Eastern Oregon’s Population Growth Below Average in 2020

by Tony Wendel

January 7, 2021

Portland State University’s Population Research Center recently released 2020 population estimates for Oregon and its counties and cities. Oregon’s population rose by 0.7% from 2019 to 2020, increasing by 31,655 to total 4,268,055. Among Oregon’s counties, Deschutes County ranked first with a growth rate of 2.1% followed by Sherman and Morrow counties at 1.4% and 1.1%, respectively.

Eastern Oregon’s eight counties (Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa) combined had a growth rate of only 0.3%. Morrow, Baker, and Umatilla counties ranked in the upper half of Oregon’s 36 counties for growth rate from 2019 to 2020.

Morrow County ranked highest among Eastern Oregon’s counties, growing by 1.1% and ranking in a three-way tie for third in Oregon. Morrow added 145 residents to total 12,825.

Baker County had the next highest growth rate, adding 90 residents to total 16,910 for growth of 0.5% which ranked in a tie for 14th among Oregon’s counties.

Umatilla County (Eastern Oregon’s largest county) ranked close behind Baker County in a tie for 16th position with a growth rate of 0.4%. Umatilla County rose by 335 residents from 2019 to 2020 to total 81,495.

Malheur County’s population grew by 0.2% to rank in a three-way tie for 20th, climbing by 75 residents to total 32,105.

Wallowa County added 10 residents to total 7,160, a growth rate of 0.1% which put it in a three-way tie for 23rd position.

Union County was one of six Oregon counties to show no growth in the estimates, ranking in a six-way tie for 26th in growth rate. Union County population was estimated at 26,840 in both 2019 and 2020.

Grant and Harney counties were among five counties to show a decrease in population from 2019 to 2020. Grant County’s population fell by 45 residents to total 7,315, a decline of 0.6%, which ranked 35th in Oregon. Harney County ranked last among Oregon’s counties with a decline of -1.1%, losing 80 residents to total 7,280.

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