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City of Bend tops 100K residents (again); Deschutes County powers past 200K, Crook past 25K

(Update: Estimates released)

How can Bend add 2x as many residents as Deschutes County? And La Pine jump 32% in a year? Call it a 2020 census reset

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Bend is officially a city of 100,000 – once again, after falling shy in a pair of previous head counts and dueling estimates.

Portland State University’s Population Research Center released their July 1, 2021 population estimates (Excel spreadsheet) late Tuesday, the first to factor in a full year of pandemic-related impacts.

And like the U.S. Census Bureau’s July 1, 2019 estimate, PSU now agrees that Bend is a city of over 100,000 – 100,922, to be precise, as of July 1 of this year.

That’s up a whopping 8,082 people, or 8.7% from their year-ago figure of 92,840.

But hold on.

The April 1, 2020 once-a-decade census head count – which was finally released in August of this year, due to pandemic-related delays – pegged Bend at 99,178 residents, more than 6,300 higher than PSU’s year-ago estimate of the city’s population as of July 1, 2020, just three months later.


Estimates are just that, estimates. So the Census Bureau's once-a-decade actual head count is something of a reset for demographers who study such things and use population figures not just for tax or funding distribution but a whole of other rankings and studies..

City of Bend Senior Planner Damian Syrnyk said a more reliable comparison is that Bend has grown by 1,814 residents between April 2020 and this July. Syrnyk said he expects PSU to revise their 2020 estimates to reflect the 2020 census baseline.

Meanwhile, PSU estimates that Oregon’s population barely grew in the past year, adding 22,769 residents to 4,266,570, up only .54 of a percent.

But Deschutes County also powered past a milestone of 200,000, adding 4,131 residents for a July 1 estimate of 203,390, up 2.07% in a year.

That’s not the region’s fastest growth – that’s Crook County, which has now topped the 25,000 mark. It added 616 residents for a new estimated population of 25,482, up 2.48% from a year ago. Jefferson County isn’t far behind, adding 336 residents, for a total population of 24,889, growth of 1.37% in the past year.

The state’s fastest-growing county? That’d be Morrow County, one of its smallest, which added 418 residents to reach 12,635 – up 3.42% in a year.

That head count realignment also makes for some other dramatic increases among Central Oregon cities, foremost among them La Pine, with a new PSU estimate of 2,654 residents, up 649 people, or more than 32% from a year ago.

Redmond, PSU says, has added 3,907 people, or more than 12% in a year, to a total estimate of 36,122 residents.

Prineville's new population estimate of 11,042 residents is a 687-person increase, or 6.6%. Madras has a new estimated population of 7,717, a more than 19% jump, or 1,247 people from PSU's year-ago estimate.

As for the High Desert's smaller towns, Culver's new estimate of 1,636 residents is up 66 people, or 4.2%. And Metolius had a big revision, to 981 residents, 165 more people, or almost 19%

In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Bend had topped the 100,000 mark, but last year's official April 1, 2020 official head count showed the city was just shy of that milestone, at 99,178 residents.

And a year ago, PSU's Population Research Center actually showed an even lower figure: a July 1, 2020 population estimate for Bend of 92,840.

The two entities use a different mix of statistics to come up with their estimates, from housing starts to the number of births vs. deaths. But the official census head count resets the numbers for both organizations, moving forward.

Syrnyk added that despite the pandemic, Bend's population growth has remained fairly consistent, as measured by building permits and other measurements of new arrivals.

"Our growth has not slowed, given the pandemic," Syrnyk said. "It hasn't gotten necessarily faster than we might have expected, but it's continued to be steady." 

But if PSU's numbers had shown, say, 105,000 or more Bend residents, Syrnyk said that might be a bit too fast for city planners to plan for.

"If their estimate comes out to, say, 105,000, that would be a little concerning," Syrnyk said. "That's a little bit faster than what we predicted, and I think most recently from what PSU also forecasted, so that would definitely catch our attention."

Syrnyk says this year's numbers are important for the city as it prepares for the future.

"So everything from housing, looking at our next round of job forecasting, then that also helps inform our next round of infrastructure planning for our water system and sewer system," Syrnyk said. "And you know, the next two, years when we start looking at updating our transportation system plan." 

The population figures are about more than just bragging rights. Cities and counties get 30 days to challenge them, if they believe there are discrepancies or errors, before the estimates become final, helping to dictate how government tax revenues and other funds are distributed.

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



    1. TDS, never seen such a bad case, I think they are working a vaccine for it, but until then I have read that finding a hobby helps, and NO sitting in front of a screen waiting for the KTVZ website to post another story, so you can try and express your intellect is NOT a hobby, it is probably a mental health problem.

    1. ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, I mean the ones that perenially fail and require blue counties to pay their tab! Harney, wheeler, lake…………. soooooooo much failing which is of course the government’s fault because these are the type of people who prefer exscuses and blaming others rather than accountability. That’s why they love their dear leader big fat failed and fired donnie the orange New york city trust fund baby!!!!!!! LOL!!!! They will believe and do anything he tells them!!!! It’s what they call freedom!!!!!!!

      1. Oh, you mean those people who actually work and pay taxes instead of relying on their government to give to them? They are the fails? The ones that dig in the dirt and plant and harvest? They are the fails? They ARE the free ones. Now, go get your weekly check.

        1. @rocky
          I’ll bet all of the ‘free ones’ that don’t approve of government ‘handouts’ were as happy as a kid in a candy store when they all cashed their economic stimulus checks. Did YOU return yours?
          And, farmers? The AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Administration) pays farmers more than 20 billion/year on subsidies to CURTAIL production. The Federal Government (our tax dollars) pays farmers for price fluctuations, revenues, yields, insurance coverage, and EXPORT SALES. A large majority of American ag products i.e. soybeans, corn, tree nuts, beef, and beef products, dairy, wheat, cotton, potatoes, are among common exports. So, our Government PAYS American farmers to grow products to ship overseas. So, yes, our farmers DO get free money from our Government…and, YOU pay for it, a ‘handout’ to our farmers…who knew?

        2. Rocky ~ as draftlover asks… what did you spend your “federal” funds (stimulus $) on? Or did you graciously return it? Donate it to a worthy non profit?

          Are you familiar with farm subsidies? Where do the $$ come from when crops fail?

          Lastly ~ do you buy groceries? Or are you self sufficient? Growing your own, raising livestock. If you shop for food then you are reaping the benefits of government handouts.


      2. @ Herr Gropenfuhrer – No worries, Be happy, Creepy Sleepy China Joe Obiden will fix everything, just ask Hunter and the ATF!!!! At least President Trump was a multi-millionaire BEFORE going into the office of President, unlike Obummer was coming OUT of office of President.

        1. @Oregonn8tive
          Well, we all know that trump BRAGS about everything, right?
          So, I find it strange he won’t release his tax returns, as every other President has.
          If he were as rich as he says, he’d be flashing his tax returns on every Faux news(?) report…to this very day.
          And, if he were truly the top student in his class (He does say he’s smarter than everyone) I’d think he be boasting about that as well…yet, he threatened to sue the college if they released his grades.
          Why would he have filed 6 bankruptcies if he’s as rich as he says? I doubt he’s was as rich as he said, when he ‘stole the election in 2016’.
          However, since he’s been President, I’m sure the scams, frauds, and dealings with his best friends, Putin, and Kim Jung-Un, he’s richer now, than he’s ever been.
          It’s refreshing to know that President Obama, has NEVER filed for bankruptcy, cheated on his wife, never been divorced, never been sued regarding embezzling from his own charity, and a whole host of other character flaws…wait…that was TRUMP.
          And, as far as Biden is concerned? Most people don’t even like him. He won the election only because America hated trump more than we liked Biden. A baboon would have won the election over trump, if that was our only option.

          1. But Progress is communism !

            That said, Joe and Don are both too old to be trusted. The same can also be said of Mitch and Nancy. I am 72 and will no longer vote for any Presidential or Congressional candidate over 65. Gerontocracy is a dead end road.

    2. He means the ones the require the most government hand out money while simultaneously demanding the government not give handout money to anyone. Except themselves, of course.

      So yeah. Those counties.

    1. The story explains why, these numbers play a role in what funding comes our way, what programs are available, etc. It’s also a good signpost on what is happening in growth trends, which plays a major role in a variety of planning efforts.

      1. You totally missed my point. I know why they do the census. I was in charge of the tally for two counties in 2010. My question is, Why trot out two different methodologies that have always disagreed with each other significantly? What point is served, other than leaving the public asking ‘Well, what is the population?’

          1. No, the Census is a ‘count’ and therefore should be much more accurate than PSU’s numbers. It is also ‘official’. I just do not see any point in writing an article that leaves the reader confused and uncertain.

            1. As the story states, yes, the once-a-decade census head count can be considered more accurate. But the Census Bureau and PSU both publish yearly estimates in the intervening years, that governments and many others depend upon and use in a variety of ways.

  1. It seems like there is a sweet spot in the growth of a community beyond which the burden of added congestion that comes with a larger population exceeds the benefits of a wider variety of opportunities that a larger population also brings. My experience is extremely limited, but the sweet spot seems to have been at about 100,000 for the Bend-Redmond area.

    1. Actually numbers are not important. What matters is how the community has dealt with the growth. In Bend’s case, it has been dealt with poorly. Particularly in creating affordable housing and building an adequate infrastructure. Our road system is about right for 75,000 residents, getting jammed up at 100,000 and will be really unpleasant when we hit 125,000, which we will. And, plans to deal with it are way behind the curve.

  2. No matter the actual number, the City of Bend’s Council and Planning Dept. will continue to shove their heads in the sand and refuse to expand streets. Streets will continue to be two clogged lanes almost everywhere as the delusions continue of significant numbers of people leaving their cars and trucks for bicycles, walking, and transit.

    Bend, a metropolitan city of 100K with a street system that’s adequate for about 40K population.

    1. Like the reed Mkt rd beautification project. Sure it looks nicer but doesn’t allow any more traffic to flow than before they wasted 7 million bucks on it.

  3. No, the Census is a ‘count’ and therefore should be much more accurate than PSU’s numbers. It is also ‘official’. I just do not see any point in writing an article that leaves the reader confused and uncertain. Also, I believe you are incorrect about PSU’s numbers affecting funding of any kind.

  4. Yep, facebook ruined a good conservative community. Well, that and transplants from out of state. Look at the numbers, cannot find a place to live, prices are over inflated, (could blame that on Dems and Barney) crime is up. Degenerates from out of the area are running good people out of here. The people moving in are either liberal hacks or trash on assistance. Look at the homeless housing and section 8 housing being built. Before you know it we will have places called the projects. There is already a degenerate on every corner begging for money and a druggie who can’t pass a test to get a job and uninsured drunk drivers everywhere. Don’t forget the mushroom/pot labs being busted. You people have turned Centeal Oregon into a crap hole!!!

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