Community Profile

Salem is the capital city of Oregon with a population over 160,000. Centrally located, Salem is 47 miles south of Portland and an hour from the Cascade Mountains and the ocean beaches. Salem is in the midst of sustained, steady growth. Ongoing preservation of historic downtown buildings, along with a downtown core master plan for residential and commercial development, ensures managed growth.

Salem is an exceptional community for living and working with new and well-established neighborhoods. Residents represent many cultural and religious groups resulting in a vibrant and diverse community. Many who live in the Salem area do so because of its family-friendly ambiance and small town feel.

Our commutes are short, our air pure, our parks are beautiful. We have abundant land for development, a ready and willing workforce, great training programs, and a city that works hard to make doing business easy.



Salem is uniquely equipped with flexible and responsive workforce training resources to connect you to Salem's job ready workforce, including specialized or custom training programs.

The region consists of two counties which combine to form the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) with Oregon’s State Capital, Salem at its center. With abundant natural resources, the Mid-Willamette Valley is the greatest producer of agriculture products in Oregon. The region is also a strong manufacturing and distribution region with a prime location on Interstate 5 between California and Washington.

Metropolitan Quick Facts

​Private businesses​10,455
​Private employment​116,104
​Total population​390,738
​Median household income​$45, 013
​Median home price​$201,300
​Cost of living​2.3% below national average
​Unemployment rate​5.5%

Source: Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)

​Salem Tax Structure

​Retail Sales Tax​None
​Oregon Corporate Franchise Tax​6.0%
​Salem Business License Fee​None

Source: Urban Development Department

​Our economy

The State of Oregon is Salem’s largest employer. Salem also has a wide range of industries and private employers. The City’s largest private employer, Salem Hospital, offers top medical services. The addition of high-tech to the local economy has provided steady growth in manufacturing. Other industries include trade, transportation, utilities, agriculture, food and beverage processing, education, health services, and professional and business services. Major employers include Kettle Foods, Garmin, Panasonic, Yamasa, West Salem Machinery, and Gilgamesh Brewing.


​Proven strengths in Traded Industry Sectors

​Top industry groups​Businesses​Employees​% of total
​Trade, transportation, and utilities​1,79823,547​​15.80%
​Education and health services​1,225​21,29314.30%​
​Leisure and hospitality​895​12,313​8.30%
​Professional and business services​1,383​11,239​7.60%
​Natural resources and mining​565​11,165​7.50%

​Top Willamette Valley Traded Sector Employers

  • Truitt Bros., Inc.
  • T Mobile US, Inc.
  • Norpac Foods, Inc.
  • Wells Fargo Call Center
  • Don Poncho Authentic Mexican Foods, Inc.
  • Kettle Foods, Inc. / Diamond Foods, Inc.
  • Rainsweet, Inc.
  • Panasonic Econ Solutions Solar America LLC
  • Garmin AT
  • Portland General Electric
  • Willamette Valley Fruit Company

​Our community

Salem offers unique historical attractions and cultural arts including non-profit theater, music, dance, literature, art associations, historical museums, and art galleries. Salem’s Riverfront Park hosts a variety of events and is home to an outdoor amphitheater, Salem’s Riverfront Carousel, and Gilbert House Children’s Museum. Salem’s Downtown features unique boutiques, restaurants, breweries, cideries, and bakeries.

Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the City’s more than 2,100 acres of parkland and outdoor activities including golfing, cycling, fishing and boating, or enjoying picturesque settings and an abundance of wildlife. Salem earned bronze Bicycle Friendly Community and was ranked by Bicycle Magazine as one of the top 50 cities in the U.S. for biking. Sports enthusiasts enjoy watching Willamette University sports, minor-league baseball at the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Stadium, or catching the Cascade Surge Soccer team in Bush’s Pasture Park. Wallace Sports Complex hosts local, regional, and national softball and soccer competitions, bringing in over $3.5 million to the local economy. During summer months, visitors can rent paddle boards to explore the Willamette River.

​Workforce around Salem

​Area ​Number of workers
​City of Salem ​83,088
​5-mile radius ​102,644
​10-mile radius ​121,887
​15-mile radius ​141,622
​30-mile radius ​318,009
​45-mile radius


  • 33,000 in high tech
  • 20,000 in metals
  • 33,000 in transportation/distribution

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013

​Our schools

Salem has an excellent K-12 school system (including public, parochial, and private schools), educating over 41,000 students daily. Grammy Award winning music programs and high-performing athletes make the district unique. Located within an hour of Salem are several universities, colleges, and vocational schools that provide undergraduate and graduate programs as well as workforce training, Career and Technical Education Center, a new and growing public/private educational partnership, links students with training in key emerging sectors.

​Salem Education

​High school graduates​86.5%​2010
​Bachelor's degree or higher​25.9%​2010

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

College and University Enrollment

​Name​# of Students​Year
​Chemeketa Community College​29,820​2016
​Corban College​1,232​2016
​Western Oregon University5,445​2016
​Willamette University2,673​2016

Source: Respective websites

 Offsite information

 Additional information

Contact us

Urban Development Department
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
350 Commercial ST NE
Salem OR 97301