Crook County gains 525 people in one year and Prineville adds 200 during the same span

Crook County was the second-fastest growing county during the past year, according to a recently disclosed population study.

Crook County gained 2.4 percent more residents, climbing from 21,580 people in July 2016 to 22,105 by July 2017. Only Deschutes County had a greater increase, adding 3.6 percent more residents.

Prineville, meanwhile, saw a 2.1 percent increase in population during the past year, increasing from 9,645 people in July 2016 to 9,845 in July 2017. Only 28 other Oregon cities grew at a faster rate, although four of those cities — Sisters, La Pine, Bend and Redmond — are in Central Oregon.

Portland State University's Population Research Center produces annual estimates for Oregon and its counties and incorporated cities using the most recent available data. The estimates are based on fluctuations in the numbers of housing units, persons residing in group quarter facilities, births and deaths, students enrolled in public school, persons employed, Medicare enrollees, state and federal tax exemptions, and Oregon driver license holders as well as counts in other administrative data that are symptomatic of population change.

According to Charles Rynerson with Portland State University's Population Research Center, the preliminary July 1 estimates show that Oregon's population increased from 4,076,350 in 2016 to 4,141,100 in 2017. This increase of 64,750 follows a similar gain of 62,505 between 2015 and 2016. Both represent a 1.6 percent year-over-year increase, resulting in the largest numeric growth over a two-year period since the early 1990s.

Rynerson said population growth consists of two factors: natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths) and net migration (people moving in minus people moving out). He points out that from 2016 to 2017, net migration accounted for roughly 88 percent of Oregon's population growth. 

"Due to an aging population and declining birth rates, natural increase now contributes less to Oregon's population growth than at any time since the 1930s," Rynerson stated. "The number of births to Oregon residents from 2016 to 2017 was about 10 percent lower than its recent peak from 2007 to 2008. The number of deaths continues to climb due to the growth in older population."

Contrasting the slowdown in natural increase, net migration has accelerated according to Rynerson, as the number of people moving to Oregon exceeded the number moving out by more than 50,000 for the second consecutive year. During the past five years, net migration has resulted in more than 200,000 additional Oregon residents.

Statewide, Portland continued to add more residents than other cities in Oregon. Its 2017 population of 639,100 includes growth of 11,705 (1.8 percent) since 2016. Bend comes in second, adding 3,265 residents (3.8 percent) to reach a population of 86,765 in 2017. Prineville ranks 28, growing by 200 residents during the past year.

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