More deaths than births in some southern Oregon counties

Medford, Ore. — Deaths are outpacing births in several southern Oregon counties. That’s according to new numbers from Portland State University’s Population Research Center. But the region is still seeing an overall boost in population.

“We’re growing,” regional economist Guy Tauer says of southern Oregon, “our population is growing certainly, just not quite as fast as Oregon.”

Tauer says 70% of the state’s population growth over the last 6 years is due to people moving here from out-of-state. The percentages in southern Oregon are even higher.

“We’re highly dependent on in-migration to keep our population where it is or growing,” Tauer says.

According to the data from Portland State University, 16 of the states 36 counties had more deaths than births, including Curry, Douglas, and Josephine counties, where deaths outpaced births by as much as 2,200.

“But because they still had 4,000 in-migrate- positive in-migration into Josephine county- population rose over that 6 year period,” Tauer says.

Jackson County is bucking that trend.  The population rose due to both births and migration. It’s an increase that’s apparent for the Medford School District.

“We are actually looking at about a 2% increase in our school-aged population over the next decade,” 549C communications specialist, Natalie Hurd says, “so we’re definitely growing and we’re already starting to see that.”

Growth in Jackson County is also more diverse than it is in Josephine where a majority of those migrating are reaching or already in retirement. But Tauer says in many ways, any growth is a good thing.

“It creates demand for housing, creates job opportunities,” Tauer says, “of course on the down side it’s more competition for housing, more traffic, and some of those challenges too so it’s kind of a double edged sword a little bit.”

According to the data, the population is expected to continue increasing at a rate of about 1% a year in Jackson County, and .5% a percent a year in Josephine. For more information click HERE.

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