Portland's housing crunch, and the fight over whether to solve it by building into the sky, made WW's front page this week. The failure of Portland to build apartments to keep up with demand has caused many to blame at a familiar scapegoat: transplants moving here from out of state.
But an illuminating new study shows that Oregonians are moving out of the state just as frequently as people from other states are moving in.
It turns out about 43 percent of Oregonians were born in the state, and 57 percent are from elsewhere—especially Washington and California.
That's based on a study published today by Josh Lehner, an economist with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. Lehner wanted to quantify migration flows based on where people were born, so he mapped out movement trends for every state in the U.S.
What he found was that Oregon is among 21 other U.S. states—including Colorado, Montana, Nevada and Maine—where the amount of people born in the state who move elsewhere is roughly equal to the amount of migrants moving in from other states.
In Oregon, the tally was almost fifty-fifty, with about 39 percent of Oregon-born citizens having moved to another state.
But you're not paranoid about the Californians: They really do move here in greater numbers than people from any other state. Nearly one in five Oregon residents were born in California.
The upshot: Calfornians love to move to Oregon, and Oregonians want to go just about anywhere else.
"Clearly," Lehner points out in his study, "many of the discussions we have around population growth, housing issues and the like have a strong twinge of migration hypocrisy, to say the least."