Corvallis and Salem generally kept with the statewide trend of slower year-to-year growth from 2007 through 2011, followed by an upturn in population growth in 2012. Corvallis fell below the statewide population growth rate each year. Salem's population showed slower growth than Oregon at its most recent peak in 2006. Although growth pared down from one year to the next, the population slowdown was less pronounced in the capital region, resulting in annual growth rates above Oregon's each year from 2009 to 2011. Salem's population bump in 2012 (0.8%) also edged out Oregon's.
Population growth rates in Bend far outpaced all other areas of the state from 2006 to 2009. At its peak in 2006, the then-booming Central Oregon population hub grew by 5.7 percent. Bend also followed along the declining growth trend in successive years, but population gains plummeted faster and bottomed out below the state's at 0.4 percent in 2010. Despite the region's continued economic sluggishness, Bend's population gains outperformed Oregon again in 2011 and 2012, although not at the large rates seen leading up to the recession.
Unlike Oregon and the other metropolitan areas, both Eugene and Medford showed straight-line population growth of 0.3 percent each year in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Eugene's population growth fell below Oregon's each year since 2006. Medford, on the other hand, showed stronger population growth than Oregon statewide in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Some non-metro counties countered the population growth picture painted thus far. At the peak population growth time for many areas in 2006, Sherman County lost 1.1 percent of its residents, Grant County's population declined by 0.8 percent, and Malheur County had a population decline of 0.4 percent. While no county in any metropolitan area showed a decline in population in any year between 2006 and 2012, the number of non-metro counties with population declines ranged from six to 12 in any given year. Annual population declines occurred in all but one year between 2006 and 2012 in Harney and Wheeler counties (Table 1). Several other counties along the Columbia Gorge, in Eastern Oregon, and along the South Coast also saw more years with population declines than years with gains.
|Oregon Counties With Annual Population Declines, 2006 to 2012|
|Source: Portland State University, Population Research Center|
Detailed population tables for 2012 and prior years are available at www.pdx.edu/prc/population-estimates-0