2019 South Coast Population Estimates Show Slow Growth

by Guy Tauer

November 26, 2019

Portland State University’s Population Research Center recently released their preliminary population estimates for Oregon, its counties, and incorporated cities. These data are still preliminary and subject to public comment and review for about one month. Historically, there have not been large changes between the preliminary and final published figures. Newly released numbers show the South Coast continuing to gain very few new residents through July 1, 2019. We do add new residents from in-migration, but we also have more deaths than births, for a negative natural population change. From July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019, Coos County gained 15 new residents for a total population of 63,290. Curry County added 85 new residents during that same time period to reach a total of 23,000 residents.
Looking at the rate of population growth since 2011 shows a general improvement in the population growth rate following the last deep recession.

Coos County’s population growth rate has generally been fairly flat, with very little change in the past couple of years. Curry County’s population showed little change from 2011 to 2013. Population growth accelerated through 2016 and 2017 when the growth rate peaked at 0.9 percent. Growth rates slowed a bit to 0.4 percent between 2018 and 2019.

Cities and Towns

All city areas showed either essentially no change or growth between 2018 and 2019 in the South Coast. North Bend gained an estimated 110 new residents or an increase of 1.1 percent, accounting for most of Coos County’s total population change. Faster-growing Bandon had an estimated 2.1 percent increase, or 65 new residents.
Over in Curry County, Gold Beach, Brookings and Port Orford added 25, 15, and five new residents, respectively.

Population trends and growth rates have mirrored the overall economic improvement that Oregon and the South Coast have experienced in the past few years. In-migration has been the driver of the South Coast’s population change in recent years, or at least preventing much population loss. More employment opportunities and the region’s continued perception as a desirable place to live inspire more people to call the South Coast their home. But factors that may be causing slowing in the growth rate could be rising home and rental prices, lack of housing availability and low vacancy rates, and the growing trend toward slower overall migration and staying in homes longer. The older average age of our population and associated low birth rates limit population growth at the South Coast.

Much more detail will be available when Portland State University’s Population Research Center releases their annual population report for 2019, such as population by age, and components of population change. For more information see: https://www.pdx.edu/prc/home.

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