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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Portland population growth slows to near-halt -- 0.3% a year

The population estimators at Portland State University have some remarkable news this afternoon: The City of Portland gained only 1,705 residents between July 1, 2009 and July 1, 2010. That's a gain of only 0.29% over that year. The population within the city limits rose from 582,130 to 583,835, according to PSU.

All the ugly infill that's been built in the city's neighborhoods has been pushed on us by the Metro drones and city planning Mafia based on wildly inaccurate population growth projections. The population within the Portland city limits, it seems, isn't growing much at all. For the previous five years before this year's count, the annual rate of increase was a mere 1.12%.

We'll be adjusting our city debt clock, which has been using a 1.28% annual growth rate based on the last three years, this evening. But clearly every Portland resident's share of the city's massive debt just went up, because the estimated number of residents just went down.

The spreadsheet of the new PSU report is here. Keep in mind that the federal Census Bureau thinks that PSU overstates the city's population, and so the real number of residents may actually be lower than what's in the Excel file.

UPDATE, 7:39 p.m.: The new five-year growth rate is 1.05% a year, and the new three-year growth rate is 0.90% a year. We've updated the population portion of our debt clock (always on our left sidebar), using a 1.0% annual growth rate just to give the planner cabal the benefit of the doubt. At this hour, that puts the city population at 586,071.

Comments (26)

What is changing, though, is the makeup of that population. More people at the bottom of the economic ladder, a handful more at the top, and many less in the middle. And that disappearing middle is mostly headed downward, not upward.

Oh well--I suppose the creative class can help. Except that most of the people who bought up real estate came here with extra money--but not the corresponding income. Now they're growing unemployed, and the poor are moving to the suburbs (like Tigard and Gresham and Hillsboro).

Luckily, we've got a UGB to prevent all that sprawl, so those poverty-stricken folks will have to live...inside it. Hmm. Think the South Waterfront could become Section 8?

Looks like Washington County got more new residents than Multnomah. And the City of Portland only got 31% of the growth in Multnomah County. This seems to be saying that more people are moving to the suburbs.

Hmmm. But I know that is wrong because the planners (and our mayor) like to tell us that "in the future", people will "want" to live in "dense urban environments" with no parking.

Why would any rational person choose to move to the suburbs? I mean, the suburbs are generally undersupplied with eco-warriors and bike nazis. If you move to the suburbs, who will preach at you, hit you up for change, and enforce the stifling groupthink? I mean sure there are jobs, and lower taxes, and more affordable housing out there, but who decides where to live based on things like that?

Poor people are moving to the suburbs because the hipsters have driven up the prices on urban living.

At least, that's why I've sold my house in inner SE and am moving to the suburbs.

"This indicates an aging population, we all realize, and that also, retirees are still moving here. The population of the elderly is still growing."

More bike lanes!!

Not surprising at all since other than the geographic scenery, about the only things Portland has left going for it are the bars every 10 feet, the high-fat food peddlers every 50 feet, the plethora of resale shops to pawn your clothes in, the sex and trafficking industry, dirt cheap heroin, low value on children, families, or education, the low value on social services, a shoot-first police force, ridiculously escalating fees for 'services', etc, etc.

If it weren't for its frighteningly overblown sense of self-importance to the rest of humanity and all the accompanying hype that goes with it, I'm sure we'd have a negative growth rate.

Wendell Cox in NewGeography recently had an interesting article that helps explain what is happening in Portland in regards to population and more. In fact he uses Portland to make his point. See www.newgeography.com/content/001875

PSU, Metro, PDC, CoP, TriMet have been claiming that population has and will greatly increase in Portland as Sustainability Susan claims in Jack's earlier post. They claim that citizens are giving up on suburbia and favor inter-city living. Cox, using statistics demonstrates that it's the opposite. Growth is occurring in suburbia and not in the inter-cities.

The Planners of Portland just prophesize and never look back.

I’m afraid what we have here is the reverse of -
Turning a sow's ear into a silk purse.
In my view our city was a silk purse that has been turned into a sow’s ear so that some could make a bundle of dough on that silk purse leaving the rest of us with a sow's ear. No wonder people want to get out and apparently some may be catching on as far as moving in.
However, the PR and marketing of the silk purse still carries on.

We are so soused!

One the most asinine results the nitwit planning regime has produced are these mandated density compliant multi-story row houses and apartments with their front doors right next to major streets and highways.
Under some stupid theories about higher densities along corridors.

This is one of several in Sherwood on Hwy 99. Normal places use light commercial to insulate residential neighborhoods from highways.
But here people like Metro's Rex is too smart for that.


"We'll be adjusting our city debt clock"

Didn't we just cross $10K per capita like in June? That's a 7.7% increase in debt in less than 6 months!

Dear god, let's hope we don't have to borrow money for real problems.

Forgot one other thing - You think we'll hear the end of that "population will be 10x larger in 20 years so we need to build even more now" instead of fixing roads or sewers?

What is changing, though, is the makeup of that population. More people at the bottom of the economic ladder, a handful more at the top, and many less in the middle. And that disappearing middle is mostly headed downward, not upward.

Source, please.

Or are you speaking (as usual) ex cathedra?

Ben: One the most asinine results the nitwit planning regime has produced are these mandated density compliant multi-story row houses and apartments with their front doors right next to major streets and highways. . .

Folly -
We were so afraid of sprawl that we turned to an equally devastating plan, density? Plus then we covered up what most likely was the best fertile farmland within the UGB with development!

People living here were essentially told they needed to accept the infill and lose the character of their neighborhood and city to make room for the millions more coming by year?? Are those mystery new people coming in now by 2040?
Meanwhile, wreck “only some” neighborhoods to make room for these plans.

Instead of a balanced and considered approach, we now have a mess. For those who still think the plan is great, please take a tour of the neighborhoods that have been negatively impacted by the plan before you advocate for this “smart growth” agenda to continue. Look inside the UGB to realize how much farm land was covered with development and look outside to see the McMansions with estates.

Wasn't there a song in "South Pacific" - about you've got to be carefully taught?
Sure looks like many swallowed that propaganda here, some might be afraid to admit it now that they have seen the results.

Source, please.

You can't actually be serious. Or are you speaking (as usual) to hear the sound of your own "voice"?

But here's one recent, local source, for the benefit of other readers who are actaully readers, not snarky mirror gazers:


And another about Census-based evidence of the seismic shift in the economy of families:

And few minutes spent with Google will show much more. It's a nationwide phenomenon, but Portland is one of the places where it's an acute problem.

Portlands a wonderful place to live, if you have a good paying job. With more industry being shipped overseas, that is more doubtful.
One of Portlands attractions is the close in neighborhoods.. Lets not discuss East County Portland, that is where you warehouse the poor folks. The closer in neighborhoods, west of 82nd for the most part enjoy parks, librarys,sidewalks, close to shopping,etc. These are attractions that will attract a lot of well-heeled retirees, too. The problem lies with the things that attract families, safety and good schools,are not doing so well. If I were starting a family, I would head straight for the burbs, as I don't have that much confidence in PPS.
What we will end up with is a city of childless folks, just like San Francisco.
If you can hold on to your property, do so. It will get very valuable over the next 20 years. And you can sell it to somebody who will think your single level home in Kenton is worth $800k. And pass that money on to your suburban kids.

My usual naysaying aside, it's as if the planners/politicians/developers have turned into an unstoppable planning-industrial complex, much like the military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned of over 50 years ago. It keeps doing what it does in order to survive, even if it kills off the host. It even attempts to propagate itself by infecting other cities around the country.

I've heard Oregon's immigration from California tends to correlate positively and significantly to Oregon unemployment rate versus California's unemployment rate. With current rates being so high, I shouldn't think this factor would indicate much California immigration to Oregon at all.

I am a big believer in moving out of city of Portland and Multnomah county as you tend to save a bit on property taxes and the roads are bit more open to car travel. Right now the Portland Public School's request for a ten percent hike in property taxes is making the suburbs even more attractive.

What would be interesting is to disect Multnomah's population by income class versus that of say Washington county, and household size (families with school children) between these same two counties. I wonder if you would find a greater middle class share in Washington county than Multnomah and a greater portion of families with children. This would help explain the voting pattern of Multnomah (punch drunk blue) versus Washington county's (slight blue tinge).

Metro's most recent population forecast suggests a regional growth rate between now and 2030 of only 1.3 percent on the low end and 1.7 percent on the high end (for the REGION not just for Portland).

For those who prefer source material see http://library.oregonmetro.gov/files/appendix_12_forecast.pdf.

A short paragraph from the forecast executive summary provides valuable context for this string:

"This forecast indicates slower population growth in the region for the next 50 years than has historically been experienced since the inception of the state.

Population trends have varied widely since 1850. At a glance, the historical data show two distinct periods of growth: first, a hyper-expansion phase that carried through the early pioneer days and ensuing decades through 1910, when the base population of the region was small, and second, a slower pace over the last century, reflecting the maturation of Portland as a metropolitan area.

Population growth in the region averaged 2.44 percent per year during the 20th century. At that rate, it took over 100 years before the region’s population reached one million residents in 1966. More recently, the population doubled to about two million people in only 36 years. This doubling of the population occurred at the relatively modest growth rate of 1.9 percent per year. The more recent lower growth rate can be explained both by declining birth rates and the mathematics of compounding growth on a large population base (in absolute terms, the population increase is substantial despite a lower growth rate). Likewise, when forecasting population growth, we start
with a large population base and even modest growth rates amount to big increases in population numbers."

Cheers all.

Metro Middaugh, how do you explain the modest percentage increase from 2000 to the 2010 census of 545,000 for Portland? It doesn't fit your argument. This time period was one of the nations and Portland's most "vibrant" (debatable)expansion periods.

I know you can debate the PSU numbers vs. the fed census numbers and it will make some difference, but it doesn't follow your "big increases in population numbers"-definitely not the "millions of new people" scare tactics of Sam and Metro of the past ten years.

A reduction in taxpayers is the municipal deathknell of an unfunded pension liability: slowing population growth is a necessary precurson to population decline.

Here's an easy analogy: more people riding in the cart/fewer pulling.

I don't know why everyone believes that population base and incomes are related to potential property tax revenues - at least in the short term.

Taxes are based only on the assessed valuation of the residential real estate, the 1.5% limit imposed by 1996's M50, and an automatic 3%/year increase allowed by M50. Since the RMV still isn't close to the AV, we would have to have continued declines in the real estate market (another 30%, perhaps? - just a guess) before there would be a real reduction in taxes. And about that 3%/year automatic increase - we haven't seen this rate in the CPIU since 2008! The SSA has admitted as much by freezing SS benefits in 2010 and 2011.

Meanwhile, you can rest assured that our elected officials will keep on taxing, regardless of the income and population base that supports it.

If only the citizens of Portland had some viable option to the status quo at the ballot box.

Hopefully, citizens in the rest of Oregon will realize that we are harming ourselves and vote in another property tax limit.

"The more recent lower growth rate can be explained both by declining birth rates and the mathematics of compounding growth"

How about the lack of jobs or opportunity here? We spend so much time chasing the jobs everyone wants (green energy and Nike wanna-bes) we don't even make an effort to go after real jobs.

Considering our leadership (from Sam up to Kitz) we are very poorly equipped to even understand how to place a call to a company to draw them here.

Portland is going to be like the farm town where the kids leave to the big city to get jobs. Unless you'd like your barista to explain TS Eliot to you.

For those studying growth, keep two facts in mind about population numbers:

1: the word "forecast"
2: a significant portion of the population numbers are statistical abstracts, not counts of actual humans.

And yet the big lies keep on coming regarding the need for the Milwaukie Light Rail. In this week's Portland Tribune (Election loss doesn't slow TriMet -
Transit agency plows ahead with contracts for Milwaukie MAX line, by Jim Redden):

"In the short run, building the 7.3-mile line between Portland State University and Milwaukie will create approximately 14,000 good-paying construction jobs. In the long run, it will relieve traffic congestion in the McLoughlin Boulevard corridor that is expected to see an additional 55,000 households and 100,000 jobs by 2030, according to TriMet officials."

Yeah, sure, the Milwaukie line will relieve traffic congestion in theMcLoughlin corridor.

Just like the Blue line cured problems on 26 and the red line did on I 84.


More of the same bulls**t from the same snake oil salesmen.

A whole lot of buses could have been bought and staffed for what Tri met and Metro have wasted on the Toonerville Trolley, and would have provided serious mass transit.

But buses use already buily streets, and don't have the sex appeal and construction and consultant contracts.

Buses only work.

How can Metro and TriMet folks build careers as consultants out of that?

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