Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Chapter 2: People—A description of some of Portland's population changes

This section highlights some of the changing characteristics of Portlanders and Portland households.
 
Race and Ethnicity
 
While Portlanders are predominately white, diversity has increased since 1980. In 1980, over 87% of Portlanders were white, now about more than a quarter of the population is nonwhite, Hispanic Portlanders accounting for largest increase.
 
 
Regional Comparison
Multnomah County has the highest proportion of African-American residents. Washington County has the largest proportion of Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islanders. Multnomah County is relatively more diverse than other counties in the region.
 
 
West Coast Comparison
Portland is less racially and ethnically diverse than comparable west coast cities.
 
 
Foreign Born
 
The proportion of foreign-born Portlanders has doubled since 1980. East and north Portland neighborhoods saw the largest increases in percentage of foreign-born residents. Closer-in neighborhoods held constant or saw a decrease in proportion of foreign-born residents.
 
[Click on map to enlarge or download]
 
Regional Comparison
Washington County leads the region for percentage of foreign-born residents, followed by Multnomah County.
 
 
West Coast Comparison
Portland has significantly fewer foreign-born residents than comparable west coast cities.
 
 
Age Distribution
 
Since 1990, Portland has seen steady decrease in the percentage of households with children. From 1980 to 2004 the proportion of young adults dropped by seven percent. Currently, adults 35-64 make up a significantly higher proportion of residents than they did in 1980. (This population group was 10-40 years old in 1980.)
 
Portland Households with Children Under 18 Years Old
 
1990
2000
2004
28.3%
27.0%
25.3%
 
[Click on map to enlarge or download]
 
Portland Age Distribution—1980, 1990, 2004
 
 
Close-in eastside neighborhoods saw a decrease in the percentage of children. Neighborhoods experiencing the greatest increase in percentage of children are near the edges of the city.
 
Regional Comparison
Multnomah County has fewer children than other parts of the region. It ranks around the middle of the region for other age groups.
 
Regional Comparison—Households with Children Under 18 Years Old, 2004
 
Clackamas
Mulnomah
Washington
Clark, WA
33.5%
27.4%
39.2%
41.2%
 
Regional Comparison—Age Distribution, 2004
 
 
West Coast Comparison
Portland has a higher proportion of children than Seattle and San Francisco, with fewer children than Sacramento. Seattle has the largest young adult population; Portland has a slightly lower proportion of young adults than Sacramento and San Francisco.
 
West Coast Comparison—Households with Children Under 18 Years Old, 2004
 
Sacramento
San Francisco
Seattle
Portland
26.4%
15.0%
16.4%
25.3%
 
West Coast Comparison—Age Distribution, 2004
 
 
Income
 
While median household income increased by over $15,000 between 1990 and 2004, there was a substantial increase in the percentage of households paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs. The percentage of people living at the federal poverty level also increased over that time period.
 
Portland Income and Poverty—1990-2004
 
1980
2000
2004
Median Household Income
$25,592
$40,146
$41,128
Pop Living at Poverty Level
14.5%
13.0%
16.5%
Housing Costs > 30% of Income
28.6%
34.1%
40.8%
 
In 1990, most lower-income neighborhoods were typically in the Central City, close-in east side and in North Portland. During the 1990s, income levels compared to the city average dropped in five southwest neighborhoods and in several outer-east neighborhoods.
 
[Click on map to enlarge or download]
 
[Click on map to enlarge or download]
 
Median income in several close-in neighborhoods and a few outer northeast neighborhoods rose from below the citywide median in 1990 to above it in 2000. A number of neighborhoods experienced the opposite shift, with median incomes dropping below citywide median in 2000. These included neighborhoods near the airport, a few between East 39th and 82nd Avenues, and several east of 82nd.
 
[Click on map to enlarge or download]
 
[Click on map to enlarge or download]
 
Regional Comparison
Within the region, Multnomah County has the lowest household income. It far exceeds other counties for poverty level and ranks highest for the percentage of households where housing costs exceed 30% of income.
 
Regional Comparison—Median Household Income
 
 
Regional Comparison—Population Living at Poverty Level
 
 
Regional Comparison—Housing Costs Greater than 30% of Income
 
 
West Coast Comparison
While Portland has a lower household income than Seattle and San Francisco, it also ranks lower for percentage of people living in poverty.
 
West Coast Comparison—Median Household Income
 
 
West Coast Comparison—Population Living at Poverty Level
 
 
West Coast Comparison—Housing Costs Greater than 30% of Income
 
 
LINKS
QUESTIONS
  • What are the potential implications of these demographic and income changes shifts for planning?
  • How should they be considered in updating the Comp Plan?