Why Is Oregon So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Morgan Stephens

Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

Oregon is a Pacific northwest state in the US and is considered one of the most charming places to visit and live in, thanks to its incredible landscape. The name Oregon is connected to the presence of the Columbia River, as the name probably means the River in the West.

In addition to these interesting facts, there’s one simple fact that a lot of Oregonians agree with; it’s one of the most expensive places to live in. Despite being a nature lovers’ paradise, this fact can put off a lot of people from choosing Oregon as a place to settle down in.

Why Is Oregon So Expensive?

1. No Sales Tax

Oregon doesn’t have a sales transaction tax, which makes it one of the most popular shopping destinations. For this reason, living in Oregon will cost more as more people are competing for the same housing spaces, facilities, and services.

Everyone wants to live in Oregon, so they’ll just have to figure out a way to pay the price.

There’s also some news that Oregon might eventually have to introduce a sales tax to boost its educational system. Unfortunately, this means that the cost of living is going to increase.

2. High Income Tax

Before you rejoice for not having to pay a sales tax every time you make a purchase in Oregon, you need to understand that this state has the 4th highest income tax in the US.

This means that you’d still get a big portion of your salary deducted, even if you’re making a lot of money.

As a matter of fact, the income tax rate of almost 10% in Oregon means that you might have to allocate nearly 30% of your income to taxes.

3. Cost Of Housing Is High

The cost of housing in some cities like Portland is actually more than 70% higher than in other parts of the US. You can get the same house for almost half the price in another state if you choose to move away from Oregon.

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As a matter of fact, some areas in Portland cost even more because the communities are close to schools and other amenities.

Yet, if you’re not paid enough, you won’t be able to get a good house in Oregon.

4. Groceries Cost More

While there are budget grocery stores in Oregon, there are more gourmet stores, which typically sell more expensive groceries.

This means that shopping for groceries will cost you more than any other state in the US.

Although there are some food manufacturers located on the West Coast, groceries are probably expensive in Oregon because the goods get transported from the East Coast.

So, unless you’re buying food that is exclusively produced and manufactured in Oregon, you’ll pay more. The cost can also get higher if you’re buying organic food.

5. Public Transportation Is Impressive

Getting to your destination in Oregon is not a big deal as the state has one of the best public transportation systems.

However, this also means that the state has to spend more money to maintain this system and keep it safe for the locals.

It’s true that the State of Oregon aims to keep the transportation fare as low as possible, but with an increase in demand, this might be quite challenging.

However, people are willingly paying the price as they get to live in one of the most well-connected states in the US.

6. Healthcare Is Expensive

Healthcare Is Expensive

Access to healthcare is quite expensive in Oregon. In some cities like Portland, the number of private hospitals exceeds the number of public hospitals.

As the number of people living in Oregon continues to increase, medical services will continue to cost more.

Moreover, most of the people who live in Oregon suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which requires special medical care.

7. Natural Attractions

Think of an ocean, rivers, mountains, and parks, and you’ll find them all in Oregon.

As a nature’s paradise, a lot of people would love to come and live in Oregon, and due to the high demand, the cost of living can be significantly higher.

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Unlike other cities, which are filled with skyscrapers, a car drive in any city in Oregon means you’ll be able to enjoy amazing views while commuting to work or your kids’ school.

This is definitely another reason why people would love to live in Oregon and a good reason for increasing housing costs.

8. Increased Walkability

Portland and other cities in Oregon have high walkability indexes. This means that people can walk easily to where they want to go without using their cars and public transportation.

As a result, a lot of people live in Oregon because they can save commute money, especially as the fuel prices continue to increase. Nevertheless, this also makes the cost of living in Oregon incredibly high.

The cost of living in various communities differs according to their desirability. With an increased walkability index, Portland continues to be one of the most expensive cities to live in.

On the other hand, some less desirable communities will be less expensive to live in, according to the law of supply and demand. Still, they’d be more expensive than other cities in the US.

9. There’s A Green Tax

While living in Oregon is a dream come true for nature lovers, it comes with a steep price.

There’s a green tax on almost everything in Oregon, and while it’s a good way to save the environment, people aren’t actually happy about the increased cost.

People of Oregon are eco-friendly, but they also pay more money to reduce their impact on the environment.

For example, while shopping for your groceries, you won’t be able to use plastic bags, and you’ll have to pay for reusable bags.

Companies and corporations are also paying a green tax. Of course, this tax is included in the price of products and services they offer to the people of Oregon.

10. Beer Is Expensive

People of Oregon, and especially in Portland, aren’t fond of the mainstream national beer brands. Instead, they prefer to buy beer from local microbreweries.

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National brands offer budget-friendly beer, thanks to the decreased costs of mass production, but this is not available for the local facilities.

Instead, these microbreweries focus on the uniqueness of flavor, which makes the process of getting a beer in Oregon a whole cultural experience, and the people are more than happy to support their local community.

Microbreweries are available in every suburb and community in Oregon, so you can try a unique flavor whenever you want to grab a drink. However, it costs a lot more than other parts of the country.

11. A Lot Of Specialty Boutiques

If you’re a fan of customized products, then you’ll be happy to live in Oregon, especially Portland.

There are a lot of handmade, vintage, and customized clothes and accessories stores in Oregon, and they offer exclusive products.

This is why shopping in Oregon is an entertaining experience. However, these products usually cost more because they’re specifically designed as unique pieces.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why London is so dirty, why Germany is so boring, and why Alabama is so bad.


If you’re a nature lover, then moving to live in Oregon might be the best thing to do. Most cities have a high walkability index, and there are many exclusive stores for products and services.

However, living in Oregon is more expensive than in most other states in the US. So, you’ll end up paying a lot more for everything you buy. Nevertheless, a lot of people believe that it’s totally worth it.


  • Morgan Stephens

    Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

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