Rural people's incomes fall compared with city dwellers'

PORTLAND — A state study that reflects the long-term decline of logging and milling in Oregon's economy shows that rural Oregonians' incomes have slipped markedly when compared with the incomes of their peers nationwide.

The study of 2011 data from the state Employment Department shows that rural Oregonians earn, per capita, about 25 percent less than their city counterparts in the state — $39,267 in the 11 counties considered urban, $31,383 in the rest of the state.

The difference of $7,884 was due primarily to the difference in earnings from work, the Oregonian reported Monday.

The study points up the erosion of rural incomes relative to national averages and attributes it in large part to the timber business. Economists and political leaders often point to the state versus national income comparisons as a signal of Oregon's sluggish economy.

In 1969, per capita personal income in Oregon's non-metro areas was 113 percent of the national average for non-metro areas.

In the study of 2011 data, rural income in Oregon stood at 94 percent of that national average.

The study shows that income in the 11 counties considered metro areas has slipped relative to the national urban average, but by only 3 percentage points. It's now 91 percent of the national urban average.

The state's rural counties typically rely more on small businesses and face higher unemployment than the 11 counties considered metro areas: Deschutes (Bend); Benton (Corvallis); Lane (Eugene); Jackson (Medford); Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill (Portland); and Marion and Polk (Salem).

Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.