Opportunity & Affordability
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This category is a reflection of a number of economic measures, including income inequality, commute times, poverty rates and housing costs. One of Portland-metro’s biggest challenges is housing affordability, which threatens continued prosperity and competitiveness throughout the region. Of all the comparator regions, Portland has the most cost-burdened households (those paying more than 30 percent of their income towards rent or a mortgage) and is tied with Seattle with respect to the ratio of median home price to median household income (MHI). At the same time, the share of the population living below the federal poverty line dropped for all comparator regions, with Portland-metro having the third lowest poverty rate. As it relates to income distribution, Portland is more equal than all comparator regions excluding Salt Lake City. While Portland-metro is middle of the pack on most opportunity measures compared with other regions, it stands out as the least affordable for housing.
Of the comparator regions, Portland has the third highest share of people – 41 percent – experiencing commutes greater than 30 minutes, behind Seattle and Nashville, and commute times for all of the comparator regions, including Portland-metro, rank above the U.S. metro average. See Figure 16.
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