Residents Are Fleeing These 5 Fastest-Shrinking Counties in Oregon

The 27th most populated state in the union is Oregon. Oregon saw a 2,846-person gain in population from 4,237,291 in 2020 to 4,240,137 in 2022. That is a very small population increase—0.07%—when compared to other states. For instance, the population of Idaho, Oregon’s eastern neighbor, increased by 4.9% between 2020 and 2022. It is now evident that a few counties in Oregon are getting smaller. By comparing the percentage of population decline from 2020 to 2022, the five Oregon counties with the quickest rate of shrinkage are examined in this article. Let’s investigate the reasons for the counties’ decline.

1. Multnomah County

The most populated county in Oregon is Multnomah. Situated between the Coast Range and the Cascade Range, the northern Willamette Valley stretches from north to south. Remarkably, in terms of area, Multnomah County is the smallest county in Oregon. The most populous city in Oregon, Portland, and the fourth-most populous city, Gresham, are both located in Multnomah County.

The population of Multnomah County fell from 816,467 in 2020 to 795,083 in 2022. That is a decline of 2.62% and a loss of 21,384 persons. Ethan Sharygin, director of Portland State University’s Population Research Center, claims that elderly residents migrating to the suburbs, where housing costs are lower, is a major contributing factor in the county’s population reduction. Sharygin claims that a large number of residents moved from Multnomah County to Washington and Clackamas, two of its more suburban surrounding counties.

The Covid-19 pandemic-related migration is just another reason contributing to Portland’s population reduction. A lot of people started working from home in 2020 as a result of the epidemic. People began to relocate throughout the nation from urban areas to more suburban ones as a result of this. In 2020, a significant number of remote workers left Portland and many other large cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

2. Jackson County

The sixth-most populous county in Oregon is Jackson County. It is bordered to the south by Siskiyou County, California, and is situated in the southern Oregon Klamath Mountains.

The population of Jackson County fell from 223,613 in 2020 to 221,644 in 2022. That is a decline of 0.88% and a loss of 1970 persons. It seems possible that Oregon’s dropping birth rate—a factor that impacts the entire state—is connected to Jackson County’s population loss. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic’s mortality increased the death rate between 2020 and 2022. The overall population of Oregon has decreased as a result of these issues combined.

3. Josephine County

Out of the 36 counties in Oregon, Josephine County has the 13th highest population. Josephine County is situated in the southern Oregon Klamath Mountains, just like Jackson County, which is its neighbor to the east. South of Josephine County are the Siskiyou and Del Norte Counties in California.

The population of Josephine County fell from 88,235 in 2020 to 87,730 in 2022. That represents a 505 person loss and a 0.57% decline. The fall of Oregon’s population as a whole is connected to that of Josephine County.

4. Lane County

Oregon’s fourth-most populous county is Lane County. At 4,554 square miles, it is also the sixth largest in terms of area. Stretching from the coast through the Coast Range, the Willamette Valley, and the Cascade Range, Lane County is broad from west to east. In addition, the Klamath Mountains encircle Lane County on the south. Residents and tourists can see the mountains in every direction but the north thanks to its unusual location sandwiched between three mountain ranges.

The population of Lane County fell from 383,279 in 2020 to 382,353 in 2022. That represents a 0.24% decline and a loss of 926 individuals. The fall in Oregon’s population as a whole is linked to that of Lane County.

5. Washington County

The second-most populated county in Oregon is Washington County. It is situated west of Multnomah County in the Tualatin Valley of northern Oregon. Washington County is bounded to the north and west by the Coast Range, to the east and north by the Tualatin Mountains, and to the south by the Chehalem Mountains.

The population of Washington County fell from 601,101 in 2020 to 600,176 in 2022. That is a 0.15% decline and a loss of 925 individuals. The population loss in Washington County is connected to the state of Oregon as a whole.