We at The Advocate like to see our humble publication as a voice for, and extension of, this community. We’ve gotten to know people like the Mayor and other movers and shakers pretty well, but sometimes it helps to take a closer look at the everyday people we serve. You are the people we do this for, and frankly, the people who allow us to exist in the first place (thank you). That’s why this week we’re talking to the butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers for our “Won’t You Be Our Neighbor” project, and every good study needs a control.
Borrowing from an article we noticed in The Oregonian some months back titled “The Typical Oregonian,” we’ve scaled it down a bit to create a hypothetical average Corvallisite. Pouring through census data, Bureau of Labor Statistics, OSU stats, and many other sources, we’ve conjured an image of a standard resident of our peachy little town. We’re also going to have a larf and make up some fun generalizations. We are The Advocate, after all….
The average resident of Corvallis is a 27-year-old man; men outnumber women 51 to 49 percent. This differs distinctly from the average Oregonian, who’s a female in her late 40s. The difference might have something to do with that big school in the middle of town. In fall of 2017, men outnumbered women at OSU by almost 2,000, and men under 25 were the largest age/gender demographic enrolled.
We could have some fun and give this kid a dumb millennial name like Bradyn, but the Social Security Administration tells us that the top two most popular Oregon male baby names in 1991, the year the average Corvallisite was born, were Robert at number one, followed by Jacob. We’ve already established that the average Corvallisite differs from the typical Oregonian, so we’ll call him Jake just to be safe.
Try not to be so surprised here, but Jake is a white dude; 84.4 percent of our population is caucasian, 12 percent above the national statistic. We mention this a lot: Oregon’s deeply racist history continues to affect us to this day, and we’ll continue to mention this until it stops. We don’t bring this up to suggest that there’s anything wrong with you, Jake. We love you just the way you are.
Jake has a bachelor’s degree along with the 60.2 percent of us with a bachelor’s or higher. He’s also a working man; as of April 2016, only 2.6 percent of us were unemployed. This is significantly lower than the statewide rate of four percent, which is a record low for Oregon. Jake’s commute takes 17 minutes and 20 seconds, which would be shorter if people actually drove the speed limit on Ninth Street. He works in an office; the most common occupation in Corvallis is office and administrative support.
The good news may stop there, however; Jake only makes $31,923 a year, approximately 15.31 an hour, an average between the Corvallis per capita income and the mean wage in Jake’s occupational field. The poverty rate for Corvallis is a staggering 27.5 percent according to state statistics, more than twice the poverty rate for Oregon as a whole.
Jake rents his home. The rate of home ownership in Corvallis, at 44 percent, is significantly less than other area municipalities, the state, or the nation. Granted, it is hard to ascertain the level of significance that students have on this stat, and much of the other data for that matter. However, it is well documented that Corvallis has a serious problem with housing affordability. Last year, The Oregonian reported that the average rental household in Corvallis was unable to afford even a one bedroom apartment.
Luckily for Jake, he isn’t alone in all of this; the average household in Corvallis is approximately two people. 57 percent of Corvallis residents have never been married, but we’d like to think that ol’ lover-boy Jake (his nickname in high school) lives with his significant other. They have a loving relationship that emphasizes communication and affection. Their household income is $43,922 per year. We imagine that they confront their challenges one day at a time, and find happiness in each other.
We’re all out of statistics, but we know Jake well enough that we can continue to speculate about certain aspects of his life.
He’s an avid lover of craft beer and ciders. When he’s traveling out of state, he gets excited when he sees 2 Towns Pacific Pineapple at the local taphouse and tells the bartender that he lives down the street from where they make the stuff. The bartender could care less, but feigns interest anyway.
Jake loves the outdoors. In his free time, you might find him wandering around the McDonald-Dunn Forest, or some of our other beautiful nearby trails. He probably loves going to the farmer’s market and brings his own bags, despite not being a friendly late 40s woman with a colorful, flowy skirt. His tater tot intake is significantly larger than that of the average American.
We assume that Jake’s defining characteristics are his friendliness and compassion. Life isn’t always easy for him, but he will always take time out of his day to help his friends, family, and neighbors.
The average Corvallisite genuinely cares about this community and the welfare of its citizens, and this alone makes Corvallis, and the world, a better place to live.
By Jay Sharpe