Life in Rural Counties

January 8th, 2015
Dear ROPnet,

What is the economic reality of living in Oregon’s rural counties? Two recent studies share details on life in rural counties and across Oregon.

The University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center released today the Oregon Workforce Report 2014, The High Cost of Low Wages in Oregon.

New York Times released a report last year, Where Are The Hardest Places to Live in the US?

Here are a few snapshots of rural Oregon from these studies:

– 25 of Oregon’s 36 counties are ranked as either average or “doing worse” in regards to education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity.

– Public assistance to low-wage workers in Oregon is over $1.7 billion.

– Jobs outside the tri-county metro area are more likely to be part-time, temporary or pay low wages. For example, in Eastern Oregon, 50% of jobs pay under $10/hr and 41% are temporary.

Take a look and check out how your county is fairing. Then, consider how your human dignity group can use this information to educate each other, supporters, community members and leadership in your county. Be sure to let us know back at ROP how your group used this information.

My Best,

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