Where do Portland demographics rank among the largest 50 cities in the US?


The Portland in Perspective study, done by the City Budget Office, was released Tuesday.

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A report that intends to examine Portland relative to the largest 50 cities in the country was released Tuesday by the City Budget Office.

The Portland in Perspective report “allows for a broad look at how Portland looks demographically, works economically, and lives domestically,” a news release announcing the study said.

“The report is an opportunity to look at Portland from 10,000 feet,” City Economist Josh Harwood said in the release. “While merely one way of analyzing city data, the information contained in the report can help us understand where Portland fits in urban America.”

Some highlights from the report:

Portland isn’t as young as you might think:

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Though Portland is generally thought of as being young, which is true of recent transplants, Portlanders as whole are relatively old compared to other large American cities. As shown in Figure A.1, the median age of Portland residents, 36.3 years old, is tied for the 4th oldest among the 50 cities. Comparatively, though the metro area median age is slightly older, it ranks only the 21st oldest among the 50 largest metro areas. Portland’s somewhat older median age appears to be largely a function of having relatively few children and young adults. As can be seen in Table 1, Portland ranks in the bottom 10 in every age category under 25 years of age, with the smallest proportion in the late teenage group. Segmenting the data further, Portland has the 8th highest proportion of its population over the age of 18 and 4th highest over the age of 21. Looking at the proportion of the population over the age of 65, Portland ranks near the middle of the 50 cities.

Portland is as white as you think:

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Table 2 summarizes Portland’s racial make-up. While having the highest proportion of whites among the 50 cities surveyed, it is also high in most other racial categories. On the other end of the spectrum, Portland has among the lowest proportion of African Americans among the 50 cities. Just under 10% of Portlanders are of Hispanic heritage, ranking 34th , while the metro area proportion of 11% Hispanic ranks 23rd among metro areas.

Finally — it is, indeed hard to find a rental here:

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Much has been made recently of the exceptionally low rental vacancy rate for Portland. This is clearly warranted with the City vacancy rate at the 2nd lowest of the 50 cities as reflected in Figure D.1, and the metro area holding down the 4th lowest among metro areas. The types of housing in Portland skew toward single family homes (ranked 15th). Also of note, there tends to be proportionally more buildings with a large number of housing units than in other cities, as Portland ranks 19th in the proportion of housing in buildings with 20 or more units.

In total, the study examines a lot of interesting numbers that would settle several previously unfounded claims — “everyone is so educated here” — made about the demographics of Portland.

Read the whole Portland in Perspective study here.