Bend and Deschutes County are back in a familiar spot, among the fastest-growing areas of Oregon, though the latest population estimates from Portland State University show some areas on the High Desert are barely growing, flat or even losing a few residents.
Deschutes County added 2,385 residents in the year ended July 1 for a total estimate of 162,525, a 1.5 percent growth rate, according to Portland State University’s new annual estimates, released Friday.
That’s well ahead of the state’s overall growth rate of 0.9 percent for the year, to 3.91 million residents, according to the PSU Population Research Center’s preliminary estimates; cities and counties get a month to challenge any disputed figures before they become final.
Deschutes County also saw the second-fastest growth rate in the state, though No. 1 for the past year, Gilliam County, only needed 45 new residents for a total of 1,945 – and a 2.4 percent growth rate.
Crook County, meanwhile, was estimated to have gained just 40 people, for a total population of 20,690, up just 0.2 of a percent for the past year. And Jefferson County added 100 residents for a new estimated population of 22,040 people, or a 0.5 percent increase.
As for cities, Bend’s new estimated population of 78,280 is up 825 residents, or just over 1 percent for the year ended July 1. Redmond’s new population estimate is 26,590, up 245 residents, or just under 1 percent.
Sisters gained 35 residents for a July 1 population estimate of 2,115, PSU said, but its smaller size makes it the fastest-growing city in the county for the year, up 1.6 percent.
La Pine was the only city in the county to see its population estimate unchanged, remaining at 1,670 residents. But it was not the only Central Oregon city to see its estimate neither rise nor fall; PSU said Metolius also remained at 705 people, while Culver held steady at 1,370 residents.
PSU's Population Research Center says it bases the state population estimate on the number of births and deaths, as well as several other elements of data.
County population estimates also come from statistics ranging from state tax returns and school enrollments to births and voter registration.
City estimates focus on changes in the housing stock, occupancy rates and the average number of people per household.
Each year out from the actual count -- the decennial Census -- makes the numbers more soft, in some ways, to be realigned when the next Census rolls around. The Census Bureau also does its own estimates, based on a different set of data, that can be close or quite different.
But the PSU estimates are not just numbers on a page -- they are used by state and local governments and other entities for revenue-sharing and planning purposes.
Bend Senior Planner Damian Syrnyk noted that subtracting the cities’ populations from Deschutes County’s total estimate, the unincorporated area’s population estimate of 53,870 is up 1,280 people, or 2.43 percent from a year ago. So more rural areas outside the cities had more than double the growth rate as the cities themselves.
Madras, however, was estimated to have lost five residents, for a total of 6,255 people, down .07 percent. Prineville’s new estimate of 9,270 residents is up 45, or 0.37 percent from a year ago.