Population Growth, Educational Attainment, and Projected Job Openings in Linn CountyDecember 1, 2022
Since 2000, the Linn County resident population has been steadily increasing, and while it is estimated that the resident population declined by 662 in 2020, it is also estimated to have increased by 903 in 2021. In fact, in 2021, according to the recently published data by the American Community Survey (ACS), there were 129,839 individuals living in Linn County. Of these individuals, 37.2% were considered of prime working age (that is, between 25 and 54 years of age). While those aged 25 to 34 represented 12.6% of the population (the largest age group), another 12.3% were aged 35 to 44, and yet another 12.3% were aged 45 to 54.
Another 37.6% of those living in Linn County are of retirement age, close to retirement age, or unlikely to be in the workforce due to age. Specifically, 19.2% are 65 years of age or older and already of retirement age or nearing it, while another 18.4% are 14 years of age or younger and unlikely to work, 14 being the minimum age at which a minor can work in Oregon.
As the Linn County population grows, so does educational attainment, but not only in numbers. The proportion of Linn County residents with some sort of educational attainment has been on the rise, while the share of residents with less than a high school education has been declining. In 2019, 12.3% of Linn County residents, aged 25 years or older (90,157), had attained less than a high school diploma. This had dropped 4.4 percentage points to 7.9% by 2021. In comparison, approximately 92.1% graduated with a high school diploma (including equivalency) or higher in 2021, up from 87.7% in 2019.
Educational attainment in Linn County is not distributed evenly, though. Roughly 64.7% of individuals 25 years or older have not attained a degree past high school or its equivalency, most of whom attended some college but did not graduate with a degree (29.2%). That said, higher educational attainment is on the rise. By 2021, 35.3% of individuals 25 years or older in Linn County had attained an associate’s degree or higher, with 15.1% having attained a bachelor’s degree, and another 8.4% a graduate or professional degree. For comparison, in 2019, 28.3% of the 90,157 Linn County residents, aged 25 years or older, had attained an associate’s degree or higher, while an additional 12.2% reported having attained a bachelor’s degree, and 6.6% a graduate or professional degree.
This information compares well against the Oregon Employment Department’s current employment projections. It is currently projected that more than 38% of average entry level job openings in the Mid-Valley region require a high school diploma, and another 37% require less than a high school diploma. Therefore, 75% of all entry-level job openings in the Mid-Valley region will require a high school diploma or less, while 64.5% of Linn County residents 25 years or older have an educational attainment level beyond high school. As it stands, most Linn County residents aged 25 and up are overqualified for these entry-level positions.