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Oregon’s population keeps rising, now at 4.1 million

November 17, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s population is growing at a strong clip, driven by people coming from out of state.

The state added 64,750 people between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, according to new estimates released by the Population Research Center at Portland State University. The 1.6 percent increase follows a similar gain the year before, pushing Oregon’s population to more than 4.1 million.

People migrating to Oregon accounted for 88 percent of the jump. The other 12 percent was due to more births than deaths, what’s known as a natural increase.

Because of an aging population and declining birth rates, the natural increase now contributes less to Oregon’s population growth than at any time since the 1930s, PSU researcher Charles Rynerson said Friday.

But people from out of state are flocking to the Portland area and central Oregon.

Portland gained more residents than any other city, with an estimated 639,100 people now living within its limits. The tri-county Portland metropolitan area saw the largest gains in population from 2016 to 2017.

Multnomah and Washington counties each added more than 12,000 residents, and Clackamas County added just over 8,000.

Deschutes County in central Oregon had the largest increase by percentage — 3.6 percent. Its largest city, Bend, added 3,265 residents to reach a population of 86,765.

The report doesn’t indicate where the transplants are coming from, but other data have shown they most often arrive from Western U.S. states. Oregonians have a decades-old habit of blaming Californians for increased traffic and other problems.

“California is so big that a few people who move here from there can seem to us like a lot,” Rynerson said. “But for them, it’s a drop in the bucket — of people leaving.”

Elsewhere in Oregon, Eugene (167,255) remained slightly ahead of Salem (163,480) in the race to be Oregon’s second-largest city. Gresham is still Oregon’s fourth-largest city, followed by Hillsboro, which just surpassed 100,000 people.

The population barely budged in some of Oregon’s sparsely populated eastern counties. The research center estimates Grant, Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler counties added just 40 residents combined. The coastal counties of Coos, Curry and Lincoln also saw gains of less than 1 percent.

Oregon law requires the research center to prepare the estimates each year. The researchers come up with estimates by looking at a variety of factors, such as births, deaths, school enrollments and changes in housing stock.

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