Opportunity & Affordability
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This category includes a variety of economic measures that have direct social impacts, including income inequality, commute times, poverty rates and housing costs. Consistently, one of Portland’s most urgent challenges is housing affordability, which has an impact on continued prosperity and competitiveness throughout the region. Compared to other regions, Portland has the largest share of cost-burdened households, for both renters and owners.
OpportunityImportantly, the Portland region’s Gini index, which tracks distribution of wealth, measured better than all regions, except Salt Lake City. See Figure 14. Despite this positive news, the Portland region maintains a persistently high-level of households living below the poverty line. See Figure 15. Compared to its peer regions, Portland had the second highest share of commuters 16 years and older working from home in 2017, at 9.2 percent, following Austin at 9.8 percent.
In 2010, only 5 percent of the Portland region worked from home, a sign of growing agitation around the strained transportation network. See Figure 16. Additionally, the share of workers traveling 45 minutes or more has increased from 2010 to 2017, from 15.8 percent to 20.3 percent, respectively. This indicates that geographic and economic displacement are impacting commute times and behaviors.
AffordabilityThe Portland region experienced the highest rate of cost-burden for both owner-occupied and renter-occupied households among its peer regions. In 2017, 34 percent of households spent 30 percent or more of their monthly income on rent or a mortgage, which is a startling statistic that has dramatic impacts on residents’ livability and the region’s reputation as one of the last, affordable major markets on the West Coast. See Figure 17.
One measure of housing affordability is to compare median sales prices to median household incomes (MHI), called the price-to-income ratio. The U.S. average is 3.7, meaning homes cost 3.7 times the MHI. In Portland, the ratio is 4.98, just behind Seattle at 5.15, indiating that the region is becoming less affordable for its residents. See Figure 18.
Prosperity & Productivity
This category measures output and efficiency, income and traded-sector activity for all six peer regions.
Opportunity & Affordability
This category measures a variety of direct social impacts, including income inequality, commute times, poverty rates and housing costs.
Workforce & Investment Climate
This category measures labor force characteristics, startup firms, and employment and population statistics for each region.