Benton County Courthouse (Photo by Getty Images via Canva)

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in Oregon. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in Oregon using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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#36. Grant County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: -212
— #1,792 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.8%
— #36 among counties in Oregon, #1,976 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 7,233
— #33 largest county in Oregon, #2,642 largest county nationwide

#35. Wheeler County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +10
— #1,475 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.7%
— #35 among counties in Oregon, #1,380 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 1,451
— #36 largest county in Oregon, #3,078 largest county nationwide

#34. Harney County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +73
— #1,411 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.0%
— #33 among counties in Oregon, #1,337 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 7,495
— #31 largest county in Oregon, #2,620 largest county nationwide

#33. Sherman County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +105
— #1,388 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.9%
— #22 among counties in Oregon, #725 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 1,870
— #35 largest county in Oregon, #3,053 largest county nationwide

#32. Gilliam County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +124
— #1,376 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.6%
— #19 among counties in Oregon, #657 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 1,995
— #34 largest county in Oregon, #3,040 largest county nationwide

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#31. Malheur County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +258
— #1,290 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.8%
— #34 among counties in Oregon, #1,361 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 31,571
— #20 largest county in Oregon, #1,383 largest county nationwide

#30. Lake County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +265
— #1,283 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.4%
— #28 among counties in Oregon, #1,010 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 8,160
— #30 largest county in Oregon, #2,568 largest county nationwide

#29. Wallowa County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +383
— #1,213 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.5%
— #25 among counties in Oregon, #777 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 7,391
— #32 largest county in Oregon, #2,631 largest county nationwide

#28. Union County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +448
— #1,172 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.7%
— #32 among counties in Oregon, #1,220 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 26,196
— #23 largest county in Oregon, #1,553 largest county nationwide

#27. Baker County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +534
— #1,140 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.3%
— #29 among counties in Oregon, #1,017 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 16,668
— #28 largest county in Oregon, #1,993 largest county nationwide

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#26. Morrow County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,013
— #996 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.1%
— #14 among counties in Oregon, #476 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 12,186
— #29 largest county in Oregon, #2,264 largest county nationwide

#25. Curry County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,082
— #979 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.8%
— #26 among counties in Oregon, #843 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 23,446
— #27 largest county in Oregon, #1,660 largest county nationwide

#24. Wasco County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,457
— #916 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.8%
— #23 among counties in Oregon, #742 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 26,670
— #22 largest county in Oregon, #1,540 largest county nationwide

#23. Hood River County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,631
— #876 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.3%
— #18 among counties in Oregon, #609 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 23,977
— #26 largest county in Oregon, #1,642 largest county nationwide

#22. Coos County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,886
— #833 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.0%
— #31 among counties in Oregon, #1,057 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 64,929
— #16 largest county in Oregon, #830 largest county nationwide

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#21. Tillamook County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,140
— #799 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.5%
— #17 among counties in Oregon, #519 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 27,390
— #21 largest county in Oregon, #1,515 largest county nationwide

#20. Jefferson County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,782
— #735 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +12.8%
— #5 among counties in Oregon, #296 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 24,502
— #25 largest county in Oregon, #1,627 largest county nationwide

#19. Klamath County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,033
— #700 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.6%
— #27 among counties in Oregon, #868 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 69,413
— #15 largest county in Oregon, #776 largest county nationwide

#18. Columbia County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,238
— #684 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.6%
— #20 among counties in Oregon, #661 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 52,589
— #17 largest county in Oregon, #954 largest county nationwide

#17. Douglas County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,534
— #660 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.3%
— #30 among counties in Oregon, #1,019 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 111,201
— #9 largest county in Oregon, #551 largest county nationwide

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#16. Crook County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,760
— #642 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +17.9%
— #2 among counties in Oregon, #150 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 24,738
— #24 largest county in Oregon, #1,612 largest county nationwide

#15. Clatsop County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,033
— #626 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.9%
— #9 among counties in Oregon, #376 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 41,072
— #19 largest county in Oregon, #1,157 largest county nationwide

#14. Umatilla County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,186
— #613 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.5%
— #24 among counties in Oregon, #769 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 80,075
— #14 largest county in Oregon, #711 largest county nationwide

#13. Lincoln County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,361
— #600 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.5%
— #13 among counties in Oregon, #451 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 50,395
— #18 largest county in Oregon, #986 largest county nationwide

#12. Josephine County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +5,377
— #553 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.5%
— #21 among counties in Oregon, #663 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 88,090
— #12 largest county in Oregon, #664 largest county nationwide

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#11. Yamhill County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +8,529
— #466 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.6%
— #16 among counties in Oregon, #511 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 107,722
— #10 largest county in Oregon, #569 largest county nationwide

#10. Benton County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +9,605
— #437 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +11.2%
— #7 among counties in Oregon, #359 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 95,184
— #11 largest county in Oregon, #635 largest county nationwide

#9. Linn County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +11,938
— #391 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.2%
— #10 among counties in Oregon, #404 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 128,610
— #8 largest county in Oregon, #505 largest county nationwide

#8. Polk County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +12,030
— #388 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +16.0%
— #3 among counties in Oregon, #193 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 87,433
— #13 largest county in Oregon, #668 largest county nationwide

#7. Jackson County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +20,053
— #292 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.9%
— #11 among counties in Oregon, #429 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 223,259
— #6 largest county in Oregon, #311 largest county nationwide

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#6. Marion County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +30,585
— #214 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.7%
— #12 among counties in Oregon, #441 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 345,920
— #5 largest county in Oregon, #209 largest county nationwide

#5. Lane County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +31,256
— #205 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.9%
— #15 among counties in Oregon, #493 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 382,971
— #4 largest county in Oregon, #189 largest county nationwide

#4. Deschutes County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +40,520
— #160 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +25.7%
— #1 among counties in Oregon, #60 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 198,253
— #7 largest county in Oregon, #342 largest county nationwide

#3. Clackamas County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +45,409
— #142 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +12.1%
— #6 among counties in Oregon, #321 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 421,401
— #3 largest county in Oregon, #169 largest county nationwide

#2. Washington County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +70,662
— #86 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +13.3%
— #4 among counties in Oregon, #274 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 600,372
— #2 largest county in Oregon, #114 largest county nationwide

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#1. Multnomah County

– 2010 to 2020 population change: +80,094
— #66 among all counties nationwide
– 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.9%
— #8 among counties in Oregon, #375 among all counties nationwide
– 2020 population: 815,428
— #1 largest county in Oregon, #79 largest county nationwide