PSU’s Population Research Center Releases Preliminary Oregon Population Estimates
Author: Portland State University
Posted: November 15, 2019

Oregon’s population increased by 41,100 between 2018 and 2019, largely because of new residents moving to the state, according to new preliminary 2019 estimates from Portland State University’s Population Research Center.  With the 2020 Census around the corner, the state has already added more than 400,000 residents in the decade since 2010.

 The preliminary July 1 population estimates show that Oregon’s population grew from 4,195,300 in 2018 to 4,236,400 in 2019, a 1.0 percent increase. 

Population growth consists of two factors: natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths) and net migration (people moving in minus people moving out).  From 2018 to 2019, net migration accounted for roughly 86 percent of Oregon’s population growth, similar to its share between 2017 and 2018. Due to an aging population and declining birth rates, births to Oregon residents outnumbered deaths by less than 6,000. 

The number of people moving to Oregon exceeded the number moving out by over 35,000.  While this number is greater than the net migration observed each year during the recession and recovery between 2008 and 2014, it has fallen from more recent years, mirroring the slowdown in employment growth.  

Oregon’s three most populous counties (Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas) accounted for nearly half of the state's growth between 2018 and 2019. Multnomah and Washington counties each added more than 7,000 residents, and Clackamas County added almost 4,000.  

Other counties with large numeric growth included Deschutes (4,020), Lane (3,760), and Marion (3,725).

The largest percentage growth occurred in Morrow (6.7 percent) and Crook (3.2 percent) Counties.

The federal Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) designation applies to 13 of Oregon’s 36 counties.  Together these 13 counties accounted for a population increase of 37,585, 91 percent of the state’s growth.

Among Oregon’s 36 counties, 21 experienced natural decrease, meaning there were more deaths than births. These included eastern, southwestern, and coastal counties. In many, but not all counties, net in-migration (more people moving in than out) offsets these decreases. 

Among incorporated cities and towns:

  • Portland continued to add more residents than other cities in Oregon. Its 2019 population of 657,100 includes growth of 8,360 (1.3 percent) between 2018 and 2019.
  • Salem had the second biggest population gain among Oregon cities, adding 1,955 residents (1.2 percent) to reach a population of 167,220 in 2019.
  • Other Oregon cities adding more than 1,500 residents each were Bend and Eugene. The Population Research Center produces annual population estimates for Oregon and its counties and incorporated cities using the most recent available data, if a city has not submitted recent data, its population remains unchanged from its previously certified estimate.

These estimates are based on fluctuations in the numbers of housing units, persons residing in group quarter facilities, births and deaths, students enrolled in public school, persons employed, Medicare enrollees, State and Federal tax exemptions, Oregon driver license holders as well as other administrative data that are symptomatic of population change.

The preliminary population estimates are subject to revision during a month review period. The final July 1 population estimates will be certified by December 15. The annual population estimates are revised quarterly to account for annexations throughout the year.

For more information and to view the preliminary population estimates, visit the Population Research Center’s website.