Poverty in Eastern Oregon

It is no secret that poverty is a problem in Eastern Oregon. Poverty is not a singular issue – low incomes prevent individuals from providing for themselves and their families. This vulnerability commonly leads to crime and other hardship.

Baker and Union Counties have much higher unemployment rates than Oregon. Each County had an unemployment rate of 6% in 2018, higher than Oregon’s 5% unemployment rate. While Baker County’s Job Growth rate per 1,000 people was higher than Oregon, Union County’s rate was at -6 in 2018.

Unemployment and slow job growth result in hunger problems in our community. The food insecurity rate in Baker and Union Counties was two points higher than Oregon in 2018. A higher portion of the population in these counties consumed a healthy diet than the rest of Oregon in 2018.

Beyond hunger, poverty took a huge toll on our community in 2018. Over 1/5 of children in Baker County experienced poverty, climbing to 1/4 in Union County. Child abuse per 1,000 of the population in each county was higher than the state of Oregon.

While no entity can keep track of the actual sexual violence rates in a given location, the Department of Human Services tracks help calls to local centers for Domestic and Sexual Violence Programs. While call rates for varied forms of domestic and sexual violence have gone down since 2008, many members of our community continue to be victimized.



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