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Population Estimates Suggest Oregon's Economy Is Improving

New estimates from Portland State University show Oregon's population could break the four million mark sometime in the next two to three years.

Preliminary estimates from PSU's Population Research Center show Oregon's population grew by just under 1 percent this year. That's a net addition of about 35,000 people.

Most of the growth occurred in the Portland-metro region and around I-5. But other places, like Deschutes and Hood River Counties saw growth rates even higher than the state average.

Program Manager Risa Proehl says the numbers reflect not just a growing population but also an improving economy.

Proehl says people tend to move around more during stronger economic times. And this year, two-thirds of the population growth came from net migration. That's when people move here from other states.

"Now during the great recession, the opposite was true. Population growth in Oregon relied more upon natural increase rather than net migration," says Proehl.

Proehl says new housing construction is one of the primary indicators of population growth. She says in Oregon cities, new housing units were up 65 percent over last year.

Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting