Bend population approaching 100,000

The “Welcome to Bend” highway sign on Century Drive will need a big update if population projections are correct: The city could reach 100,000 people by the 2020 census, putting it on track to rival the populations of Portland’s largest suburbs. Redmond and Prineville also hit population milestones. (Andy Tullis/Bulletin file photo)

Oregon’s population increased by more than 40,000 people over the past year, or by 1%, according to a preliminary estimate from Portland State University’s Population Research Center. Bend’s population grew at a rate roughly double that, and Redmond’s at four times the state rate.

Last year, Oregon’s population increased by 54,200 people. The year before that, the state’s population grew by 64,750.

PSU’s research center said this slight slowdown in growth mirrors “the slowdown in employment growth.”

Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties grew between 1.2 and 3.2% from 2018 estimates. But the number of residents notably jumped by 10% in the City of Sisters this year — almost double the rate of any other city in Deschutes County. Sisters grew from 2,725 people to 2,985from July 2018 to July 2019, according to Portland State University researchers.

Redmond also gained more residents, jumping from 29,190 residents to just over 30,000, a 4.5% increase. La Pine’s population grew by just over 3%, which represents the addition of 60 new residents to the area.

Bend’s population was just over 91,000 people, according to the Portland State estimates, growing 2.1% from 89,505 in July 2018. Prineville saw a similar rate of growth, growing from 10,010 to 10,220.

Madras’ population grew the least this year at a rate less than 1%. Only 35 new residents came to town, bringing the population from 6,345 to 6,380, according to PSU.

The state’s aging population and a declining birth rate has also contributed to the slowdown statewide. In its report, PSU said Oregon’s births outnumbered deaths in the past year by less than 6,000.

A continuing trend is that the state’s growth relies more on people moving to Oregon, rather than new residents being born here.

In this past year, the number of people moving to the state has been the main factor of population growth, accounting for 86% of new residents.

The Portland metro area accounted for nearly half of the state’s growth from 2018 to 2019. Multnomah and Washington counties each added more than 7,000 new residents, PSU said, and Clackamas County added almost 4,000.

Other counties with a large number of new residents included Deschutes, with more than 4,000, and Lane and Marion, both with about 3,700 new residents.

The largest percentage of growth occurred in Morrow and Crook counties, with 6.7% and 3.2% growth, respectively.

— Bulletin reporter Brenna Visser contributed to this report.

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