There are times where our office is asked why we discuss demographics, migration and population so much. In a picture, this is why. Look at Oregon (and the other small western states) relative to the rest of the country.
Nationally, 67% of Americans currently live in the state in which they were born (this is excluding foreign born and naturalized citizens), however in Oregon only about 50% of our population was born in the state and its even lower in our southern counties. I color coordinated the map to the national average. Yellow indicates the local share of residents born in the same state is comparable to the national share, while counties in shades of green have an above average share of same state residents. Counties that are orange and red have a below average share, indicating a larger presence of migrants.
Overall, Oregon’s population growth is heavily reliant upon migration. During the 90s and through the mid-2000s, nearly 3/4 of our population growth was due to net migration. However with the housing crash and overall lower mobility rates in the country, it accounts for much less today. Economic opportunities (jobs) and housing costs play major roles in migration. As the economy continues to expand, opening up more job opportunities, and Oregon continues to be a relative low cost housing location along the west coast, migration flows should return.
For more on where these migrants come from and where out migration occurs, please see this previous post. Our office will have much more in the near future on the subject as we will be discussing these dynamics with our advisors tomorrow and new microdata from the ACS is available next month.