Census: Trends to Ponder about Changing Oregonians

Oregon bucks national trends on age and kids under the roof.If you are a trivia buff or a marketer in search for the latest demographic trends, you’ll love the 2010 Census. A close examination of the latest decennial nose count tells us, for example, Oregonians are slightly older and have smaller families than the national average compared to a decade ago. We’re also living in a more ethnically diverse state.

There are many ways to slice and dice the Census. Here are a few trends covered by the media in the past few weeks:

Diversity: Latinos going urban

It’s no surprise Oregon’s Latino population grew. But what’s happened in the last decade Is intriguing. As of the new census report last fall, Latinos made up about 12 percent of the state’s population.

What’s news since 2000 is the breakdown of where Hispanic respondents come from, and in some cases, where they settled, OPB reported May 31. Charles Rynerson of Portland State University’s Center for Population Research was quoted as saying he thinks the Latino population is climbing in urban areas. Some of that is natural demographic growth.

It used to be Latinos worked on farm jobs, Rynerson told OPB. Now the state may be seeing their children or grandchildren moving to cities and going into different lines of work. For example, Bend’s Hispanic population grew 172 percent since 2000.

Age: Oregonians going grayer?

In the West, the average age of residents in Idaho, Utah and Alaska grew younger in the past decade. Washington stayed about the same, Oregon grew grayer.

The era of the Baby Boomers began more than 65 years ago, which means many persons born in the late 1940s are retired or thinking about it. Because the state was a popular destination during the Vietnam era and after, Oregon now has more senior citizens than the national average, analysts say, ranking fifth in the nation for percentage of the population age – age 60-64 at 6.2 percent, compared with 5.4 percent nationally.

Lindsay Howden of the U.S. Census Bureau said last week most states grew younger. She told Tom Bance of OPB that “places with more youthful demographics correlate with the size of the local Hispanic population. She said, “Latino families tend to be larger with more children.”

The national median age in 2010 was 34.6 years old. Those age 65 years old or older made up 12.4 percent of the population. In Oregon, the median age in 2010 was 38.4 years.

Families: More Oregon households kid free

In another report, OPB’s Central Oregon station (KOHD) says: “More and more Oregon households are living without kids under their roofs.”

Oregon ranks 8th in the nation for the lowest share of households with children, the Census reports.

The story spotlighted a Central Oregon couple, Natalie Baumgartner and her husband Brian, who are part of a growing trend. “A married couple in their thirties, highly educated, but without kids,” OPB noted.

"We just kind of decided we wanted to take a couple years for ourselves and enjoy each other before we brought kids into the picture," Natalie said.

State population: Growth exceed national average

Oregon’s population exceeds 3.8 million, an increase of almost 12 percent since 2000. The national growth average was 9.1 percent. Data for Oregon also shows the five most populous cities in 2010 were:


  • Portland, 583,776;
  • Eugene, 156,185;
  • Salem, 154,637;
  • Gresham, 105,594; and
  • Hillsboro, 91,611.
  • Hillsboro grew by 30.5 percent, the most by percentage of the top five cities.