Is Oregon Really Being Invaded?

It seems like everyone is hating on the Californians right now.

Portland is growing literally exponentially, with what seems like boundless growth. Condos are growing like weeds in popular areas like Williams, Division, and Belmont. Many of these areas are almost unrecognizable.  And that, I think, is the biggest fear with that growth – people that moved to Portland (and Oregon as a whole) for the quirky, small-city vibe, know it is losing that very characteristic.

Rents are skyrocketing, and the influx of cash offers on homes is raising real estate prices outside the capability of many that helped shape and build this very city.

I, too am just as guilty as we play the “Count the California plates” along streets like Alberta, Hawthorne, and Kenton.

So I decided to lean on the data.

It’s hard to find an easy metric to crisply show migrations into Oregon.  So I used the most easily available – driver’s license surrenders by state.  The Oregon DMV handily tracks this data by state and by month.  The data is in PDF format, so I moved it into Excel and cleaned it up.  Feel free to download my raw data here.

And, the data was pretty compelling.

First, since 2011, there has been an 83% increase in California migrants.  That is the largest, statistically significant increase of all states (basically I am not counting North Dakota’s 160% increase from 152 people to 395).  The number of California moves since 2011 is over 120,000.  That is huge.

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.13.31 AM

When you consider most people moving here are moving to Portland, and the 2013 population of the city was 609,000, that is a huge number over the course of five years.

Just in 2016, almost 30,000 people moved here from the south.

There were also some very interesting surprises lurking in the data:

  • Only in 2015 and 2016, did we see people moving to Oregon from South Korea (426 people to be exact).
  • In 2013 and 2014, there were 164 people that moved here with licenses from the Canal Zone, a piece of land around the Panama Canal that was supposedly turned around to the Panamanian government in 1999.  So who were these people?
  • Someone turned off the migration faucet from Washington.  The % of gain year over year has been steadily declining.  In 2011, 10,481 people moved to Oregon, and in 2016, that number was 14,565.  But the rate of moves seems to be stalling off with only a 6.31% increase in 2016 (California, by comparison had a 12% gain between 2015 and 2016).

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.17.10 AM

This post is not meant to hate on anyone, just to show the facts and let people make their own determinations.

In the end, one thing is clear: in the five years between 2011-2016, 445,000 have moved to Oregon.

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