Oregon has been the top destination for people moving out of state for three years running, and with the fast pace at which Portland (the state’s largest city) is growing, it’s obvious that many are choosing to make Portland their new home. Just who is moving to Portland right now? Here’s what you need to know, along with a look at what the future holds.
Who is moving to Portland in droves? In 2014 (the most recent year for which this data exists), it was Californians more than people from any other state. Even though home and rent prices in the Portland area have increased substantially in the last few years, the cost of living is nowhere near as high as it is in California. Plus, there’s no sales tax in Oregon, while California has very high sales tax rates.
The high cost of living in California means that, in recent years, as many people have left California as have moved there. And some of those departing people are heading to Portland to enjoy many of California’s virtues with a lower price tag. Portland has a moderate climate, an active lifestyle, and plenty to do, making it an obvious and smart choice for Californians.
It’s no surprise that millennials really like Portland. For the average millennial who is moving to Portland, this is likely a long-term move; many millennials who move to Portland are buying homes, straining an already tight housing market.
Why are millennials coming to Portland in droves? First, there’s been a boom in the technology and creative marketing industries. Portland has earned the name Silicon Forest for a reason; some big hitters in the technology industry are headquartered here, and those good jobs are bringing highly educated millennials to the city. By 2012, Portland had nearly 35,000 more 25-to-34 year olds with bachelor’s degrees than it had in 2000.
Portland also has a lot of the features that are important to millennials. These include things like a great food scene (including places we’ve interviewed like The Lost & Found and Portsmouth Pantry). Millennials also want places with easy access to nature and services like bike rentals and yoga studios. A sense of community is also important. Basically, the ideal city is young, fun, and culturally rich in local arts and entertainment, all of which Portland excels at.
Millennials also want a city with a great transportation infrastructure. In that respect, Portland has always been ahead of its time. It’s one of the most innovative states for urban planning. Portland is very pedestrian friendly, for example. Its blocks are small (just 200 feet), making it easy for people to get to the corners of the streets, where all the action is. City planners have also done many things to make the city easier for bikers to navigate.
Stats About Who is Moving to Portland and the Future
Recent stats about who is moving to Portland are impressive, to say the least. The Portland region added 40,261 new residents (or 111 people a day) from 2014 to 2015. This is a 19% increase over how many people were added to the city between 2013 and 2014. It’s now 23rd in a list of the nation’s largest metro areas.
Nearly half of the city’s growth is from domestic areas, and 15% is from international arrivals. The rest of the increase is from natural growth.
There’s no doubt that Portland will continue to grow quickly. As metro planning director Elissa Gertler said, “This continued growth demonstrates that our region is a desirable place to live and a competitive place to work.” One projection is that Portland will grow by 250,000 people in the next 25 years. If that’s the case, we better get used to it.