When looking at the population growth in Bend, Oregon, we can see that the vast majority of current residents of the coveted city never experienced the city before the population boom started in the 1990s. Essentially, the secret of how great Bend is to live in got out in the 90s and led to a massive population influx from then until now.
This means around 85k new residents moved to Bend in only 33 years, or the population grew five times larger during this period of time.
Some may say the population has increased across the country, so what’s the big deal? Well, the Bend Metro Area’s population growth from 1969 – 2021 was 588.96%, while Oregon’s population growth in the same period was only 105.92% and in the US it was only 64.88%. Those numbers put into context the size of the population boom in the Bend Metro Area, which includes Redmond, Bend, and Sunriver.
The interesting aspect of this growth is how it is projected to continue up until 2040 at least. The city of Bend’s website has a page dedicated to how the city is planning on managing the expected increase and shows the population to be at 153,696 by 2040. The steady projected increase up until this time will continue to challenge the once-small city built with much fewer residents in mind.
Born in Bend in 1979, I can remember a much smaller city, as other native Bend residents may recall, where traffic was reasonable, housing was available, and the cost of living was normal. Now, the old sawmill where my dad worked for nearly two decades has been turned into a shopping district, traffic resembles a big city, and affordable living has become a thing of the past. I guess there is a price to pay for being such a great city with so many wonderful things to do in the surrounding nature, yet sometimes I wish the secret never got out.