In 2020, for the first time ever, Oregon recorded more deaths than births. In a new analysis, the Oregon Employment Department noted this week that the trend continued in 2021, with 2,210 more deaths than births.
Federal census numbers show half of all states had more deaths than births last year, but only three of 13 Western states did.
Among those Western states, Oregon had the highest percentage of counties with natural population declines. That means the state is more dependent than ever on attracting in-migrants from other states and countries.
Oregon did attract 24,979 net migrants last year, according to the Portland State University Population Research Center (i.e., more people moved in than out), but that’s down from the average of 31,000 a year for the past decade.
“Migration in 2021 was no doubt hampered by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and concerns,” an OED economist noted, “as well as limited housing supply and high housing costs.”