New Residents Boost the Bend-Redmond Metro’s Population GrowthJune 12, 2018 “The mountains are calling and I must go.” While John Muir, a preservationist of the 1800s, wasn’t originally referring to Oregon’s Cascade Mountains in this famous line of his, it closely applies to the growing appeal of the Bend-Redmond metropolitan area. With the mountain peaks right in its backyard, many people have followed the draw and moved to the area in the last several years. In fact, the components of local population growth are taking on a completely new landscape.
The population of the Bend-Redmond metro area, effectively Deschutes County, has seen very consistent growth for over a decade with only a slight decrease from 2009 to 2010 of less than 1,000 people. Ever since, the county has been growing like a weed. In fact, the Bend-Redmond population has increased nearly 20 percent since 2010. Washington County came in second for population growth at 11 percent in the same timeframe. With so many amenities available to outdoor enthusiasts, families, and the like, many people are taking notice and packing up to move to the county east of the Cascades. There’s been a substantial increase in the rate at which new residents are contributing to the area’s annual population growth.
In 2011, net migration was responsible for 74 percent of the annual population growth in the Bend-Redmond metro, while 26 percent was due to the natural increase of the population – i.e. more births than deaths. Fast forward to the latest 2017 estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and now 93 percent of population growth was due to a net increase in new residents. However, it seems that the rate of population growth may be beginning to slow a bit.
The metro’s population experienced a 1.2 percent annual growth rate in 2011, revved all the way up to 3.7 percent in 2016, and slowed slightly to 3.4 percent this last year. For reference, Oregon’s total population grew at a rate of 1.4 percent in 2017. It’s too early to say definitely whether the Bend-Redmond metro’s very fast population growth is beginning to cool. Growth continues to far outpace the statewide trend. As jobs continue to open up and remain available, people will most likely continue moving to the heart of Central Oregon to take advantage of the many employment opportunities.