As Forest Grove's population increases, school enrollment dips
While Forest Grove's population has been steadily increasing, most new area residents don't have school-age children enrolling in the Forest Grove School District, according to a demographic study from Portland State University's population research center presented to the school board.
According to the study shared by director of finance and operations Ilean Clute, the population within Forest Grove School District boundaries, which includes the city of Forest Grove and parts of Cornelius and unincorporated Washington County, grew from 30,220 in 2000 to 31,131 in 2010 to 40,167 in 2020 at an annual growth rate around 1.4%.
Meanwhile, birthrates in the area have steadily declined over the past 20 years. Between 2001 and 2009, the Forest Grove School District community averaged 527 births per year. Between 2018 and 2021, that rate dropped to 417 births per year.
In 2020, Forest Grove had its lowest birthrate since 1992, while Oregon had its lowest since 1987.
In the last decade, the Forest Grove School District community gained 1,600 housing units. However, according to the 2020 Census, 39% of households in the community had children under 18.
"It's a combination of people moving into our communities without kids, people having less kids, our birth rates are going down, a lot of the housing in the area is not necessarily affordable for families with kids," Clute told the school board. "There's a lot of factors contributing to that."
Forest Grove School District enrollment peaked in 2010-11 with 6,193 students, and stayed around 6,000 until COVID-19 hit and around 300 students left the district in 2020-21. This school year, the district enrolled 5,753 students.
The district projects a slight decline in enrollment over the next 10 years to about 5,600 in 2031-32.
Most Forest Grove students are Hispanic or Latino. Forest Grove has a Latino enrollment of 56%, compared to 40% in the Hillsboro School District, 29% in the Tigard-Tualatin School District and 26% in the Beaverton School District.
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