tax in Oregon not only attracts shoppers but also provides a noticeable financial relief, allowing for a more transparent and often less expensive purchasing experience. This distinct advantage means the price you see is exactly what you pay out the door.

A Cyclist’s Dream

Oregon’s, particularly Portland’s, comprehensive bike paths and trails celebrate a culture that favors cycling. This not only promotes a healthier lifestyle but also offers a greener and more enjoyable commuting option, reflecting the state’s dedication to eco-friendly living.

Excellent Public Transportation

Oregon’s investment in a robust public transportation system, especially in cities like Portland, showcases an efficient mix of buses, light rail, and streetcars. This network facilitates easy city navigation, reducing car dependence and fostering a greener environment, all while connecting the community more closely.

Weather for Every Preference

With its varied climate zones, Oregon caters to all preferences, offering everything from the coastal areas’ mild, moist conditions to the drier, sunnier environments east of the Cascades. This diversity ensures that residents can find their ideal weather comfort zone.

Diverse Career Opportunities

Oregon’s economy thrives across several industries such as technology, manufacturing, and green energy, offering a wide range of job opportunities. This economic versatility attracts young professionals looking for growth in various sectors.

Oregon’s “Silicon Forest”

The Silicon Forest in Oregon refers to the cluster of high-tech companies located in the Portland metropolitan area and throughout the Willamette Valley. This nickname draws a parallel with California’s Silicon Valley, emphasizing Oregon’s significant contribution to the technology and semiconductor industries. The region has attracted a variety of tech companies, from startups to established giants, due to its skilled workforce, innovative culture, and quality of life.

Depending on your line of work, this may be a pro and it may be a con for you.

Thriving Vineyard and Brewery Scene

The state’s wine regions, known for their exceptional Pinot Noir, along with a thriving craft brewery scene, rival renowned wine countries. Oregon’s local wine and beer culture means sophisticated tastings and gatherings are easily accessible, enriching the social fabric of the community.

Farm-to-Table Dining Experience

Oregon’s focus on locally-sourced, high-quality food manifests in its dynamic culinary scene. This emphasis on freshness and innovation makes the state a destination for food lovers seeking authentic and sustainable dining experiences.

Incredible Art Scene

Oregon’s art scene is pulsing with cultural expressions that span visual to performing arts. The state is a canvas for creativity, hosting a vibrant community of artists and an array of festivals, exhibitions, and live shows. This rich artistic environment not only supports local talent but also cultivates a space where innovation and cultural appreciation flourish, making Oregon a celebrated center for artistic exploration and engagement. You’re sure to find plenty of live music, theatre, and museums to keep you busy here!

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Cons of Living in Oregon:

High Housing Costs

The price tag on homes in Oregon, especially in urban areas like Portland, can be steep, reflecting the high demand for living in such desirable locations. This aspect of financial strain extends to the rental market as well, making affordability a significant concern for newcomers and residents alike.

Income Tax Burden

Oregon compensates for its lack of sales tax with one of the highest income tax rates in the nation. This higher tax rate can take a noticeable bite out of residents’ paychecks, impacting the overall affordability of living in the state.

Challenging Weather

The state’s weather, characterized by long, rainy winters, especially in the western part, can be a downside for those who prefer more sunshine and less precipitation. This climate aspect might affect the mood and outdoor plans of residents.

Limited Diversity

Oregon’s demographic composition, with approximately 86% Caucasian population according to the U.S. Census Bureau, indicates a lower level of ethnic diversity compared to some other states. For individuals seeking a more multicultural environment, this aspect might be considered a drawback of living in Oregon.

High Crime Rate:

Just like any other place you’re considering to move to, Oregon has its spots where crime is more of an issue, facing similar challenges with property and violent crimes that vary city by city.

Urban areas generally see higher crime rates compared to the more tranquil rural spots. It’s crucial for anyone living in or moving to Oregon to stay up-to-date with local crime stats and community safety efforts.

This knowledge helps in making smart choices about where to set down roots and how to navigate safely in the community. Combining this awareness with practical safety measures, such as locking up and being mindful of my surroundings, has been my strategy for maintaining personal safety.

Education System Concerns

Questions about the quality and funding of public schools in certain areas of Oregon have been raised, posing a potential concern for families prioritizing education for their children.

Restricted Gas Station Services

Unique to Oregon, the prohibition on self-service gas stations in most of the state can be seen as an inconvenience, especially for those used to pumping their own gas elsewhere.

Urban Sprawl and Traffic

As Oregon’s cities, particularly Portland, continue to grow, residents face increasing urban sprawl and traffic congestion, which can affect commute times and the overall ease of getting around.

Poor Quality of Education

If you’re thinking about moving to Oregon and education is a top priority on your list, it’s important to note that the state has faced challenges in education quality, including student-to-teacher ratios, test scores, and graduation rates, especially for low-income families. However, certain areas like Sherwood and Lake Oswego boast top-notch school districts that exceed the state’s average education quality. This means that while there are systemic issues, careful selection of where to live can still provide excellent educational opportunities for your children.

Some of the well known colleges and universities in Oregon are

  • Oregon State University
  • University of Oregon
  • Portland State University

Environmental Hazards

The state’s susceptibility to natural environmental hazards, such as wildfires and earthquakes, poses risks and concerns for safety and property.

By addressing these challenges, potential residents can better prepare for life in Oregon, balancing its many attractions against the realities of its cons.

Social Integration Challenges

Newcomers to Oregon might find it challenging to penetrate established social circles and forge new friendships. The state’s residents often display a preference for maintaining long-standing social groups, showing reserve towards newcomers. This dynamic is particularly pronounced with regards to individuals relocating from states with high migration rates to Oregon, such as Californians, who are sometimes viewed with skepticism due to perceptions of their arrival driving up housing costs and contributing to the state’s affordability issues.

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Living in Oregon

Best Places to Live in Oregon

Each of these Oregon locales offers something special, from urban conveniences and tech job opportunities to the serene beauty of the natural surroundings and community warmth, catering to a wide array of preferences and lifestyles.


Hillsboro hits the sweet spot with its blend of suburban peace, outdoor spots, and a thriving job scene thanks to tech giants. Its affordability and closeness to Portland make it a balanced choice for those seeking quiet without losing urban touch.


Bend is a paradise for the outdoorsy, with endless trails, lakes, and a notable high desert climate. It’s perfect for anyone who loves a good adventure or a craft beer in a community that prides itself on being active and culturally rich.


Sherwood charms with its small-town vibe and excellent educational institutions, ideal for family life. It’s safe, surrounded by nature, and still conveniently close to bigger cities, offering a blend of tranquility and accessibility.


Portland, Oregon’s largest city, is popular for its vibrant cultural scene, diverse neighborhoods, and abundant green spaces. With a thriving job market, excellent dining options, and a strong sense of community, Portland offers the best of both urban living and outdoor adventure, making it a sought-after destination for residents seeking a dynamic and inclusive environment.

Oregon City

Growing fast, Oregon City offers more affordable living within a stone’s throw of Portland. The Willamette River adds to its appeal, providing ample outdoor fun, while its community feel keeps things cozy and connected.


Salem is shaking off its quiet reputation, drawing in those looking for a dynamic place to live. It offers city perks with easier access to nature, making it a balanced choice for those wanting a slower pace without sacrificing conveniences.


Eugene stands out with its youthful vibe thanks to the University of Oregon. It’s a city that offers the charm of a college town with the added bonus of fantastic outdoor activities, making it a top pick for a vibrant and active lifestyle.

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Best Things to Do in Oregon:

Check Out Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake, with its deep blue waters from a former volcano, is a must-see for its hikes, campsites, and boat tours, showcasing nature at its best. At 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is actually the deepest lake in the United States, and one of the deepest in the world!

Road Trip Through Oregon: Hot Springs & Waterfalls

Driving through Oregon and exploring all of its amazing waterfalls and hot springs is a MUST DO!

Check out this blog post to learn all about the best spots: Oregon Road Trip: The Best Hot Springs, Waterfalls and Photo Spots

The Perfect Oregon Road Trip

Stroll Through Portland’s International Rose Test Garden

This garden is a visual treat in Portland, packed with countless rose types, ideal for a relaxing day or a picnic.

Trek the Columbia River Gorge

A paradise for outdoor lovers, offering trails, waterfalls, and panoramic views that are a photographer’s dream.

Take in the Oregon Coast

Famous for dramatic landscapes and charming towns, it’s a haven for anyone looking to explore beaches and taste fresh seafood.

Stay in a Cozy Lakeside Cabin

Oregon is brimming with amazing cabins on lakes that you can rent, for the coziest getaway.

Discover my faves here: The BEST Lakes in Oregon with Cabins You Must Stay At!

The BEST Lakes in Oregon (with Cabins You Must Stay At!)

Explore Willamette Valley Wine Country

A haven for wine enthusiasts, the valley is known for its exquisite Pinot Noir and offers a peek into the local wine scene.

Discover the High Desert Museum in Bend

An educational gem about the area’s natural and cultural history, with hands-on exhibits and outdoor displays.

Wander Portland’s Japanese Garden

A serene spot that ranks among the most authentic Japanese gardens globally, offering a tranquil space with traditional elements.

Go for A Hike!

Oregon has the most incredible hikes, and so many to choose from for every type of hiker and appetite for adventure.

Here’s one of my favourites (which you can make adventurous if you like for an even better view!): Toketee Falls Hike in Oregon, USA

Toketee Falls, Oregon

Check Out the Painted Hills

The Painted Hills stun visitors with their vibrant colors, offering a landscape so surreal it feels extraterrestrial. Perfect for photographers and nature lovers, these hills highlight Oregon’s rich geological tapestry.

Drop by the Oregon Zoo in Portland

Ideal for families, the Oregon Zoo presents a vast array of animals in carefully crafted habitats, with a strong focus on conservation and learning.

Hit the Slopes on Mount Hood

Mount Hood stands out not just for its beauty but as a top spot for skiing and snowboarding, boasting some of the finest slopes in the region.

Discover the Oregon Caves National Monument

Step into the cool depths of the Oregon Caves, where guided tours unveil spectacular formations and a distinct underground ecosystem.

Experience the Portland Saturday Market

Immerse yourself in Portland’s lively culture at this outdoor market, a gathering place for local craftspeople, foodies, and musicians. It’s the ideal venue to snag unique items, savor delicious food, and catch the city’s vibe.

Best Tours in Oregon

Here are some of the BEST tours in Oregon, to explore some of the most amazing things this state has to offer:

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Where to Stay in Oregon: Best Hotels

If you’re heading to Oregon to check out some of its best cities and places to live, here are my recommendations for amazing accommodation options during your visit:

Living in Oregon

The Nines, Portland

The Nines in Portland is a popular choice for those seeking luxury in the heart of downtown. It offers sophisticated rooms, fine dining options, and easy access to all the city has to offer.

Living in Oregon

Sunriver Resort, Sunriver

Located in Central Oregon, Sunriver Resort is a popular destination offering a variety of accommodations, from cozy lodge rooms to spacious vacation rentals. With its golf courses, spa services, and outdoor activities, it’s an ideal spot for a relaxing getaway.

Living in Oregon

Cannon Beach Hotel, Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach Hotel offers a boutique experience near the iconic Haystack Rock. With cozy rooms boasting ocean views and easy access to the beach and downtown area, it’s perfect for a relaxing coastal retreat.

Hotel deLuxe, Portland

Located in downtown Portland, Hotel deLuxe offers a blend of classic charm and modern amenities. With stylish rooms, an on-site restaurant, and a convenient location near popular attractions, it’s a favorite among visitors to the city.

Living in Oregon

Brasada Ranch, Powell Butte

For a luxurious escape in Central Oregon, Brasada Ranch in Powell Butte is an excellent choice. Set amidst stunning scenery, this resort offers upscale accommodations, championship golf, horseback riding, and a range of outdoor activities for guests to enjoy.

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Save on Oregon Hotels Here:

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Living in Oregon

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Living in Oregon – Pros and Cons, Cost of Living

I’m Jenn, a photographer, travel writer, and content creator based out of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. I’m glad you’re here – now let’s explore!

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