2020 Census: Portland metro area growth outpaces Oregon

Multnomah County

Multnomah County remains Oregon's most populous at 815,418

FILE – This March 19, 2020, file photo, shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident. On Wednesday, March 24, 2021, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of Ohio that tried to get the U.S. Census Bureau to provide data used for drawing congressional and legislative districts ahead of its planned release. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — The first batch of data from the 2020 U.S. Census is out, showing that, while non-Hispanic whites still constitute a majority in Oregon, Washington County now is first and Multnomah County is third in the bureau’s diversity index measurement.

Just 10 years ago, Washington County was fourth and Multnomah County eighth in the same index. Clackamas County is 15th among Oregon counties in the 2020 index, up from 16th in 2010.

Data released Thursday, Aug. 12, by the U.S. Census Bureau also shows that the three Portland metro counties outpaced Oregon as a whole in population growth during the past decade, and their share of Oregon’s population also inched up.

The three counties accounted for 43.4% of Oregon’s population, up from 42.8% in 2010. Their growth rate during the decade was 12%, slightly more than the 10.6% statewide. Non-Hispanic whites in Multnomah and Washington counties fall below Oregon’s average of 72%, but Clackamas County exceeds the average.

The Portland Tribune is a media partner with KOIN 6 News

All of these statistics mostly follow national trends summarized by Census Bureau officials in an online briefing Thursday.

The bureau also released more detailed census-block data that Oregon lawmakers can use to redraw legislative and congressional district lines to reflect population shifts from the 2020 Census. Oregon gained a sixth U.S. House seat, which requires the other five congressional districts to shed population. The bureau announced that reapportionment of House seats back on April 26.

If lawmakers fail to approve new plans by Sept. 27 under an Oregon Supreme Court order, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan takes over legislative redistricting and a special panel named by the high court will oversee congressional redistricting under timelines set by the court and legislation passed during the 2021 session. The court is the final arbiter for both plans.

First details

The data was the first detailed information released by the Census Bureau from its 2020 count, which dates to April 1, 2020. Various factors, including the coronavirus pandemic and data quality concerns, delayed the scheduled release from this past spring.

Marc Perry, a senior demographer for the bureau, said the nation’s metropolitan areas continued to grow at 8.7%. Metro area populations now account for 86% of the nation’s total, up 1 percentage point from each of the two most recent censuses. He also said more populous counties continue to grow, and less populated counties continue to shrink.

Oregon grew by 10.6% from 2010 to 2020 and was among seven western states with growth at 10% or greater, outpacing the national growth of 7.4%, which Census Bureau officials said was the smallest in history except for the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The 2020 Census recorded 1.8 million housing units, though Oregon’s 8.2% growth lagged behind the pace of population.

Nicholas Jones, director of race and ethnicity for the Census Bureau, said the nation is becoming more diverse — although the fastest-growing group was those identifying themselves as of more than one race.

More diverse

Oregon ranked 30th on the Census Bureau’s diversity index, which measures the probability of any two people being from different races or ethnicities, although the Oregon index number grew from 36.8 to 46.1 during the decade. In the West only Idaho trailed Oregon at 41st; Hawaii, California and Nevada led the nation, Alaska was 12th and Washington 20th.

Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 72% of Oregon’s population in the official count; Hispanics, 13.9%; Asians, 4.5%, Blacks, 1.9%, Native Americans, 1%, and two or more races, 6.1%. (Under the federal definition used by the Census Bureau, Hispanic/Latino is an ethnicity and can be of any race.)

Multnomah County remains Oregon’s most populous at 815,418, up 10.9% from 735,334 in 2010. Its share of non-Hispanic whites during the decade dipped from 72.1% to 65.7%, but Hispanics grew from 10.9% to 12.7%, and Asians from 6.5% to 7.5%.

Washington County, long acknowledged as Oregon’s most diverse county, takes over the top position in Oregon even as it crossed the 600,000 total. Total population grew 13.3% from 529,710 to 600,372. Non-Hispanic whites dropped from 69.7% to 60.8%, but Hispanics grew from 15.7% to 17.9%, and Asians, 8.6% to 11.4%.

Clackamas County also has diversified, though non-Hispanic whites still account for 77.2% of its total, down from 84.5% in 2010. Hispanics grew from 7.7% to 9.6%, and the third largest group now is people of two or more races, at 6%. Asians constituted the third largest group in 2010 at 3.6%. Total population rose 12.1% from 375,992 to 421,401.

Other counties

The Census Bureau definition of the Portland metro area covers four other counties:

• Columbia County: From 49,351 in 2010 to 52,589 in 2020, 6.6% growth. Non-Hispanic whites, from 92.5% to 86%; Hispanics, from 4% to 5.8%.

• Yamhill County: From 99,193 in 2010 to 107,722 in 2020, 8.6% growth. Non-Hispanic whites, from 85.4% to 77.7%; Hispanics, from 14.7% to 16.5%.

• Clark County, Washington: From 425,363 in 2010 to 503,311 in 2020, 18.3% growth. Non-Hispanic whites, from 85.4% to 75.5%; Hispanics, from 7.6% to 11.7%.

• Skamania County, Washington: From 11,066 in 2010 to 12,036 in 2020, 8.8% growth. Non-Hispanic whites, from 92.8% to 85.6%; Hispanics, from 5% to 6.4%.

Marion County, whose seat is Salem, the state capital, also is diversifying.

Oregon’s fifth most populous county — Lane County, which includes Eugene and Springfield, is forth — grew by 9.7% from 315,335 in 2010 to 345,920 in 2020. Its non-Hispanic white population dropped during the decade from 78.2% to 67.4%, while its Hispanic population rose from 24.3% to 27.7%.

The Oregon county that exceeded 25% growth was Deschutes County, which rose from 157,733 to 198,253 (25.7%).

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