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Hillsboro is growing, too, but Portland State researchers still say it's smaller than federal estimates.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Jennifer Ferguson, assistant property manager at Forestplace Apartment Homes in Forest Grove, shows off the kitchen area of a finished two-bedroom apartment in March 2018.New population estimates from Portland State University put Forest Grove's population at more than 25,000 for the first time, amid changes across Washington County and the state of Oregon.

PSU's population research center released its annual report Friday, Nov. 15, and the preliminary results show strong growth in the tri-county region. Washington County saw its population increase by 1.2%, the highest rate in the region, from 2018 to 2019.

Forest Grove added just over 1,000 people to its population, according to the preliminary numbers, to grow to an estimated population of 25,180 as of July 1, 2019.

Hillsboro also grew considerably, the report says — it added nearly 1,500 people, increasing its population from just under 102,000 up to an estimated 103,350.

Cornelius saw more modest growth but cracked 12,000 for the first time, growing by about 300 people to 12,225, according to the estimates.

North Plains added about 200 people and now has an estimated population of 3,285. Banks added about 80 people for a population of 1,865.

In wine country to the south of Forest Grove, Gaston and Carlton's populations remained flat in the estimates, while Yamhill's population grew by only about 15.

Elsewhere in Washington County, Beaverton continues to approach the 100,000 mark with a growth rate rivaling Hillsboro; its estimated population is now 98,255, as it added more than 1,200 residents. Tigard is also seeing notable growth, adding almost 700 residents for an estimated population of 53,450. The rate of growth in Wilsonville is similar, with an estimated population of 25,635 that is up nearly 400 residents. Tualatin and Sherwood's growth was somewhat slower, as they added fewer than 100 residents each.

Newcomers continue to flock to Oregon, according to the study, with the statewide population rising by more than 41,000 in the last year — and 400,000 in a decade.

Multnomah County added nearly 8,500 people between 2018 and 2019, while Washington County grew by about 7,100 and Clackamas County increased by almost 4,000. That's nearly half of the state's total growth.

Overall, the Beaver State is on track for 1% population growth this year, with the state's populace now topping 4.2 million. Portland itself attracted 8,360 out-of-towners, making the Rose City a bustling place filled with 657,100 folk.

"These 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, Oregon driver license holders as well as other administrative data that are symptomatic of population change," the study notes.

The boomtown effect isn't felt everywhere equally. Shrinking rural counties include Wheeler, Wallowa, Union, Sherman, Lake, Harney and Grant, though the total lost citizenry for those counties was less than 200 people.

The PSU study indicated that 86% of the state's growth came from net migration, with the remainder thanks to new births.

Because of differences in methodology, PSU's estimates often vary from those produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Among other discrepancies, PSU has historically pegged the population of Hillsboro much lower than the Census Bureau, which estimated Hillsboro's population at 108,389 as of July 1, 2018.

PSU also has a lower estimate of Beaverton's population, which it estimated last year at 97,000, nearly 2,000 less than the Census Bureau estimate of 98,962.

The estimates for Forest Grove are considerably closer, as Forest Grove's population was estimated by PSU at 24,125 and the Census Bureau at 24,624 as of July 1, 2018.

The Census Bureau has not yet released its own population estimates for 2019.

Whatever accounts for the differences in the numbers, there isn't too much longer to wait until we know the "official" population of Oregon, Washington County and local cities. The decennial census will be conducted next year, with results to be reported in late December 2020.

Proportional redistricting for congressional and legislative districts will be based on the 2020 Census. Oregon is widely expected to add a sixth congressional district, and as growth in Washington County and other parts of the Portland area continues to outstrip growth elsewhere in the Willamette Valley, the tri-county region is expected to gain more representation in Salem.


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