Moving to Salem, Oregon? Here’s What You Need to Know


Salem, Oregon

In times of uncertainty, one thing remains certain: Upper Left Coast = Best Coast (fight us, California). And nestled practically smack-dab in the middle is Salem, one of the Pacific Northwest’s greatest hidden treasures. If the great winds of 2020 have carried you to Oregon’s fair capital (not Portland; more on that below), you’re going to need to know a few things as you settle in.

10 Fast Facts About Salem (as of August 2020) 

  • Population: 163,654 (3,364 people per square mile) with a population growth rate of 7.8% since 2010
  • Median resident age: 35 (37.4 is the national average)
  • Median home price: $282,600 (compared to the $231,200 national average)
  • Median household income: $46,273
  • Cost of living: 101.8 overall, based on a U.S. average of 100 according to this index; 113.1 is Oregon’s statewide average
  • Climate: 45 inches of rain, 4 inches of snow, and 154 sunny days per year on average; average summer high is 81 degrees, average winter low is 35 degrees
  • Unemployment rate: 4.3% (3.9% U.S. average); job growth over the next 10 years is projected at 40.2%, higher than the U.S. average of 33.5%
  • Crime rate ranked on a scale of 1 to 100: Violent crime is 20 (22.7 national), while property crime is 58.9 (35.4 national)
  • Schools: 85 total (59 public/26 private); average of 23 students per teacher
  • Average commute time: 21.6 minutes (5 minutes less than the national average)

A few more need-to-knows about Salem

Salem Capitol Building

Salem—not Portland—is Oregon’s state capital

While Portland is (arguably) the craft beer capital of the world, it isn’t the capital of Oregon. That honor resides in Salem. For all you Art Deco nerds, the Oregon State Capitol is one of the most spectacularly designed capitol buildings in the country. Who else has an 8.5-ton, 22-foot-tall, gilded statue of a pioneer watching over their town?

Salem Witches

It’s not that Salem

Nope, no witch-burning going on here. So fair warning if you go looking for the “Hocus Pocus” house: You’re going to end up with more tricks than treats.

Silver Falls

Salemites play hard

Talk about prime real estate. You’ve got the Coast roughly 60 miles to the west, Portland 45 miles to the north, Eugene 65 miles to the south, and Silver Falls State Park 25 miles to the east.

Napoleon Dynamite

Oh, and Napoleon Dynamite grew up in Salem

Well, Jon Heder who played Napoleon Dynamite did. In our book, that makes Salem the perfect place to practice your nunchuck skills … bowhunting skills … computer hacking skills …

While you figure out how to arrange your life and feng shui your new digs, you’re going to need a place to store your stuff. No matter where you land in Salem, chances are we’re right around the corner.

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Salem, Oregon