The Metro Council today released updated forecasts that estimate a range of possible population and employment growth for the seven-county metropolitan region by the years 2030 and 2060. Metro's projections indicate slower rates of growth in the short term due to current economic conditions with sustained population and employment growth over the long term.
The forecasts will inform local and regional growth management policy decisions-including the designation of reserve areas outside the existing urban growth boundary (UGB) for both urban and rural uses-in 2009 and beyond. The figures will also be used to determine the capacity of the existing UGB to accommodate the next 20 years of population and employment growth.
"The forecasts illustrate a spectrum of possible outcomes and help us inform public discussions about what we want for the future of our region," said Metro Councilor Carl Hosticka. "We will use this data to work with our partners in the region make policy decisions and investments to support the economic health and sustainability of our communities."
"This is just like getting a set of weather reports before setting out on a sailing trip," added Hosticka, an avid sailor. "Now comes the real work. We have to use this information and determine our course to get where we want to go."
The 20-year forecasts indicate that there is a 90 percent chance that the region's population in 2030 will fall between 2.9 and 3.2 million people. For 2060, Metro projects a 90 percent probability that the region's population will be between 3.61 and 4.38 million people. As of the 2000 Census, the region's population was about 1.93 million.
Today's forecasts also indicate a 90 percent chance that the total number of jobs in the region will be between 1.25 and 1.7 million in 2030, and a 90 percent chance that there will be between 1.65 and 2.42 million jobs in 2060. The 2000 Census shows an estimated 973,230 jobs in the region.
Where the region's population and employment numbers ultimately land will be determined by several factors, some of which are affected by global conditions while others will result from local and regional policy and investment choices. Varying conditions in the local and global economies, climate change and changing population and workforce demographics will have an impact on how much growth comes to this region. Policy decisions and investments made in local communities and across the region may also attract particular types of population and employment growth.
The forecasts encompass the seven-county Portland-Beaverton-Vancouver Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget. That area includes all of Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Yamhill and Columbia counties in Oregon and Clark and Skamania counties in Washington. The forecasts do not attempt to predict how many people and jobs will locate within portions of this area, such as the current Metro UGB.
Today's forecasts provide an update to an earlier forecast, issued in May 2008, that projected a 90-percent likelihood that the population of the region would be between 3.46 and 4.25 million in 2060. That forecast also projected the total employment of the region to be between 1.7 and 3.3 million in 2060. No projections for 2030 were included in last May's forecast.
The updated numbers incorporate the worsening global economic conditions which caused Metro to revise the forecasts to anticipate slower growth over the short term. However, in the longer term, it is expected that the region's population and employment will grow at rates closer to historic long-term trends.
The forecasts serve two primary purposes. Oregon law requires Metro to complete an analysis of the capacity within the existing UGB to accommodate the forecast population and employment growth of the next 20 years (to 2030). The current capacity analysis must be completed by the end of December. A preliminary report analyzing the capacity of the current UGB to accommodate the region's housing needs of the next 20 years will be released on March 31, and a similar report analyzing employment capacity will be released in late April.
The 50-year forecasts will inform a process currently underway to designate urban and rural reserves outside of the current UGB. Urban reserves will be areas set aside to accommodate future population and employment growth over the next 40 to 50 years, and rural reserves will be off-limits to urbanization during the same period. The Metro Council and the boards of commissioners of Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties will negotiate agreements to designate urban and rural reserves by the end of this year.
A copy of today's forecasts can be found online at www.oregonmetro.gov/forecasts.
Metro, the regional government that serves 1.4 million people who live in the 25 cities and three counties of the Portland metropolitan area, provides planning and other services that protect the nature and livability of our region.
Learn more about forecasts that estimate a range of possible population and employment growth for the seven-county metropolitan region by the years 2030 and 2060. The forecasts help inform public discussions about the future of the region.
Read about the unique collaborative process the region used to choose the best places for future growth, identifying lands that won't be urbanized for the next 50 years as well as areas best suited to accommodate future urban development.