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

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


Read more...

Nuclear fingerprints

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

At Oregon State University, a 21st century version of the bad dream — nuclear terrorism — is alive and well. This winter, the Department of Nuclear Physics and Radiation Health Physics created a new interdisciplinary graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics, a Sherlock Holmes-sounding program that aims to identify how and where confiscated nuclear and radiological materials were created.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...

5 companies react to lower fuel prices

The Latest
Thursday, January 15, 2015
thumb-shutterstock 233787049BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Consumers love the savings they get from low oil prices, but how has business been affected?


Read more...

Which Way to Chinatown?

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

The Jade International District, already Portland's center of Asian life, is poised for rejuvenation. Where does that leave the westside's historic Chinatown?


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


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