Deschutes County

Bend area still growing, just more slowly

Census figures says Deschutes still among fastest-growing areas

BEND, Ore. - Deschutes County remains among the 100 fastest-growing metro areas in the nation, despite the struggle to recover from a big recession hit, new Census Bureau figures out Thursday show.

Deschutes County (now classified as the Bend-Redmond Metro Area) grew by 2.9 percent, or 4,382 people, between the April 2010 Census and last July 1, to 162,277 residents, a 2.8 percent increase in just over two years.

That growth rate is low, compared to some past years, but still a higher rate than many larger cities around the country, said Bend Senior Planner Damian Syrnyk.

The county's one-year growth rate was 1.4 percent, or 2,194 people. But percentage-wise, that still ranks 66th among all metropolitan areas in the nation. (There were times in the sizzling-economy past when Deschutes County ranked much higher, in the growth Top 10 for the nation.)

The nationwide growth slowdown is reflected in that number, as about 21 percent of the increase came from natural growth (more births than deaths), and the rest from new arrivals to the area, Syrnyk said. The natural increase made up about 11 percent of the total growth rate during more prosperous economic times, he said.

Elsewhere in the state, meanwhile, the new Census Bureau figures show Oregon's population is mostly growing in the Portland area and declining in rural Eastern Oregon.

Annual estimates put the population of the Portland metro area at 2,290,000 in July 2012. That's in a statewide population of 3,899,000.

The Oregonian reports ( ) the population of the metro area increased 2.9 percent since the 2010 census. Statewide population is up 1.8 percent.

The largest population gains were in Washington, Multnomah, Deschutes, Wasco and Clackamas counties. The biggest population losses were Curry, Grant, Lake, Harney and Wallowa counties.

About 60 percent of the state's population gain was due to migration and 40 percent due to more births than deaths.

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