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New U.S. Census figures show many large metropolitan areas lost residents in 2021.

COURTESY: U.S. CENSUS - A map showing population changes in the latest U.S. Census report.The population of Multnomah County fell by 12,494 people last year, the largest decline of any county in the larger Portland region, according to U.S. Census figures released Thursday, March 24.

Multnomah County's population declined by 1.5% compared to an overall 0.2% decrease for the larger region. Portland is the largest city in Multnomah County.

As first reported by Willamette Week, the decrease happened during a year of unprecedented turmoil, including job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing political protests, rising gun violence and increasing housing costs. Recent polls show the vast majority of voters believe Portland and the surrounding region are headed in the wrong direction.

The loss seems especially significant because Oregon's overall population grew 0.54% during the same period — increasing from 4,243,791 on July 1, 2020, to 4,266,560 one year later.

But the regional loss is far less than a number of other large metropolitan areas experienced, including San Francisco, which lost 6.3% of its population in 2021. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco lost a total of more than 700,000 people from July 2020 to July 2021.

Some large metropolitan areas saw population increases, however. The included Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Austin and Atlanta, which gained more than 300,000 residents.

Many smaller metropolitan areas also saw big gains, including Boise, Idaho, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The figures are included a census report that can be found here.

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