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Friday, January 4, 2013

Portland population growth creeps along: 0.34% a year

We just got around to taking a look at the latest population estimates from the Portland State University (and Patronage Center) estimators. For July 1, 2012, they're showing within the Portland city limits a population of 587,865. For the date one year prior, the official estimate was 585,845. That's an increase of a mere 0.34% over that one-year time span.

The three-year compound growth rate is only 0.33%, and the five-year is 0.68%.

It's amazing that we keep slapping up ugly, bulky apartment bunkers all over town, and building crazy trains to nowhere, when the number of people moving here has slowed to a trickle. But hey, that's Portland -- making developers and construction companies rich, and shaking everybody else down for more money every year.

We've been using a 0.7% growth rate on the City of Portland debt clock on our left sidebar, but we're cutting that now to 0.5%, to reflect the new reality. Thus, each resident's share of the city's long-term debt just went up a bit. Happy New Year!

Comments (40)

I'm guessing that as family sizes shrink - more single adults, divorced parents, fewer kids, etc - the number of residents per unit has dropped. So you need more housing just to stay even.

Sarah, that's the implied idea. The reality, though, is that the vast majority of this new apartment construction is for the kidults who come to Portland because they can't afford Brooklyn, play for a while on Mom and Dad's dime, and then move back home in their forties and fifties. Concern for any other demographic is purely coincidental.

Portland Public Schools needs to take a look at these numbers as they get ready for the new year budget cuts on their operating bond. Think they will make the hard decisions to close and consolidate all the excess inventory they already have?

Three (?) board positions will be on the ballet this May--Zones 4, 5 and 6.

Please, please lets get someone to run other than Knowles, Sargent and Gonzalez. The deadline is fast approching to file: Opens Feb 9th and closes March 21st with election day on May 21

Check out your residency area here:

Check out the county election requirements here:

Jack, you keep on neglecting to count the bike centric population double, tsk, tsk.

I am surprised it is not negative growth. I wonder how it compares with the surrounding areas?

And then after they move back - or can't afford to stay - the city will make them 'affordable housing'

See: Cabrini Green

Sarah, your comment is absurd!
I would argue the point with you, but I have learned over time that one cannot disagree with people who are incapable or uninterested in reasoned arguments.
Why don't you do all of taxpayers a favor and quit your job and move away from Portlandia!?

US Census shows a 1.7% growth rate from 2010 to 2011. It takes a long time to compile data, I'm curious of your link's methodology and how they could even get a glimpse of 2012 population numbers so quickly?


Wow PortlandNative, could you be anymore hysterical? You're so offended by an idea you disagree with that you just make a bunch of childish insults and tell someone to leave town... And speaking of not being able to make a "reasoned arguement".

"the number of residents per unit has dropped. So you need more housing just to stay even."

That's not very sustainable.

So to reach the population doubling that we are building all this light rail infra-structure for it will take 102 years (@ 0.68%/yr) or 210 years (@ 0.33%/yr).

Yep, that makes it all worth-while to fund instead of schools, jails and potholes.

I just love the mind-f these politician engage in when they create and solve and hype these make-believe 50 year out crises instead of today problems.

But is it a vibrant .34%?

I remember in the 80's, we were told that the population was booming and it was going to be hard to keep up with the Population growth. Then someone brought up the fact that most of the growth (then)was, annexing east Multnomah county. All of those people already lived here, they were only new to being inside the new Portland boundary.

"But is it a vibrant .34%?"

No, but I think it is a sustainable 0.34%.

Its all part of the Agenda 21 plan to move most people from suburban and semi-rural areas to urban apartments. The idea is to price most people out of home ownership (by restrictive land use policies, increased taxes and debt, and increased costs of food, energy, and fuel) and into rentals or subsidized housing (coincidentally, it tends to be of the same shoebox bunker variety popping up everywhere).

The ultimate goal of the plan is to reduce the average American's standard of living to a point where most people don't own property and work their butt off just enough to pay their taxes and bills. Basically slavery.

Methinks Portland Native was being sarcastic .... right?

Let's not get distracted by current ideological arguments... real estate developers and their investors run this town and decisions that get made are meant to serve their purpose... it's the story line that keeps changing over time to suit the audience of the day.

But is it a vibrant .34%?

At least we can rest assured they're a creative .34% - even if we're not sure what they create.

ws - The PSU Population Research Center publishes its methodology here: http://www.pdx.edu/prc/methodology. The 2011 data you linked comes from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey program. The methodology the ACS uses is published here: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/methodology/methodology_main/ . Their weighting and estimation methods, if that's all your interested in, are here: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/survey_methodology/Chapter_11_RevisedDec2010.pdf .

I think what I'm getting at is using the national standard for enumerating the population makes the most sense. I believe it's also the official population number.

I'm not even sure why Jack would use Portland State's numbers over the US Census Bureau, especially given the level of criticism generated their way on this board.

WS: The PSU numbers are constantly cited by city, county, and Metro people, plus the PSU methodology actually makes a little more sense.

...though the govt types distort them big time.


By the numbers

CoP Pop Numbers:

2000: 529,121
2010: 583,776
2011: 593,820
2010-2011 = 1.7% pop. gain
The 2000 to 2011 = 12.2% pop. gain

There's *no way* the five-year growth rate is only 0.68% considering 2000 to 2010 is +10% (2000 and 2010 are both official censuses).

All I want is an accurate portrayal, not what some "gov't types" use, or what the taxpayer should want, or whatever you're speaking of.

Just the data, nothing else.

no so long ago the wonks insisted there will be 500+k new, creative, hip, vibrant, educated, coffee guzzling, Prius driving, tax paying, eco-friendly stewards of the Portland Dynamic that require massive planning and transit accomodations to ensure their survival.
My take is simple: Bull Sh**!

How long does it take for the stench to be carried away by the winds of sanity?

Remember our standards and quality of life must be lowered to make room for the "millions" more coming. Somehow I don't think that mantra will fly much longer.
Maybe people are catching on to what "affordable housing" really means too, is that why the term workforce housing is being used?

Jack wrote: crazy trains to nowhere

Take Me On The Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne vs. a-ha)

The Census figures were lower than Portland State's for a while,


but in 2010 they miraculously converged:


As of July 1, 2010, they were in sync. For 2011, the Census figures were higher than Portland State's. Portland State is sticking by its guns. Census numbers for 2012 won't be out for a while, I suspect.

BTW, even if the Census Bureau is right about 2011, the compound growth rate over 11 years is only 1.05%. At that rate, Portland won't get to the 1 million population mark that the planning nabobs keep talking about until the year 2074.


1) Assuming using the 2011 number from the US Census, wouldn't the compound growth rate be 1.1% over 11 years, or did I make a mistake on my math?

2) The US compound growth from 2000 to 2010 (10 years) is 0.97%


I'm error prone so double check.

Without a comparison of how Portland stacks up, your numbers are difficult to relate to. US wise, they're not bad.

3) I think even the biggest champion of "Portland Style Planning," or whatever you want to call it, would call some of the population estimates from Metro to be inflated.

But we don't need to do a wholesale misinterpretation of the data, which I feel is what I am getting.

You need to start by getting a calculator that will compute compound interest.


If 2000 = 529,121 and 2011 = 593,820 (which Portland State says is way high), the compound annual growth rate over 11 years is 1.05%.

Any big jump in Census Bureau numbers in 2010 came from the Census having undercounted in the late 2000 decade and then correcting. PSU and Census recoupled in 2010.

A comparison with the rest of country is pointless. The key here is that Portland is being wrecked based on predictions of a huge population surge that simply is not coming.

Portland Public Schools is also using these same flawed numbers to support its policies.

I see, you're using an actual compound growth formula. I used percent change divided by number of years in range (which oddly works for some numbers).

Speaking of calculators you might like, here's a TI-83 you can use on your computer. Those website calculators are annoying and Windows calculator sucks:


Download, install, click "debug" at top, then "go."

The key here is that Portland is being wrecked based on predictions of a huge population surge that simply is not coming.

Predictions worked well for the developer crowd.
The constant redo and wrecking has created so much chaos and instability that instead of that surge, many more may be leaving. There is talk of that often on this blog. People will not put up with the continuous behavioral changes. So who will be coming in with the enormous water rates, continued traffic congestion, etc.?
Metro and their followers should be so proud!

Clinamen, about 2 1/2 years ago developers, PDC, OHSU, PSU, OSU and others searched for a way to expand what we traditionally thought of as low-income housing that had added Affordable Housing to the mix a few years before. They added Work Force and Student Housing making a triple play. This expanded the criteria for those eligible. Plus it expanded all the fed/state/metro/city monies that could be scarfed.

This expansion was questioned in PDC and URAC meetings. There wasn't really a city-wide r3eview of this expansion. And in several cases this expansion doesn't meet federal rules/regulations. But it gives so many ways to call about any kind of housing (or a portion there of) eligible for our tax dollars.

"The Census figures were lower than Portland State's for a while, ...
but in 2010 they miraculously converged ... As of July 1, 2010, they were in sync."

It's not anything miraculous. The Pop Center re-calibrates their numbers after each decennial Census to conform with the results of the Census. The decennial Census is an enumeration of the population as required by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, and is considered to be an accurate count of the population on Census Day. (Excepting, perhaps, some dispute about the use of hot deck imputation.)

All intercensal population numbers are estimates, both those from the Pop Center and those from the Census Bureau. The Pop Center builds its numbers using a demographic model (linked above). The Census Bureau uses the data it collects in its American Community Survey. For a geography the size of the City of Portland there are actually three population estimates prepared by the ACS; a 1-year estimate based solely on that year's sample data, a three-year estimate and a five-year estimate. The latter numbers are essentially rolling, weighted averages of the multi-year sample data. The three 2011 ACS population estimates for the City of Portland are:

1-year estimate 595,325 +/- 1,605
3-year estimate 586,428 +/- 873
5-year estimate 576,543 +/- 473

link to American Fact Finder query.

I wonder about the housing. We are told there is a shortage of apartments and yet I see vacancies and for rent signs. It might depend on where the vacancies are. The shortages may be in inner city where only some would live? It would be interesting to find out how many vacant houses and apartments there really are.

clinamen The ACS is your friend here, too:

2011 ACS 1-year estimates:

Total Housing Units 265,946 +/- 2,464
Occupied Units 250,828 +/- 2,699
Vacant Units 15,118 +/- 2,274

Homeowner Vacancy Rate 1.7
Renter Vacancy Rate 2.5


2011 ACS 3-year estimates:

Total Housing Units 266,779 +/-1,380
Occupied Units 248,519 +/-1,719
Vacant Units 18,260 +/-1,490

Homeowner Vacancy Rate 2.7
Renter Vacancy Rate 4.0


2011 ACS 5-year estimates:

Total Housing Units 264,956 +/-1,156
Occupied Units 247,711 +/-1,401
Vacant Units 17,245 +/-1,170

Homeowner Vacancy Rate 2.7
Renter Vacancy Rate 3.8


Thank you.

k2, are those numbers for City of Portland only, or Portland metro area, or what configuration?

It's all going to be OK, Sam's head tax will solve the question of how many people live in Portland.

Lee The numbers are all for the City of Portland. I just tested my links; unfortunately the queries aren't embedded in the URL, as a result American Factfinder doesn't reproduce them. My apologies.

As I said, the geography for all of the data is the City of Portland. The housing unit counts are from Table DP04, which is found under the 'Housing' heading. The population data are from Table DP05 which is found under 'People, Basic Count/Estimate'.

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