2023 South Coast Population Estimates Show Slower but Continued Growth

by Guy Tauer

January 9, 2024

Newly released estimates from Portland State University’s Population Research Center show the South Coast continued to gain residents through July 1, 2023, as we did in the year ending July 1, 2022, but at a slower pace than the prior year.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Coos County’s population in the 2020 Census was 64,929, an increase of 1,886 residents and up by 3.0% from the 2010 Census. This differed from the PSU intercensal figures for Coos County published in their 2020 Population Report, which had the county up by about 250 residents over the 10-year period. In Curry County, the 2020 Census put the county’s population at 23,446 which was about 400 more than the Portland State University estimates showed for that year, based on the 2010 Census, and estimating each year’s population over the following decade. The most accurate population numbers resulting from the decennial census are published once a decade. The U.S. Census Bureau also publishes population estimates for years between the decennial census, most recently with the 2023 population estimates for states – county-level estimates will be published in March 2024.

Coos County’s population growth rate has about equaled the statewide trend since 2021. In 2021, the state’s population grew by 0.5% while Coos County’s population grew by 0.4%. In 2022, Oregon’s population increased a scant 0.1% whereas Coos County population rose by 2.2%, gaining 1,442 residents. The gains for the county continued in 2023, but only up 0.5% or 302 residents. The state’s population also rose by 0.5% in 2023. Curry County’s population change from 2020 to 2021 was 0.9%, increasing by 202. In 2022, the population gained an estimated 2.2% or 551 residents. The county’s population growth softened slightly in 2023, increasing by 0.7%, gaining 176 residents.

Cities and Towns

Most city areas showed either little change or growth between 2022 and 2023 in the South Coast, with the exceptions being Bandon, which gained 233 residents, and Brookings, with an increase of 120. Coos Bay gained an estimated 52 new residents, or an increase of 0.3%, and adjacent North Bend added an estimated 21 new residents. Over in Curry County, Gold Beach added 33 residents.
Table showing South Coast Population, 2022-2023

Population trends and growth rates have mirrored the overall economic improvement that Oregon and the South Coast have experienced in the period after the Great Recession and before the COVID pandemic. In-migration has been the driver of the South Coast’s population change in recent years. Factors that may slow 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, as interest rates on home mortgages have soared past their generational lows.

Much more detail will be available when Portland State University’s Population Research Center releases their annual population report for 2023 a bit later, such as population by age and components of population change. For more information, see https://www.pdx.edu/prc/home.

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