It's been well documented that rural Oregonians don't share in Portland's booming economy.

But a new analysis shows that the state's rural residents are getting hammered not only by poor job prospects but also by disproportionately high housing costs.

Rural Oregonians make about the same as rural residents of other states, a new study by Josh Lehner in the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis finds, but housing costs in rural parts of the Beaver State are nearly 60 percent higher than the average for the rest of rural America. Here's Lehner's representation of the difference:


Lehner's not sure why there's such a big difference, but he notes that in the Plains states, development occurred earlier than it did in the West. That means towns in states such as Kansas or Nebraska are emptying out but towns in rural Oregon or Montana are either gaining population or not losing it as fast.

"Regional affordability issues depend upon when development occurred," Lehner writes. "Many of the rural counties that have seen population growth, or at least not large declines, are here in the Timber Belt and the West."