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Oregon’s Preliminary Population Estimates Indicate an Increase of 35,290 during the Past Year
Author: Risa Proehl, Population Research Center
Posted: January 6, 2014

(Portland, Ore.) Nov. 19, 2013 — Portland State University’s Population Research Center (PRC) has released the preliminary 2013 population estimates for Oregon and its cities and counties.

According to the preliminary July 1 population estimates, Oregon’s population increased from 3,883,735 in 2012 to 3,919,025 in 2013, or by 35,290. This increase represents a 0.9 percent change, slightly higher than in the previous year (0.7 percent). The increase in 2013 is around 9,200 higher than added in 2012. For some perspective, average annual population growth of the 2000s was 41,000; during the 1980s, which were economically more challenging times, the average annual increase was around 21,000, and in the more prosperous times of the 1990s, it was around 58,000 per year. 

Population growth consists of two factors: natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths) and net migration (movers-in minus movers-out). From 2012 to 2013 Oregon’s population growth was attributed more to net migration (66%) than to natural increase (34%). Conversely, during the Great recession natural increase was more responsible statewide population increases. However, prior to 2009 and including the 1990s, net migration accounted for most of Oregon’s annual population growth, and natural increase contributed between only one-quarter and one-third. From 2012 to 2013, about 12,000 persons were added to the State population because of the natural increase, which was about the same as in the previous year. Approximately 23,300 residents were added due to a net in-flow of movers (more than double the number in the previous year). 

The counties that experienced the largest gains in population from 2012 to 2013 are the ones with the largest populations. As in the previous several years, Multnomah and Washington counties added the highest number of persons – each adding around 8,000 residents from 2012 to 2013. Clackamas, Marion, and Deschutes counties each added over 2,000 to their populations; and Lane and Jackson counties each adding over 1,000. The population increases in these seven counties contributed to over 80 percent of the statewide population growth this year. Thirteen other counties experienced increases ranging between over 100 to under 1,000 persons.

Sixteen of Oregon’s thirty-six counties saw little population change in the past year (less than a 100 person change). There are three counties, however, that are estimated to have experienced very slight decreases (55 or less). The population losses in these counties are attributed to a natural decrease, as the number of deaths exceeded the number of births. In better economic times when it is easier for people to move around, net in-migration offsets the natural decrease so that overall population increases are likely to be expected.

In terms of relative change, (i.e. percent change), ten counties saw increases higher than the State. Although represented by an addition of 45 persons, Gilliam County experienced the largest percentage gain (2.4 percent) followed by Hood River, Washington, and Deschutes counties (1.8 percent, 1.5 percent, and 1.5 percent, respectively). Thirty-eight cities experienced growth in the past year at rates higher than the State. Sharp population increases in some of the smaller cities are due to the construction of apartments.

Oregon’s incorporated cities have gained almost 20,000 people from 2012 to 2013, with a combined 2013 total of just over 2,716,000. Incorporated cities collectively capture about seventy percent of the state’s population, about the same as in the last few years. Preliminary estimates also show that cities accounted for 54 percent of Oregon’s population increase, a higher percentage than in 2012. 

The preliminary estimates show population increases in over half of Oregon’s 242 incorporated cities from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, with 30 cities adding more than 100 persons. Portland added the greatest number of persons, increasing its population by 4,200, followed by Salem, Eugene, and Wilsonville – each adding over 1,000 persons. Twenty-six cities and towns are estimated to have a population change of between 100 and 900 during the period.

Fourteen of Oregon’s cities are estimated to have between 5 and 35 fewer persons in 2013 than in 2012. The losses are attributed to a decrease in the group quarters population (persons living in group living situations such as jails, college dormitories, and nursing homes), the removal of mobile homes, or the demolition of housing units.

The preliminary population estimates can be found on PRC’s Web site at : http://www.pdx.edu/prc/population-estimates-0 .

About Portland State University (PSU)

Located in Portland, Oregon, PSU has about 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. PSU’s motto is “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” and we provide every student with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects. Our downtown campus exhibits PSU’s commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while sustainability is incorporated into much of the curriculum.

About the Population Research Center

PRC produces annual population estimates for Oregon, and its counties and incorporated cities using the most recent available data. These estimates are based on changes in the number of housing units, persons residing in group quarter facilities, births and deaths, students enrolled in public school, persons in the labor force, Medicare enrollees, State and Federal tax exemptions, Oregon driver license holders, and other administrative data. Statewide housing and group quarters’ population data are collected from annual questionnaires sent directly to Oregon’s cities and counties. If we do not receive updated annual data from a city, its population estimate remains the same as the previous year. The annual population estimates are used in revenue distribution to local governments and in program administration.