Urban-rural wage gap is steady

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Coins STATEWIDE The often-cited widening gap between urban and rural wages actually has remained unchanged over the past decade, while both urban and rural wages are slipping compared to their counterparts nationwide.

“This is not such good news for rural areas, and it’s not good news for urban areas,” says state employment economist Art Ayre, who did the analysis.

After adjusting for inflation, the urban-rural wage gap has been fairly stable since 1997, says Ayre. “In the unadjusted data, what you were seeing was increasing inflation more than a widening of the gap,” he says. In 1997, average annual earnings for a metro-county worker were $26,944, and for a rural county worker they were $22,051. In 2007, that was $37,236 for a metro worker and $30,191 for a rural worker. After adjustment to 2007 dollars, the wage difference was $7,046 in 1997 and $7,045 in 2007. Counties classified as metro are Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Deschutes, Jackson, Lane, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill. Rural counties are all other.

Additionally, for the first time in eight years, the average earnings of workers in rural Oregon have fallen below their counterparts nationwide. Until 2006, the latest year for available data, rural wages in the state were at 97% of U.S. rural wages. The wage gap for metro workers in Oregon vs. the nation is even bigger, with those wages at 86% of average U.S. metro wages.

“Oregon just does not have the really large metro areas that the U.S. on average has, and large population centers drive higher wages,” says Ayre.

Being close to a large population center also affects prosperity of rural communities. A recent report by Oregon State University economists says remoteness is the main cause of disparities between communities that flourish and those that do not. The greater the distance between a community and its closest urban neighbor the less likely it is to prosper. That holds true nationwide, the study says, where the communities with the lowest wages are those in the most remote areas.               

ROBIN DOUSSARD


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...

Sun set

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night. 


Read more...

Undersea Power

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Mike Morrow and Mike Delos-Reyes first came up with the idea of an ocean power device 23 years ago, when they were students at Oregon State University. They realized a long-held vision last summer, when their startup, M3 Wave, successfully launched the first ocean power device that works underwater.


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS