Are People Moving out of Portland? Population Growth 2024 Update

It’s that time of the year again when we look at the growing (or shrinking) population of Portland and how it reflects in the Portland real estate market. Ever since the notable upswing in the Oregon population from 2010 to 2020, with a 10.6% increase, Oregon has faced a rocky population climb.

However, now that we’ve entered 2024, are we seeing an upswing in population across 2023, or are things continuing to stall? Let’s look at some population stats from 2022 updates to 2024 predictions and some real estate trends that can shed some light on these stats.    

Portland Population Decreased in 2022

Portland saw a decrease in population from 2021 to 2022, going from 658,773 to 644,082. This population loss was reflected across Oregon, with an estimated 157,000 people moving out of state in 2022. On top of many people leaving the state, Oregon suffered a natural decrease (where births were less than deaths). The total population of Portland was down significantly from the 2020 census, which put Portland’s population at 652,503 for 2020.

The decrease in population works out to just over a 1% loss, a number seen across the United States during the pandemic years. However, did 2023 increase population, or was Oregon as a whole and, by extension, Portland, looking at a downward trend throughout 2023? 

Population Change from 2022 to 2023 – Conflicting Reports

There are two conflicting sources of data for Oregon and Portland population in 2023. PSU’s Population Research Center reports small population gains for Oregon and Portland. The Census Bureau, however, reports population loss for Oregon in 2023.

PSU Population Center Reports:

Looking at the estimated numbers for 2023 compared with the 2022 reports, the entire state saw an increase thanks to a net migration of 21,000. While Oregon again saw a natural decrease due to 44,000 deaths outnumbering 38,000 births, people migrating to the state kept the population from going negative compared to years past. According to PSU’s Population Research Center, the state’s population grew by a small 0.53%, going from 4,269,529 to 4,291,526. While these numbers put Oregon in the positive for 2023, they don’t paint a positive picture for the state’s population, which struggles to grow.

As for Portland, the city’s population went from 644,082 in 2022 to 648,097 in 2023, an increase of only around 4,000 people. While this increase is nothing to scoff at, it’s far from the boom in population the city and the state experienced from 2010 to 2020.

Census Bureau Reports:

According to the Census Bureau, Oregon lost 6,021 in population in 2023, the seventh largest drop in the nation. Their Portland, Oregon population report is not yet available on their site, we are waiting for an update. It will likely show a slight decrease.

County Growth Surrounding Portland in 2023

Looking at just the heart of the city doesn’t tell the full story for Portland, as the suburbs surrounding the city see different growth trends than the city proper. Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington, part of the tri-county area surrounding Portland, saw negligible change in 2022. However, compare this with their 2023 numbers.

County2022 Population2023 Certified Population EstimatePercentage Change
Multnomah800,902801,306+0.05%
Clackamas421,537424,043+0.59%
Washington604,568610,245+0.94%

Data from the PSU Population Research Center

Notably, Multnomah saw very little population growth compared to the other counties. Washington County saw the most growth with almost a 1% change. Clackamas also stayed somewhat constant, with only half a percent of change. These trends illustrate that the suburbs around Portland did not grow significantly compared to the flat growth in the city, which could relate to the decrease in large homes for sale available in and around Portland, Oregon, during 2023, among other ongoing issues.

If the trends we saw in 2023 hold for 2024, we’ll either see a small decline or growth in Oregon as a whole. The suburbs around Portland are likely to increase, and Portland proper is likely to remain flat or have a slight decrease. Migration will still likely be the cause of any growth, not birth rates.

What Areas are Growing?

The counties that saw the biggest growth in 2023, according to PSU’s Population Research Center, were Washington (an increase of 5,677), Deschutes (an increase of 3,618), Clackamas (an increase of 2,506), Lane (an increase of 2,072), and Marion (an increase of 1,015). It’s no surprise that Washington County was at the top of the list, given that Portland suburbs remain a popular location for people looking to live in Oregon. North Plains (in Washington County) earned a reputation as one of the fastest-growing cities in the Portland area, making it a location to watch in 2024.  

It is worth noting that the tri-county area (Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas) saw over 39% of Oregon’s population growth according to PSU’s Population Research Center, meaning we may see a continued increase in these areas.

How Does the Real Estate Market Match the Population Stats?

Population growth or decline has an immediate affect on the local real estate market. It is no surprise then that the Portland suburb real estate markets are dramatically outperforming the city proper’s real estate market. Homes are selling faster and for more in the suburbs. Prices are declining (slightly) in the city of Portland proper. Follow the links in this paragraph to keep tabs on the local suburbs and city proper. We write regular reports on both.

Late 2022 saw a drastic shift from a seller’s to a buyer’s market. Pairing this with historically high interest rates and a significant decrease in inventory caused the market to slow for both home buyers and sellers. That slow down is still in effect today. However, 2024 already has slightly reduced interest rates from 2023 and there is a potential for a better year. We won’t see the hot 2022 market by any means, but it should come up from 2023. The conditions will likely be better for both home buyers and sellers in 2024. See our 2024 Portland real estate forecast here.

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