Portland Cost of Living Lures in the Young and Hopeful

If you live in Portland, or if you've visited often enough, you've probably heard the city described as a "place where young people go to retire," In my experience, that statement is misleading: between the DIY butter, soap and sunblock makers; artisans who make incredible new stuff (clothes, shoes. jewelry, furniture, art) out of recycled materials, urban farmers and small business start-ups; and the blue-collar workers: bike mechanics, loggers, builders, boat crews, Portland is home to a very hard working populace. 

But Portland State University researchers, according to the Columbian found that Portland "is a magnet for the young and college educated from across the country, even though a disproportionate share of them are working part-time or holding jobs that don't require a degree." In other words, young people flock to Portland despite the fact that they may find themselves under-employed. The study shows that "Their participation in the labor force tracks with other cities, but they make 84 cents on the dollar when compared to the average of the 50 largest metropolitan areas.

Why does that work out for Portlanders? I'd guess because we don't need as much money to live here as we would in a different city, like New York, San Francisco, or Washington D.C. Rent (though higher now than ever before) is still relatively affordable, buying homes is completely feasible with a median under $250K, plus the cost of living is less. We've got bike-able/walkable everything, solid public transportation, and myriad cheap or free entertainment options. In trade for our investment in Portland, we get a vibrant community of supportive, inventive, forward-thinking neighbors, awesome natural beauty, cutting edge music, good, and some of the world's best beer.

"You put all of that together, and it suggests that young people are coming here and they're trying to make the best of it," said Greg Schrock, an assistant professor in urban studies at Portland state. "They're committed to working, they're committed to trying to make ends meet, but they're more committed to living in Portland."

Yes, that's me. Could it be you? Check out homes for sale in Portland, OR now.

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert


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