Oregon Boasts Third Smallest Wage Disparity in the U.S

Are you planning on moving to Portland or elsewhere in Oregon but you’re not sure if it’s the right area for you due to issues like wage disparity?

Thanks to a recent study done by Commercial Café we know that Oregon boasts the third smallest wage disparity in the United States.

About the Wage Disparity Study

Ever since Gordon Gekko uttered his now infamous credo, “greed is good,” many economists have been concerned with the long-term effects of the growing income inequality in the U.S. While free-market enthusiasts see things differently, inequality has become a recurring topic within our news cycle, as it reflects anxieties about the disproportionate influence of the so-called 1%, the plight of blue-collar workers and the dwindling middle-class.

As American society grows increasingly unequal, there have been several attempts to gauge the scale of current disparities and to forecast future developments. Using the latest available data from the annual Occupational Employment Statistics, we’ve looked at the gap between the highest and lowest-earning professions across U.S. metros and in each of the 50 states, starting May 2013, up until May 2017. While recent studies have considered income per household as their unit of measurement, we propose an assessment of wage disparities between different occupational groups at metro and state-level.

Our research shows that healthcare practitioners are the indisputable winners in today’s labor market, ranking as the most well-paid workers in most areas we’ve analyzed, outnumbering by a large margin those in management positions. In contrast, other groups pertaining to the care industry―including healthcare support occupations and personal care workers―still receive some of the lowest wages among all the professional categories, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those working in education, training or library positions have seen below-average income growth, as have sales-related occupations or community and social service occupations. Read on to see some of the other insight uncovered by our study.

The Most Unequal States and Metros in the US (Spoiler: NY Doesn’t Make the Cut)

When viewed across occupations rather than household income, it’s not the often-cited examples of income inequality, like New York or California, that come to the fore. According to our research, Alabama has the worst wage disparity at state-level, with a 94% gap between orthodontists, the highest-paid group, and food preparation and service workers, with the latter group currently earning only $18,380 a year. Florida comes in second; here, oral and maxillo facial surgeons received $288,450 in 2017, while graders and crop sorters were paid $19,320 on average. Ushers, lobby attendants and ticket takers in Maine had an average wage of $19,510, with surgeons’ salaries being more than 14 times higher.

Oregon Continues to Be A Top Relocation Destination

Over the last 5 years, Oregon has continued to be a top relocation destination as people from California and other states have relocated and settled here in the hopes of avoiding high taxes and environments that are not pro-business.

Oregon was among the top places to move to in 2017, with Marion and Polk counties contributing to the state’s popularity.

New reports from national movers United Van Lines and Atlas Van Lines show many more people coming to Oregon than leaving last year as part of a broader migration into the American West.

On the downside, Oregon’s new residents were met with high costs of living, including a tight, relatively expensive housing market and low unemployment, which creates stiffer competition for family-wage jobs.

The United Van Lines study showed 75 new moves — families and individuals — into Marion County and eight to Polk County. People moved into the Mid-Willamette Valley from states as far apart as California, Illinois, and New York.

While not everyone uses moving services to truck their goods from state to state, the studies are backed up by recent estimates from Portland State University showing that Oregon’s population rose to 4.1 million in 2017, adding 64,750 people over the year.

Marion County welcomed 5,250 new residents and Polk County brought in 1,270, according to PSU.

Oregon’s population growth also puts it on track to add another congressional seat in 2020, according to the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. Seats in the U.S. House are re-allocated after every census based on how many people live in each state.

United Van Lines says Oregon was second only to Vermont for the rate of people moving into a state. In Oregon, 65 percent of movers were coming into the state with 35 percent leaving.

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