Major job losses and insufficient child care challenged Oregon’s rural and urban counties alike
Roseburg, Ore. — A county-by-county analysis released today provides insights into the experiences of Oregonians in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Oregon by the Numbers, a comprehensive data resource compiled annually by The Ford Family Foundation and Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service, maps the unique realities of all 36 counties in ways that community decision makers can easily use.
“We anticipated this year’s report would be the story of 2020 and the pandemic’s impact across the state, and that’s partly true,” said Kasi Allen, the director of learning and knowledge management for the Foundation. “For example, kindergarten readiness and third grade reading data were impossible to collect, but we did gather exciting data for five-year high school graduation rates, which increased across both rural and urban communities.”
Among the key trends, all 36 counties experienced negative job growth for the first time in Oregon by the Numbers’ five-year run—with rural areas faring marginally better. Oregon remains a child care desert, with all counties offering far below the ratio of 1 slot for every 3 children—a challenge only exacerbated by the pandemic. Rural and urban counties alike experienced an influx of new residents in a year dominated by remote and hybrid work, with data continuing to show increasing racial/ethnic diversity among residents in all corners of Oregon.
The 2022 edition also previews limited findings from the Oregon Voices survey, a first-of-its-kind statewide listening project conducted by the Foundation with researchers from Portland State University and ECONorthwest. As one key insight, majorities of both rural and urban residents report that they always or often feel pride in the place where they live (75 and 64 percent, respectively).
“These new data have the power to inform community-building and policy advocacy efforts across the state—whether holding newly-gained ground or identifying areas of opportunity,” said Anne Kubisch, president of The Ford Family Foundation. “Over the years, leaders and organizations have reported using the county rankings to improve outcomes where they live—combating food insecurity, opening new child care centers and more.”
Oregon by the Numbers contains county-level profiles and in-depth reports on the various measures—each with rankings that allow readers to see how their county compares with the rest of the state—and is primed to support community action.
In even years (2018, 2020, 2022), the report is printed and automatically mailed to all Oregon U.S. and state elected representatives, county commissioners, college presidents, local libraries and other public-serving individuals and entities. Printed copies are available for free (while supplies last) to residents of Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif., and anyone can download the complete findings here PDF.
For the first time, to continually improve the relevance and accuracy of the report, all data and analyses were vetted by a team of 20 county-level reviewers across the state. Any individual interested in becoming a future county-level reviewer is invited to email OBTN@tfff.org.
About The Ford Family Foundation
The Ford Family Foundation was established in 1957 by Kenneth W. and Hallie E. Ford. Its mission is “successful citizens and vital rural communities” in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. The Foundation is located in Roseburg, Oregon, with a scholarship office in Eugene. www.tfff.org
General media inquiries
Sarah Pytalski, Learning Officer – Policy and Communications
(541) 492-2396, email@example.com