Malheur County, Oregon

Malheur County is a county located in the southeast corner of the U.S. state of Oregon. The county was named for Malheur River, which flows through it. As of 2000, the population is 31,615. Its county seat is Vale. Ontario is the county's largest city.

Malheur County is part of the Ontario, OR–ID Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Malheur County was created February 17, 1887, from the southern portion of Baker County. It was first settled by miners and stockmen in the early 1860s. The discovery of gold in 1863 attracted further development, including settlements and ranches. Basques settled in the region in the 1890s and were mainly engaged in sheep raising.


The county is 94% rangeland, with the Bureau of Land Management controlling 72% of the land. Irrigated fields in the county's northeast corner, known as Western Treasure Valley, are the center of intensive and diversified farming. Malheur County's economy also depends on tourism.

Because of its economic relationship with Idaho, most of Malheur county observes Mountain Time, making it the only county in Oregon that does not completely follow Pacific Time. The largely unpopulated southern portion of the county, near McDermitt, observes Pacific Time. Malheur is one of the few counties in the United States that legally observes two different time zones.

The county's two largest employers are the Snake River Correctional Institution and Ore-Ida.

Malheur County is the poorest county in Oregon. As of 2008, 21% of its residents live in poverty.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 9,930 square miles (25,719 km²), of which, 9,887 square miles (25,607 km²) of it is land and 43 square miles (111 km²) of it (0.43%) is water.

Adjacent counties


As of the census of 2000, there were 31,615 people, 10,221 households, and 7,348 families residing in the county. The population density was 3 people per square mile (1/km²). There were 11,233 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (0/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 75.78% White, 1.22% Black or African American, 1.02% Native American, 1.96% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 17.38% from other races, and 2.56% from two or more races. 25.62% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.2% were of German, 10.5% English, 8.4% American and 6.9% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 79.4% spoke English and 19.4% Spanish as their first language.

There were 10,221 households out of which 36.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.30% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 23.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.28.

In the county, the population was spread out with 27.60% under the age of 18, 10.60% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 21.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 116.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 121.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,241, and the median income for a family was $35,672. Males had a median income of $25,489 versus $21,764 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,895. About 14.60% of families and 18.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.80% of those under age 18 and 11.60% of those age 65 or over.


Incorporated cities

Unincorporated communities


External links

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