Yup, that’s us, right there between Greenville and Bakersfield on America’s brokest cities list

Medford has a way of ending up on all sorts of lists, ranging from retirement and self-employment to divorce rates.
Here’s one from the Daily Beast website to kindle debates at the fitness club or coffee klatch.
Daily Beast research equally weighted August 2011 unemployment, median household income, and average debt. It threw in the average credit score for each city, but didn’t use it in the rankings. “The cities struggling the most right now — the ones that may take the longest to recover — are clustered in the South and along the Pacific Coast.

At the time the list was compiled, the Medford Statistical Area’s jobless rate was 11.2 percent. (It’s since dropped below 10 percent.) Our median household income was $40,177 and the average personal debt was $25,013. Medford’s credit score, however, was a healthy 760.

Now there’s no way to know where the Daily Beast came up with photos, representing their “Bottom 30″ but there is one thing for certain. The photo depicting Medford isn’t even in Jackson County, it’s not even on this side of the Cascades. A select panel of Mail Tribune reporters, who know their way around Klamath County, decided it was either on the Klamath Lake canoe trail or on the Wood River.

Right ahead  – or below — since we’re talking the brokest places is Greenville, N.C., which lays claim to some of the country’s top BMX professionals. Greenville’s jobless rate was 10.9 percent, its median household income was $39,664 with personal debt of $25,177. The credit score? 730. Yup, we got ‘em beat.

At No. 6, something better than Medford, is Bakersfield, an agricultural linchpin in California’s Central Valley. It has woeful unemployment of 14.4 percent. But its median household income of $45,524 is well above its average personal debt of $25,697. The real knock on Bakersfield is an average credit score of 709.

On top of the bottom rung, we find Columbus, Ga., whose median household income of $36,553 is less than $9,000 more than its average personal debt of $27,928. Never mind, the 9.8 percent jobless rate, just remember the average credit score is 721.

At No. 30 — hey, you’ve got to start somewhere — is Las Vegas. You get the feeling if “Sin City” would’ve been No. 50, we’ve would’ve seen the “50 Brokest Cities in America.” The jobless rate is 14.2 percent, while the median income is $52,437 — well above the $24,975 average personal debt. The average credit score down in the desert, 709. Apparently, too man folks don’t know when to fold ‘em in Vegas.



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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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