Oregon’s Population Growth Continues to Slow, PSU Research Finds

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Oregon’s Population Growth Continues to Slow, PSU Research Finds
by Blair Stenvick


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Oregon’s population grew by more than 400,000 people over the last decade, according to new data from Portland State University (PSU)—but the state’s population growth is now slowing down.

Each year, PSU’s Population Research Center releases a report tracking population growth over the last year. Preliminary numbers for this year’s report, released Friday, show that between July 2018 and July 2019, the state’s population grew from 4,195,300 to 4,236,400—an overall 1 percent increase. That growth has much more to do with new people moving to Oregon than it did with the state’s birth and death rates, according to a PSU press release:

“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.”

Thirty-five thousand more people moved to Oregon than away from Oregon between July 2018 and 2019. While that’s still a higher net migration than the state saw during the last recession, between 2008 and 2014, it is lower than more recent numbers: 47,000 last year, and about 56,000 the year before that. PSU attributes that steep drop to a “slowdown in employment growth.”

Multnomah County’s population growth mirrored that of the state’s, with an overall one percent increase. PSU’s data puts the county’s current population at 821,730.

PSU’s press release notes that the state grew by over 400,000 residents since 2010—a metric that could be important during the 2020 Census and subsequent nationwide congressional redistricting. Political experts expect Oregon to gain a sixth congressional seat due to population growth. But because congressional seats are distributed proportionally across the country, Oregon’s congressional makeup will depend on how its growth compares to the other 49 states’ growth—meaning there isn’t a magic number that will determine whether or not Oregon picks up a new seat.

The Population Research Center preliminary data will be subject to review over the next month, and will be finalized in December.

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