Deschutes County has a growth spurt

Census estimates say it’s fastest-growing county in Oregon

By Tim Doran / The Bulletin / @Newsinbendor

Published Mar 27, 2014 at 12:01AM

Deschutes County has regained a spot on the list of the nation’s 100 fastest-growing counties, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates made public today.

With an estimated population increase of 2.51 percent from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013, Deschutes County ranked 97th out of nearly 3,200 counties for which the Census Bureau released annual population estimates.

Its one-year growth rate also led the state of Oregon, with Washington County ranking second at 1.36 percent. Deschutes also topped the state’s other counties over three years, growing 5.21 percent from 2010 to 2013. Crook and Jefferson counties added population from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013, for the second straight year, according to the estimates, although both grew by less than 1 percent. For the three-year period, however, both showed declining growth, stemming from population losses in 2010.

Nationwide, areas in North Dakota and Texas, fueled by the oil boom, showed the highest population growth from 2012 to 2013, according to the Census Bureau.

When it comes to sheer numbers, Deschutes County’s population growth from 2012 to 2013 cannot compare with counties in the Portland metro area. Deschutes added about 4,065, bringing its estimated population on July 1, 2013, to 165,594 people.

Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas counties added about 7,450 people, 7,200 and 4,635, respectively. Statewide, Oregon added about 30,260 people from 2012 to 2013, according to the estimates. Over the three-year period it added nearly 99,000.

During the previous decade, Deschutes County also led the state in population growth, according to the 2010 Census. It recorded a 30 percent increase between 2000 and 2006, the year it ranked as the 60th fastest-growing county in the nation.

But the economic crisis that began in late 2007 slowed the population growth, although Deschutes still added nearly 2,200 people each year from July to July in 2011 and 2012, according to Census estimates.

The Census Bureau calculates estimates using births, deaths, administrative records and survey data and factors in migration, both domestic and international.

And it is people moving to Deschutes County from elsewhere in Oregon and other parts of the country that’s apparently fueling the growth.

The Census Bureau estimated the number of people moving into Deschutes County from other places in the U.S. — known as domestic migration — more than doubled from 2012-2013, increasing from 1,691 people in 2012 to 3,794 last year.

The county’s natural increase — a calculation of births over deaths — increased by 21 from 2012 to 2013, increasing from 392 to 413, according to the estimates.

— Reporter: 541-383-0360,

tdoran@bendbulletin.com