In 2017, Oregon’s population increased by 64,750 to 4,141,100. This marked growth of 1.6 percent over the year, and growth of 8.1 percent since the 2010 Census. There are two main reasons that lead to population change. First, an area increases in population if more births than deaths occur in a given year or vice versa. Second, population can increase or decrease through net migration. That is, over the year, people either move into or out of an area. A positive value of net migration means more people moving into an area than leaving it, while a negative value of net migration indicates more people leaving an area than moving in.
In 2017, natural increase contributed 7,900 to population growth, which was the lowest since comparable records began in 1960. The low natural increase is caused by an increase of the number of deaths (36,800), which was the highest since 1960. Since 2011, Oregon had a relatively low natural increase relative to the prior four decades.
Oregon Continues to Attract Migrants
A lot of Oregon’s population increase in 2017 was due to net migration, which at 56,800 people was the largest net migration since 1991.
Over the past 20 years, Oregon had an average net migration of 27,800 people per year. The lowest number of net migrants over the last 20 years was 7,000 in 2010. In general, we see net migrants increase as the economy expands and more jobs become available. Notice that prior to the Great Recession, net migration was booming in Oregon. As the recession hit, people became less mobile. This, combined with Oregon experiencing a deeper recession than the nation as a whole, brought net migration to its lowest levels since the 1980s.