Posted by: Josh Lehner | May 21, 2015

Graph of the Week: Oregon Population

The fact that Oregon receives a large influx of migrants in any given year is well known. In both good times and bad, Americans choose to move to Oregon. However, this influx tends to be concentrated in both young and old individuals or households. Think 20- and 30-somethings (the so-called Young and Restless) and retirees. Not only do these trends impact the state’s demography (and geography) but also many of our economic measures like the labor force force participation rate and per capita personal income, to name two. It is also a big part of the Timber Belt story.


Such trends and changes are important to keep in mind when thinking about and analyzing the state. What are the impacts such generations, or cohorts, have on Oregon? What does it mean for crime rates, health care needs, and apartments? Specifically regarding per capita personal income as a measure of well-being, a topic I will return to next week, it’s important to point out that both of these groups (the young and restless, and retirees) are not in their peak earning years, which can weigh on the overall measure as well, in addition to broader economic trends in the state.

In terms of the outlook, our office’s forecast calls for these trends to continue. Migration flows have already accelerated in recent years and the number of migrants is nearly back to housing boom era figures, but not quite yet. As such, Oregon will see above average population gains, concentrated particularly among the younger and older age groups. Lastly, as seen in the graph above, Oregon already is a bit older than the typical state (median age 39 vs 37.6 nationwide) and even with strong in-migration among the younger households, this relative position is unlikely to change substantially in the next handful of years.

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