2017 Rogue Valley Population Estimates Show Continued Growth

by Guy Tauer

November 22, 2017

Portland State University’s Population Research Center recently released their preliminary population estimates for Oregon, its counties and incorporated cities. These data are still preliminary and subject to public comment and review for about one month. Historically, there have not been large changes between the preliminary and final published figures. Newly released numbers show the Rogue Valley continuing to gain new residents, continuing the trend of steadily recovering population growth rates coming out of the Great Recession. From July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017 Jackson County gained 3,135 new residents for a total population of 216,900. Josephine County added 975 new residents during that same time period to reach a total 85,650 residents.

Looking at the rate of population growth since 2011 shows a general improvement in the population growth rate following the last deep recession.
Jackson County’s population growth rate generally followed the statewide trend since 2011. Growth rates started out a bit slower than Oregon’s earlier in the decade, but have been just below the statewide rate since 2013. Jackson County’s population growth rate continued to accelerate from 2016 to 2017, climbing from about 1.3 percent to just under 1.5 percent in 2017. Josephine County’s population showed little change from 2011 to 2013. Population growth accelerated through 2016, then leveled off at about 1.1 percent in 2016 and 2017.

Cities and Towns

All city areas showed either no change or growth between 2016 and 2017 in the Rogue Valley. Medford had an estimated 1,090 new residents, accounting for about one-third of the county’s total population change. Fastest-growing Shady Cove had an estimated 2.1 percent increase, or 65 new residents.
Over in Josephine County, Grants Pass added 320 new residents to reach 37,135 people. Cave Junction, the only other incorporated city in Josephine County, gained 20 residents to reach a total population of 1,935. Both cities grew by about 1 percent from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017. If you are wondering about other smaller communities, Wonder, O’Brien, Selma, or White City for example, the Portland State University estimates only cover incorporated cities and towns. Damascus Oregon recently ended its incorporation, and is now longer published in this series. You would need to use Census Bureau estimates from the decennial census or the American Community Survey.

Population trends and growth rates have mirrored the overall economic improvement that Oregon and the Rogue Valley have experienced in the past few years. In-migration has been the driver of the Rogue Valley’s population change in recent years. More employment opportunities and the region’s continued perception as a desirable place to live continue to inspire more people to call the Rogue Valley their home. Much more detail will be available, such as population by age and components of population change, when Portland State University’s Population Research Center releases their annual population report for 2017 a bit later.

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