According to the 2000 census the population of Oregon was 3,790,060, an increase of 20.4 percent over 1990. When the entire state is considered, the population is rather sparse, with an average of 15 persons per sq km (39 per sq mi) in 2006. But the majority of Oregonians live in a small part of the state, mostly in the Willamette Valley. The greater Portland metropolitan area is home to more than one-half of the state’s inhabitants. Of the state’s total population 79 percent is classified as urban. The population of Oregon has been growing steadily since 1850, when it was only about 12,000. The growth has been based on a substantial natural increase and a large migration from other states and from foreign countries.
Whites make up 86.6 percent of the population while Asians are 3 percent percent. Blacks, most of whom live in Portland, account for 1.6 percent of the state’s population. Native Americans, many of whom live in or near the Warm Springs, Umatilla, Siletz, and former Klamath reservations, constitute 1.3 percent of the population; Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are 0.2 percent; and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race are 7.3 percent. Hispanics, who may be of any race, are 8 percent of the people.
Most of the principal cities in the state have shown a continuous population growth. Portland, however, decreased in population during the 1970s but has resurged since. The city had 537,081 people in 2006. The city is the heart of a metropolitan region that includes seven counties in Oregon and one in Washington and has a population of 2.3 million people.
In the metropolitan area are residential communities such as Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Lake Oswego. Eugene, in Lane County, is the second largest city, with a population of 146,356 within the city limits in 2006. Contiguous with Eugene is Springfield, with a population of 55,848. Salem is the capital of Oregon and had a population of 152,239. Other cities include Medford, with a population of 71,168; Corvallis, with 49,807; Albany, with 46,213; Bend, with 71,892; McMinnville, with 30,410; Klamath Falls, with 19,785; Grants Pass, with 29,693; Roseburg, with 20,991; Ashland, with 20,881; Pendleton, with 16,589; and Coos Bay, with 15,999.
Portland is the regional trade center for Oregon, and its outlying suburbs extend into Washington. Eugene has a large suburban area, particularly to the south. There is no other city of similar size between it and Sacramento, California. "Oregon" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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