The boom that isn't

There's a lot of talk this week about new data coming out of the 2020 Census. In particular, people around here are buzzing about how Oregon's congressional district boundarires will be redrawn now that we get an extra seat.

One number I thought I'd go dig out is the Census' latest call on the population of the City of Portland. Not the metro area, but Portland within the city limits. The number I am seeing for 2020 is 652,503. That is 68,727 more than the population determined by the 2010 census. It's an increase of 11.77% over 10 years, or a compound annual growth rate of 1.12%.

Over the 20-year period 2000 to 2020, the compound annual growth rate was 1.05% – not much different. So let's face it, Portland, we've been adding about 1% per year. And given the rotten reputation we've earned over the last few years, the next decade promises to add even fewer than that. We can expect 6500 newcomers a year or fewer.

There are plenty of places to put new people. Apartment vacancies within the city are up, and rents are down, as the city is overbuilt with big residential bunkers. 

And so when the urban planning hucksters cite a supposed population boom as a reason for Portlanders to pay for more tax-subsidized apartments and unwanted light rail, call them out on their falsehoods. They'll try to tell you the city's population will double in 25 years. No way. Try 65 or more.