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The cost of living in Portland by the numbers

We’ve broken down the cost of living in Portland, Oregon, comparing it to other states and the US national average.

A city skyline framed by trees and fall leaves with a snow-capped mountain in the background.

The US Census Bureau’s most recent data put Portland’s population at 641,162.

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With Portland constantly growing and undertaking multiple high-profile developments this year, we figured it was time to talk about the cost of planting some roots in Rose City.

The median household income in Portland is $78,476, according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, Oregon has the 19th-highest median income in the country at ~$65,700 per household.

Portland Cost of Living chart

The overall cost of living in Portland is higher than the national average.

Screenshot via bestplaces.net

The overall cost of living in Portland is higher than the national average, and higher than the rest of the state.

In Portland, the cost of healthcare is lower compared to other parts of the state and the US. However, the cost of groceries, housing, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses in the city have higher average costs than other cities in Oregon and the country overall.

Breaking down the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $50,000 annuallyaccording to experts — you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent and utilities. Don’t worry, we did the math for you — your max monthly budget would be $1,250. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Portland is $1,746 — leaving you little-to-no wiggle room.

According to a recent study by Attom Data Solutions, it’s still more affordable to rent a home in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties than to buy.

Take a look at the chart below to see how Portland’s cost of living compares to that of Salem.

PDX Cost of Living Salem Portland chart

Portland has slightly more affordable health care than Salem.

Screenshot via bestplaces.net

Interested in seeing Portland’s cost of living compared to cities in other states? We played around on nerdwallet’s cost of living calculator, where you can search other locations along with your current pre-tax household income to find out what cities you could actually afford to live in.

We took a look at the cost of living in Portland compared to Phoenix, AZ. Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 18% lower in Phoenix.
  • To maintain our standard of living, a Phoenix household would need to bring in $41,248.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,996, which is $569 less than Portland.

Portland also has entities such as Home Forward and other government-funded programs to help develop more affordable units.

There are also a number of local development firms working on apartments seemingly all the time — from the massive, 34-acre Broadway Corridor redevelopment to the construction of Hayu Tilixam, which will offer 50 units of affordable housing in the Cully neighborhood.

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