Oregon Facing Mass Exodus; Residents Are Leaving These Cities

Oregon is known for its natural beauty, progressive politics, and vibrant culture. But in recent years, the state has also seen a significant outflow of residents, especially from its largest city, Portland. What are the reasons behind this mass exodus, and which cities are people leaving for?

Portland Exodus Cost Multnomah County $1 Billion

Portland, the largest and most populous city in Oregon, has been experiencing a decline in population and income since 2020. According to a new analysis of tax data from the nonpartisan Economic Innovation Group, migration out of Multnomah County, which includes Portland, caused a $1.1 billion drop in adjusted gross income between 2020 and 2021. This represents a huge loss for the local economy, as income taxes support the housing market, retail sales, and public services.

The analysis also found that those who left Portland had disproportionately high incomes, meaning that the city lost some of its most affluent and productive residents. The average income of those who left was $112,000, compared to $74,000 for those who stayed. This could have implications for the city’s tax base, as Multnomah County depends on high earners for the preschool for all tax and the homeless services tax, both passed in 2020.

The reasons for leaving Portland vary, but some of the common factors include the high cost of living, the rising crime rate, the political unrest, and the pandemic-induced shift to remote work. Some residents also felt dissatisfied with the city’s leadership and governance, citing a lack of accountability and transparency.

Other Oregon Cities Also Losing Residents

Portland is not the only city in Oregon that is facing a population decline. According to the U.S. Postal Service change-of-address data, these are some of the other Oregon cities that people are leaving in droves:

Eugene: The second-largest city in Oregon, Eugene is home to the University of Oregon and a hub for arts and culture. However, it also suffers from a high cost of living, a low vacancy rate, and a lack of economic diversity. Between 2020 and 2021, Eugene lost 2,400 households, or 1.6% of its population.

Salem: The capital city of Oregon, Salem is located in the Willamette Valley and offers a mix of urban and rural amenities. However, it also struggles with a high poverty rate, a low median income, and a lack of affordable housing. Between 2020 and 2021, Salem lost 1,900 households, or 1.3% of its population.

Bend: Bend is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, as it is surrounded by mountains, rivers, and forests. However, it also faces a housing crisis, as the demand for homes far exceeds the supply. The median home price in Bend is over $600,000, making it one of the most expensive markets in the state. Between 2020 and 2021, Bend lost 1,100 households, or 1.2% of its population.

Where Are Oregonians Moving To?

While Oregon is losing residents, some other states are gaining them. According to the USPS data, these are the top 10 states that Oregonians are moving to:

Idaho: Idaho is the most popular destination for Oregonians, as it offers a lower cost of living, a more conservative political climate, and a similar natural environment. Between 2020 and 2021, Idaho gained 7,800 households from Oregon, or 4.4% of its population.

Texas: Texas is the second-most popular destination for Oregonians, as it offers a strong economy, a low tax burden, and a diverse culture. Between 2020 and 2021, Texas gained 6,300 households from Oregon, or 0.2% of its population.

Arizona: Arizona is the third-most popular destination for Oregonians, as it offers a warm climate, a retiree-friendly lifestyle, and a growing tech sector. Between 2020 and 2021, Arizona gained 5,900 households from Oregon, or 0.8% of its population.

Washington: Washington is the fourth-most popular destination for Oregonians, as it offers a similar geographic and cultural proximity, a high-tech industry, and no income tax. Between 2020 and 2021, Washington gained 5,800 households from Oregon, or 0.8% of its population.

Florida: Florida is the fifth-most popular destination for Oregonians, as it offers a sunny weather, a low cost of living, and a large tourism sector. Between 2020 and 2021, Florida gained 4,900 households from Oregon, or 0.2% of its population.

The other states that made the top 10 list are Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Tennessee.


Oregon is facing a mass exodus of residents, as many people are leaving the state for various reasons. The most affected city is Portland, which lost over $1 billion in income due to out-migration. Other Oregon cities, such as Eugene, Salem, and Bend, are also experiencing population declines. The main destinations for Oregonians are Idaho, Texas, Arizona, Washington, and Florida, which offer different advantages and opportunities. The trend of migration could have significant impacts on the economic, social, and political landscape of Oregon and the nation.

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