Net Migration Lifted Wasco County’s Population from 2010 to 2016

by Dallas Fridley

May 11, 2017

Portland State University’s Population Research Center recently released its 2016 annual Oregon population report tables, which detail components of population change: net migration; births; deaths; and natural increase (https://www.pdx.edu/prc/population-reports-estimates). Wasco County’s population growth rate from 2010 to 2016 ranked as Oregon’s eighth fastest, at 5.9 percent. Wasco County’s population rose to 26,700 in 2016, an increase of 1,487 residents since 2010. Three non-metro Columbia Gorge counties, Wasco, Hood River (2nd) and Gilliam (10th) all ranked in Oregon’s top 10. Deschutes County’s growth (Bend-Redmond MSA) from 2010 to 2016 led Oregon, producing a population gain of 12.0 percent. Four Portland-Vancouver, Hillsboro MSA counties, including Washington (3rd), Clackamas (4th), Multnomah (5th) and Yamhill (9th), ranked in Oregon’s top 10. Benton County (6th) and Marion County (7th) also cracked the top 10.

Net migration provided the underlying strength Oregon relied upon to produce a population gain of 6.4 percent from 2010 to 2017. Oregon’s population rose by 245,276 with just over 70 percent of its growth attributed to net migration. From 2010 to 2016, Oregon gained about 45 net migrants per 1,000 residents (2010) to reach 4,076,350.
Wasco County’s net migration ranked sixth in Oregon from 2010 to 2016, at 61 per 1,000 – but well below Deschutes County’s 104.7 per 1,000. Net migration represented all of Wasco County’s net population growth as its rate of natural increase from 2010 to 2016 was actually negative. Wasco County’s birth rate, at 75.6 births per 1,000 residents, ranked in 11th place from 2010 to 2016 but its death rate was even higher, at 77.6 per 1,000 (7th highest); well above Oregon’s at 49.3 per 1,000. Wasco County’s rate of natural increase (births minus deaths) ranked a surprising 22nd in Oregon from 2010 to 2016, at -2.0 per 1,000. Washington County led Oregon from 2010 to 2016 with a natural increase of 47.3 per 1,000. Among Oregon’s 36 counties, 16 produced a negative rate of natural increase from 2010 to 2016, with Curry County’s -53.0 per 1,000 ranking 36th.


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