Population: 161,975Median home value: $188,900 72 Ranks better than 75% of areas

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A+ Salem Amenities Lots of amenities close to this location
D Salem Cost of Living Cost of living is 7% lower than Oregon
1066% more expensive than the US average
11414% more expensive than the US average
United States
100National cost of living index
Salem cost of living
F Salem Crime Total crime is 41% higher than Oregon
Total crime
4,62168% higher than the US average
Chance of being a victim
1 in 2268% higher than the US average
Year-over-year crime
5%Year over year crime is up
Salem crime
D- Salem Employment Household income is 8% lower than Oregon
Median household income
$49,12611% lower than the US average
Income per capita
$23,58621% lower than the US average
Unemployment rate
6%21% higher than the US average
Salem employment
B Salem Housing Home value is 24% lower than Oregon
Median home value
$188,9002% higher than the US average
Median rent price
$81914% lower than the US average
Home ownership
53%17% lower than the US average
Salem real estate or Salem rentals
D+ Salem Schools HS graduation rate is 6% lower than Oregon
High school grad. rates
81%3% lower than the US average
School test scores
47%4% lower than the US average
Student teacher ratio
21:130% higher than the US average
Salem K-12 schools or Salem colleges

Living in Salem, OR

Salem, Oregon is a medium-sized city with a population of 161,975 people. With a population density of 3,335 people per square mile, Salem is well above the nation's average density level. At 81%, the majority of the Salem population is White; this is followed by 3% Asian and 1% Black. If you are looking for a family friendly city, Salem might be a good fit as 72% of the population over 15 years old are married, and 55% have kids who are 18 years old or younger.

If you’re considering moving to any new city, it could be a very intimidating task. However, it could also be a great experience if you are willing to get to know the city before actually living in Salem, Oregon. Using the livability score which includes data from categories like amenities, crime, cost of living, housing, you can easily compare the best places to live in Salem and also determine if there are any nearby cities that might be a better match for your lifestyle. You can also compare Salem to Oregon and the national average.

Salem, OR receives 73 out of 100 for its livability score; this results in a ranking of #61 in Oregon and #7,154 in the USA. If we examine each of the categories individually, we see that Salem ranks well for amenities (A+) and housing (B). There is at least one category that you should be aware of in Salem. The following was graded with a discouraging score: crime (D), cost of living (D) and employment (D-).

Based on the proximity of local amenities like grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, librairies, etc., Salem has received a higher than average score for its local amenities. If you’re planning on relocating and making this area your permanent home, it’s nice to know that there is an ample amount of amenities and things to do within walking distance or a short drive. Here are some of the more popular things to do in Salem: Enchanted Forest Theme Park, A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village, and Oregon State Capitol.

Finding affordable real estate and apartments for rent in Salem can be tricky. Having said that, this area might be the place to get the best of both worlds. Based on factors like home/rental affordability and appreciation rates, this area has received an above average score in the housing category.

There are many factors that go into deciding if an area is the right fit for your lifestyle. Certain “must haves” like low crime, great schools and nearby amenities are all at the top of most people's lists. But before even considering if those options are available, most people will need to know if the real estate in Salem is actually affordable. The median home price for Salem homes is $188,900, which is 23.6% lower than the Oregon average. If we take a closer look at the affordability of homes in Salem, we’ll see that the home price to income ratio is 3.9, which is 15.2% lower than the Oregon average. Purchasing your new home can come with many financial benefits, some of which are more lucrative than others. Perhaps the most notable benefit could be the appreciation of your new home. Home appreciation rates are a good way to generate tax-free equity on a long term basis. The year over year appreciation rates in Salem were 11.7%, and the 5 year appreciation rates came in at 10.3%.

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Monthly costs include: fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, license fees, taxes, depreciation, and financing.
See more Salem, OR transportation information

Compare Salem, OR Livability To Other Cities

Best Cities Near Salem, OR

PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Lake Oswego, OR8137.338,065
West Linn, OR8035.926,242
Sherwood, OR8031.418,965
West Scio, OR7816.3139
PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
King City, OR7834.63,599
Tualatin, OR7733.727,024
Wilsonville, OR7729.521,814
Keizer, OR775.537,497
See all Oregon cities

How Do You Rate The Livability In Salem?

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Salem Reviews

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Please make sure you have a job lined up. I'm meeting a lot of people who are having to move back to other states or are really struggling because most places don't pay past $10--12 (even bank tellers, medical/nurse aids) and if you have a family to feed without any plans in sight moving here might not be a good idea. The housing assistance list has a long wait---so if you plan on moving here "for an easy ride" it might take a while. Most Jobs require a current Oregon ID and license/background check as well----so if you're illegal, you will have a hard time finding a job. 66% of us voted against giving illegals drivers licenses----Portland progressives might want illegals here but the majority of us DO NOT. Portland is great for progressives but the rest of the state is strict and law enforcement are quick to do their jobs without pity. We are "down the middle" as far as politics go. In a nutshell: Oregon wages are VERY low. Rents are very high and employers are picky. Property taxes are very expensive. I would not recomment moving here unless you have a career and a job lined up. I was lucky enough to be able to transfer with my company. PLAN AHEAD, don't move here on a whim. The other reviews are right about the weather----cloudy, rainy, snow isnt too bad but we get a lot of icy roads (esp around Salem)
  • 0 0
Salem has changed drastically in the 5 years living here for the worse.

I am a large business owner and resident of Salem for 5 years. The last 2 years have noticed a HUGE increase in crime and the homeless. Where once I would say it was crimeless and I would let my kids and wife walk anywhere and anytime, even me at 6'5" with a carry permit would be cautious in most commercial areas of Salam. There are for sure NO GO areas in Salem, downtown is not half bad (but not good by any standards) but when you go to where the tweakers are, you know you are in the wrong location. The dug and homeless situation is out of control. My business has had multiple attempted breakins this year. And in the last week, we have had 2 commercial trucks broken into, one private truck borken into and an attempt to break into our business. They now are literally captured on security camera 2 times per week minimum for the last 4 months. Salem PD is fast to respond but not fast enough for these guys to cut and run fast.
  • 0 0
They Call it So-Lame...

...and that's fine by me because it will dissuade all the hipsters and techies and other annoying Cool Kids getting pushed out of Portland by the housing prices from moving here.

Salem isn't a large city, so certain things are missing like a good variety of ethnic food. The ones that do exist can get away with subpar food because there isn't any competition. Nightlife is more lowkey than Portland, but more thoughtful and less cringe-worthy. There are actual opportunities here for serious artists and craftspeople, unlike Portland which is over-saturated with pretentious post-post-modernist "Social Practice" and Instagram artists. The Salem Art Association has many events and a bunch of other smaller organizations and studios offer classes and opportunities to show work. The school district honors the Native Tribes by putting on a cultural festival and there are numerous art galleries hidden on the way out to the coast. You can drive a couple miles and find at least a few farmstands for fresh fruit and veg. Living within two miles of downtown is nice because you can walk down tree-lined streets on actual sidewalks, surrounded by early 20th century bungalows and catalog homes that have a lot of charm and a cottage community feel. The people here are much more down-to-Earth and "chill" than Portland. There are pockets of high-crime, druggie areas, but they're easy to avoid. I never feel afraid walking around in the area of NE that I'm in, more afraid of the random speeders down D St than other threats. It's also nice to see a more balanced political landscape instead of the mob-rule style of Portland.

So, let them call it So-Lame, leave Salem a city for the working and middle class...stay in Portland PLEASE.
  • 1 0
Wonderful and Underrated

Salem is often unfairly dismissed as boring and frequently treated like the bland stepsister of Portland.How unfortunate because Salem has so much to offer: beautiful parks, gardens and public spaces.Additionally residents enjoy a vibrant dining scene, numerous community events (see Salem365), a huge variety of entertainment options including community theatre and music performances.Drive a few minutes in any direction from the downtown core (yes, Salem has an actual downtown!) and you're in the middle of beautiful agricultural areas, award winning vineyards and wineries. An hour west is the amazing Oregon coastline, an hour north is Portland and two hours east is the high desert.Excellent medical care, schools, and endless volunteer opportunities make Salem even more desirable.I've barely scratched the surface of all Salem,Oregon is. It's truly an underrated gem.
  • 2 0
Good if you live in the right spot.

First off going by the statistics regarding education, crime and cost of living in Salem is a big mistake. Like all places all things are not equal. There are three distinct parts of Salem, being North Salem and South Salem. There is also an area across the the Marion ST bridge which is known as West Salem. West Salem and South Salem have the nicest areas in terms of low crime, good elementary schools however rent and home prices are much higher in those areas. An average three bedroom house rents for about $1300 a month plus all utilities.

Restaurants and attractions are few and far between. The coast is about a ninety minute drive but forget about swimming, snorkeling etc... it is eye candy only.
  • 4 -1
Salem, OR - A Great Place to Live

Living in Salem, Oregon for the past few years has been a wonderful experience. Since it is the state capital, it is fun to tour the building and take in some of the history in the area. Since it is the end of the Oregon trail there are some interesting things to see.

The coast is close and you can get there in about an hour. It is beautiful and a great place to stay for a couple of days. Rain is something everyone in this part of Oregon learns to live with and the coast is no exception. It is not a good place to sunbath or play in the ocean. Sightseeing is the best though and the views are amazing.

Portland is close and offers a bigger city feel. It is also a beautiful area full of evergreen trees, gorgeous scenery and lots of water. The drive is easy and you can be there in a little less then an hour. There is a large airport and so traveling out of the area is easy. Restaurants, shows and special activities are always available in Portland.

Oregon is a great place to live and anyone who loves nature and the outdoors will be happy to call this place home. I know I am.
  • 3 -2
Reason for reporting
Source: The Salem, OR data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).
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