2018 Rogue Valley Population Estimates Show Continued GrowthNovember 29, 2018 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. This continues the trend of steadily recovering population growth rates coming out of the Great Recession, but at a slightly slower pace than last year. From July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018 Jackson County gained 2,300 new residents for a total population of 219,200. Josephine County added 745 new residents during that same time period to reach a total of 86,395 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 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 through 2017, climbing to just under 1.5 percent before slowing a bit to an increase of 1.1 percent from 2017 to 2018. Josephine County’s population showed little change from 2011 to 2013. Population growth accelerated through 2016 and 2017, then growth rates slowed a bit to 0.9 percent between 2017 and 2018.
Cities and Towns
All city areas showed either no change or growth between 2017 and 2018 in the Rogue Valley. Medford gained an estimated 785 new residents, accounting for about one-third of Jackson County’s total population change. Faster-growing Eagle Point had an estimated 2.0 percent increase, or 175 new residents.
Over in Josephine County, Grants Pass added 150 new residents to reach 37,285 people. Cave Junction, the only other incorporated city in Josephine County, was unchanged with a population of 1,940. 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 no 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 inspire more people to call the Rogue Valley their home. Much more detail will be available when Portland State University’s Population Research Center releases their annual population report for 2018 a bit later, such as population by age, and components of population change.