The US Census Bureaureleased its population estimatesfor the year yesterday.


The population of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington increased by 132,000 in the twelve months ending July 1, 2004. That tally made the past year the second slowest growth year since 1987. (The year ending July 1, 2003 was the slowest, as you can see in the chart below. . . . Another thing you can see in the chart is that while the pace of growth has been erratic, it has not gone into the negative zone for even a single year in the past half century.)

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  • Despite the slowdown, the Cascadian part of the United States continues to grow faster than the nation as a whole. It grew by 1.2 percent; the country grew by 1 percent. The quality of life in the Northwest makes it a magnet for migrants, even when it has a higher-than-average unemployment rate, as in recent years.

    Idaho continues to grow more quickly, in proportional terms, than Oregon or Washington. Idaho grew by 1.9 percent; Oregon by 0.9 percent; and Washington by 1.2 percent. In absolute terms, though, Washington accounts for most of the growth. Of the 132,000 additional residents of the three states, some 72,000 are in Washington.

    The year’s growth was 43 percent from births (or, the excess of births over deaths) and 57 percent from migration (or, the excess in arrivals over departures).

    The Cascadia Scorecard focuses on births, which—though they’re the smaller part of Cascadia’s growth—are the globally significant form of population increase. They’re also a good indicator of living conditions for women and families.

    As we’ve noted before (here and here), slow-but-steady growth rates often trump everything else in the long run. Extend them for a few decades and they change just about everything.