The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the population of Portland and its surrounding metro area suburbs in July 2012 was 2,289,800, a 1.3 percent increase from 2011 and nearly a 3 percent rise from the census in 2010.
This upwardly mobile trend found its way into several larger Oregon counties, with Clackamas, Deschutes, Multnomah, Wasco and Washington counties all recording a population jump of 1 percent or more over the past year. With the lone exception of Deschutes County, all of these counties are in or very near the Portland metro area.
These are particularly telling statistics in and of themselves; however, they take on even more significance when we leave the bright lights and varied amenities of the big city and venture out to the hinterlands to the eastern and southern areas of Oregon.
Curry, Lake, Grant, Wallowa and Harney counties all posted a population decrease of more than 1 percent over the past year - the state's largest population losers, so to speak. More people left those counties - either by passing away or moving away - than those born or moving into the counties.
Curry County is located in the extreme southwestern corner of the state, with its southern border separating Oregon from California. Wallowa County sits exactly opposite of Curry County - in the extreme northeastern corner of the state, with its eastern border separating Oregon from Idaho, and sharing its northern border with southern Washington.
When we broaden our horizons to include the entire state of Oregon as a whole, we are informed by the census bureau that as of July 1, 2012, there were 3,899,353 permanent residents (officially) of the entire state.
Risa Proehl, a research associate at the Population Research Center at Portland State University, told the Oregonian in March that the drop in population in the state's outlying counties was due primarily to young adults vacating these rural areas where job opportunities are relatively scarce.
So, taking all of its counties and the Portland metro area into consideration, Oregon has enjoyed a population increase each year since 2010. There was a 0.8 percent rise last year, which was a 1.8 percent leap from 2010.