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Oregon lost 16,000 residents, but C.O. counties grew in Census Bureau 2022 population estimates

Aerial view of Bend
KTVZ file
Aerial view of Bend

Or did Oregon gain about 15,000 residents in the same 1-year period? Depends on who you believe

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon lost over 16,000 residents in the year ended last July 1, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Wednesday night, but the three Central Oregon counties all bucked that trend and saw population gains.

The decline to 4,240,137 estimated Oregon residents as of last July is small, percentage-wise, at just over one-third of a percent. But it represents a reversal of a decades-long trend of population growth in the state, both from in-migration and the mix of residents' births and deaths.

Crook County was the region's big percentage gainer in the latest numbers, adding 622 residents, or nearly 2.5% to a population of 26,375. Deschutes County added almost 1,200 residents, or about a half-percent, to 206,549, while Jefferson County added 208 estimated residents, to total 25,330, almost almost a full percent from the previous year.

Different entities can come to different estimates, especially in the years between the once-a-decade Census headcount. For example, last fall, Portland State University's Population Research Center said Oregon gained almost as many residents last year as the Census Bureau just said we lost.

City of Bend Senior Planner Damian Syrnyk reviewed the numbers and provided this quick analysis:

  • The Census Bureau estimates Oregon lost 16,164 people; PSU estimates Oregon gained 15,083 people.
  • According to the PSU estimates, eight of Oregon 36 counties lost population between 7/1/21 and 7/1/22.
  • According to the Census estimates, 20 counties lost population.  These include Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties and several counties in Eastern Oregon. Multnomah County’s population decrease of 10,510 represents 65% of the population loss.
  • According to PSU, Deschutes County’s population reached 207,561 by 7/1/22; according to the Census, the County’s population reached 206,549, a difference of 1,012 people or 0.49%. 

Syrnyk said the Census Bureau population estimate for Deschutes County is consistent with earlier projections.

"So we're seeing growth that's not out of what we expected," he said. "We're not too far ahead or too far behind where we thought we'd be."

The Census Bureau is releasing its 2022 city population estimates in May.

"As we go forward as a city, we'll be taking a look at our comprehensive plan later this year … making sure we have enough land for all types of housing," he said.

Here's the Census Bureau's national news release on the new population estimates:

Growth in the Nation’s Largest Counties Rebounds in 2022

Counties with large colleges and universities experience population gains once again

MARCH 30, 2023 — After some of the nation's most populous counties experienced significant outmigration and population declines in 2021, overall patterns of population growth and decline are moving towards pre-pandemic rates for the nation’s 3,144 counties according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 estimates of population and components of change released today. All 10 of the top fastest-growing counties were in the South or West, and 9 of the 10 were metropolitan counties. 

“The migration and growth patterns for counties edged closer to pre-pandemic levels this year,” said Dr. Christine Hartley, assistant division chief for estimates and projections in the Census Bureau’s population division. “Some of the urban counties in New York and San Francisco that saw significant domestic outmigration and population decline in 2021 had population growth in 2022. Similarly, many counties with large universities saw their populations fully rebound this year as students returned.” 

Whitman County, Washington, home to Washington State University, saw its population drop by 9.6% between 2020 and 2021 but then grow by 10.1% last year—the most of any county above 20,000 in population. Whitman County’s change is just one example of the many college counties that saw a rebound in the last year after a lull during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This is similar to the pattern observed by many metropolitan counties in the South and West, where many impacts experienced during the pandemic are either reverting to near pre-pandemic levels or making a full recovery. For example, Dallas County, Texas, the eighth most populous county in the U.S. in 2022, lost 22,000 (-0.8%) people between 2020 and 2021, but between 2021 and 2022 gained 13,000 (0.5%) people—the fastest gains the county has seen since 2017.

Percent Change in County Population: July 1, 2021, to July 1, 2022


As of July 1, 2022, just under one-half (48.7%) of counties were under 25,000 in total resident population, while 19.5% of counties had a population of 100,000 or more. Only 47 (1.5%) counties had a population of 1 million or more.

Population Size of Counties on July 1, 2022
Size groupNumber (percent)
100,000 or higher613 (19.5%)
50,000 to 99,999385 (12.2%)
25,000 to 49,999615 (19.6%)
10,000 to 24,999793 (25.2%)
Under 10,000738 (23.5%)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2022 Population Estimates

Population Change

Over one-half of all counties (52.5%) grew between 2021 and 2022, down from 55.7% of counties the prior year. At the same time, 1,482 (47.1%) declined and 11 counties (0.3%) saw no change in population.

The smallest counties nationally, those with populations below 10,000, experienced more population loss (60.8%) than gains (38.3%); while the largest counties, having populations at or greater than 100,000, largely experienced population increases (68%).

Population Change in Counties: 2021 to 2022
Size groupGainNo changeLoss
100,000 or higher417 (68.0%)0 (0.0%)196 (32.0%)
50,000 to 99,999242 (62.9%)1 (0.3%)142 (36.9%)
25,000 to 49,999335 (54.5%)0 (0.0%)280 (45.5%)
10,000 to 24,999374 (47.2%)4 (0.5%)415 (52.3%)
Under 10,000283 (38.3%)6 (0.8%)449 (60.8%)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2022 Population Estimates

Fastest Growing

Whitman County, Washington, was the fastest-growing county between 2021 and 2022.

  • One-half of the top 10 fastest-growing counties were in Texas: Kaufman County (8.9%), Rockwall County (5.7%), Parker County (5.6%), Comal County (5.6%) and Chambers County (5.3%).
  • The remaining fastest-growing counties were in Florida (Sumter County, 7.5%), Georgia (Dawson and Lumpkin Counties, both with 5.8%), and North Carolina (Brunswick County, 5.7%).

Largest Gaining

Maricopa County, Arizona, remained the largest-gaining county in the nation, adding 56,831 residents in 2022, a gain of 1.3% since 2021. Domestic migration was the component of population change (i.e., births, deaths and migration), which made the largest contribution to Maricopa County’s growth. Harris County, Texas, had the second-largest gain last year, up 45,626. Texas was home to 6 of the top 10 largest-gaining counties in 2022. Harris, Collin, Denton, Fort Bend, Bexar and Montgomery Counties gained a combined 209,182 residents. Three Florida counties (Polk, Lee and Hillsborough) also were among the largest gaining in 2022, collectively adding 92,848 residents. Polk County, Florida, is new to the list of 10 largest-gaining counties this year.

Largest Declining

Los Angeles County, California, had the largest population decline in 2022, decreasing by 90,704, continuing a downward trend as the state lost roughly twice that amount (180,394) in 2021. Population declines lessened for some other urban counties that had seen considerable net domestic outmigration and population decline in 2021. New York County, New York, which had a population decline of 98,505 in 2021 due largely to net domestic outmigration, had population growth of 17,472 this past year. Other counties with large numeric declines last year (outside of the top 10) include San Francisco County, California, and Miami-Dade County, Florida. Collectively, this year’s 10 counties with the largest population declines lost 378,177 people, down significantly when compared to last year’s collective drop of 803,586 for that year’s 10 counties with the largest population declines

Most Populous

Los Angeles County, California, (9,721,138) and Cook County, Illinois, (5,109,292) remain the two most populous counties in the nation. Reflecting longstanding regional population shifts, the nation’s most populous counties are increasingly located in the South and West. In 2022, 63 of the country’s 100 most populous counties were located in the South and West, up from 61 in the prior year. This is compared to 2010, when 58 of the country’s largest counties were in the South and West. The South and West had 51 of the largest counties in 1990 and 50 in 1980.

Components of Change

Domestic Migration

Patterns of domestic migration in 2022 were notably different than 2021. During the height of the pandemic, many small counties experienced higher levels of domestic migration, while many large counties saw lower levels of domestic migration. This pattern has reversed between 2021 and 2022, where many of the small counties that experienced increases in domestic migration saw that pattern slow down. In the meantime, many large counties, particularly in the South and West, observed an uptick in domestic migration.

Sixty percent of U.S. counties had positive net domestic migration in 2022 compared to 63.3 in 2021. All counties in Delaware, Maine and New Hampshire had positive net domestic migration. The two counties with the highest amounts of net domestic migration were Maricopa County, Arizona, (33,305) and Collin County, Texas, (29,696). There were seven states where 75% of counties experienced negative net domestic migration, with Illinois having the largest percentage (89%) of its counties lose residents via domestic migration. The counties with the highest negative net domestic migration were Los Angeles County, California, (-142,953) and Cook County, Illinois, (-94,344).

While several large counties, such as Los Angeles County, California, lost a large number of people through domestic migration in the last year, changes in patterns in domestic migration between 2021 and 2022 meant they lost fewer people compared to the year before. Los Angeles County lost 142,953 people via net domestic migration between 2021 and 2022, compared to 2020 to 2021 when it lost 194,804 people due to net domestic migration.

New York County (Manhattan), New York, had a slight net domestic migration of 2,908 this year, a sharp turnaround from net domestic outmigration of -98,566 the prior year.
San Francisco County, California, had net domestic outmigration of -9,421 in 2022, compared to -57,611 the prior year.

Finally, King County, Washington, (home to Seattle) had net domestic outmigration of -16,035 in 2022, compared to -37,655 in 2021.

Net International Migration

Net international migration patterns for counties remained relatively the same in 2022 as in 2021, with 2,462 counties (78%) seeing positive net international migration. However, with the rebound in net international migration for the nation, the levels for counties were often considerably higher than the prior year. For instance, net international migration in Miami-Dade County, Florida, the top ranked county for net international migration in 2022, increased from 15,108 between 2020 and 2021, to over double that (39,170) the following year. Similarly, in second-ranked Harris County, Texas, net international migration more than doubled in size – 13,919 between 2020 and 2021, it grew to 37,268 between 2021 and 2022.

Natural Decrease and Increase

In 2022, 2,336 (74.3) counties had natural decrease (more deaths than births), compared to 2,368 in 2021. The incidence of natural decrease remains historically high. Natural decrease counties are found nationwide but are especially prevalent in some states. While Maine was the only state where all counties experienced natural decrease, West Virginia also had a high frequency of natural decrease – with deaths outnumbering births in 54 of 55 of its counties. Seven of the 10 counties with the highest amount of natural decrease were in Florida, with Pinellas County topping the list with -6,468.

Natural increase (births exceeding deaths) occurred in 791 counties (25.2%) last year. Five of the top 10 counties in natural increase were in Texas, with Harris County having the highest in the nation (30,117).

Puerto Rico Municipios

Puerto Rico’s population continues to decline, with all 78 municipios experiencing population loss in 2022. The drop in population is largely a result of natural decrease, as all municipios had more deaths than births and negative net migration.

San Juan had the largest numeric difference as its population decreased by 4,559 or 1.3%. San Juan also had the highest natural decrease at -1,935, followed by Bayamón (-913) and Ponce (-704). Rincón was the only municipio with positive net migration (84) in 2022. Municipios with the largest net migration losses were San Juan (-2,624), Ponce (-1,912), and Bayamón (-1,470).

Metro/Micro Data

The release of Vintage 2022 population estimates for metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas has been postponed from March to May to facilitate the transition from counties to planning regions in Connecticut. This forthcoming data release will be limited to total population and will not include the components of change. The delay and change to product availability is only expected to affect Vintage 2022 estimates.

For upcoming Vintage 2022 population estimates releases, see the schedule on the population estimates webpage.



Table 1: Top 10 Most Populous Counties – 2022

Top 10 Most Populous Counties: 2022
RankStateCountyApril 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2021July 1, 2022
1CaliforniaLos Angeles County10,014,0429,811,8429,721,138
2IllinoisCook County5,275,5225,177,6065,109,292
3TexasHarris County4,731,1294,735,2874,780,913
4ArizonaMaricopa County4,420,5744,494,6934,551,524
5CaliforniaSan Diego County3,298,6353,274,9543,276,208
6CaliforniaOrange County3,186,9793,161,0053,151,184
7FloridaMiami-Dade County2,701,7622,670,4212,673,837
8TexasDallas County2,611,4912,587,9542,600,840
9New YorkKings County2,736,0752,637,4862,590,516
10CaliforniaRiverside County2,418,1772,453,1782,473,902
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2022 Population Estimates

Table 2: Top 10 Counties in Numeric Growth (Annual)

Top 10 Counties in Numeric Growth, 2021 to 2022
RankStateCountyApril 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2021July 1, 2022Numeric Growth
1ArizonaMaricopa County4,420,5744,494,6934,551,52456,831
2TexasHarris County4,731,1294,735,2874,780,91345,626
3TexasCollin County1,066,4651,114,4501,158,69644,246
4TexasDenton County906,405943,857977,28133,424
5FloridaPolk County725,041755,179787,40432,225
6FloridaLee County760,820790,676822,45331,777
7TexasFort Bend County822,779860,124889,14629,022
8FloridaHillsborough County1,459,7731,484,4551,513,30128,846
9TexasBexar County2,009,3222,030,8952,059,53028,635
10TexasMontgomery County620,451650,261678,49028,229
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2022 Population Estimates

Table 3: Top 10 Counties in Percent Growth (Annual)

Top 10 Counties in Percent Growth, 2021 to 2022
Resident Population of 20,000 or more in 2021 and 2022
RankStateCountyApril 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2021July 1, 2022Percent Growth
1WashingtonWhitman County47,97143,23847,61910.1%
2TexasKaufman County145,303158,216172,3668.9%
3FloridaSumter County129,751134,867144,9707.5%
4GeorgiaDawson County26,79628,47530,1385.8%
5GeorgiaLumpkin County33,48732,89034,7965.8%
6TexasRockwall County107,832116,549123,2085.7%
7North CarolinaBrunswick County136,694144,814153,0645.7%
8TexasParker County148,228156,966165,8345.6%
9TexasComal County161,482174,891184,6425.6%
10TexasChambers County46,57148,72151,2885.3%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2022 Population Estimates

Table 4: Top 10 Counties in Numeric Decline (Annual)

Top 10 Counties in Numeric Decline, 2021 to 2022
RankStateCountyApril 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2021July 1, 2022Numeric Decline
1CaliforniaLos Angeles County10,014,0429,811,8429,721,138-90,704
2IllinoisCook County5,275,5225,177,6065,109,292-68,314
3New YorkQueens County2,405,4642,328,1412,278,029-50,112
4New YorkKings County2,736,0752,637,4862,590,516-46,970
5New YorkBronx County1,472,6561,421,0891,379,946-41,143
6PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia County1,603,7991,589,4801,567,258-22,222
7MichiganWayne County1,793,5491,773,0731,757,043-16,030
8CaliforniaSanta Clara County1,936,2741,886,5951,870,945-15,650
9CaliforniaAlameda County1,682,3311,643,8371,628,997-14,840
10PennsylvaniaAllegheny County1,250,5851,245,4451,233,253-12,192
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2022 Population Estimates

Table 5: Top 10 Counties in Percent Decline (Annual)

Top 10 Counties in Percent Decline, 2021 to 2022
Resident Population of 20,000 or more in 2021 and 2022
RankStateCountyApril 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2021July 1, 2022Percent Decline
1CaliforniaLassen County32,73031,81329,904-6.0%
2LouisianaSt. John the Baptist Parish42,47742,02139,864-5.1%
3LouisianaTerrebonne Parish109,583109,013104,786-3.9%
4LouisianaPlaquemines Parish23,51523,28422,516-3.3%
5FloridaBaker County28,26328,67327,803-3.0%
6MississippiLeflore County28,34827,39826,570-3.0%
7New YorkBronx County1,472,6561,421,0891,379,946-2.9%
8LouisianaSt. Charles Parish52,54852,40550,998-2.7%
9MississippiBolivar County30,97330,18029,370-2.7%
10FloridaBradford County28,30628,05027,313-2.6%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2022 Population Estimates
Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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Barney Lerten

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Barney Lerten

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

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