Not from Around Here: Portland Metro’s Non-Native Residents Compared with Oregon-Born

Not from Around Here: Portland Metro’s Non-Native Residents Compared with Oregon-Born

by Amy Vander Vliet

August 22, 2016

It's no secret that thousands of people move to the Portland area every year. By 2014, nearly six out of every 10 people living in the greater metropolitan area, or nearly 1,000,000 residents, were born outside of Oregon (‘non-natives'). Only six other major metro areas (>1,000,000 people) have a larger share of non-natives: Las Vegas, Washington DC, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Phoenix. 

These non-native Portlanders are different than the Oregon-born contingent in age composition (older), educational attainment (more likely to have a Bachelor's degree or higher), income (higher), and race and ethnicity (more diverse).

Characteristics of Non-Natives vs. Oregonians


  • Non-natives comprise a larger share of the prime working age population: Over half of Portlanders who moved here from another state or country are between the ages of 25 and 54. In contrast, just one-third of Oregon-born Portlanders fall into this age group.
  • Native Oregonians make up most of Portland's youth: nearly three out of every four residents under the age of 18 were born here.
  • Portland's senior citizens are two-and-a-half times more likely to have moved here from another state at some point during their lives.


Non-native Portlanders are relatively over-represented on both ends of the education spectrum: they are more likely to have dropped out of high school compared with the native population, but they are also more likely to hold a Bachelor's degree or higher.


Portland residents born outside of Oregon but still within the United States have a higher median income than those born in Oregon ($32,200 vs. $27,737). However, the non-native Portlanders born outside the U.S. have a lower median income ($23,399).

Race and Ethnicity:

Non-native Portlanders make the region more diverse. Residents who were born out-of-state are more likely to be black, Asian, American Indian, or some other race compared with residents born in Oregon. They're also more ethnically diverse, with nearly 13 percent Hispanic compared with 9 percent of Oregonian Portlanders.