Umatilla County

Between 2010 and 2020, Umatilla County’s population grew slower than Oregon as a whole, growth almost entirely attributed to growing Hispanic and multi-racial populations while non-Hispanic white populations decline, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The results of the 2020 Census have a significant, decade-long impact on every community in the U.S. They determine how congressional and legislative districts are redrawn, how federal funds are dispersed, and even whether private businesses decide to open up a new shop in a growing town.

Census numbers should also be taken with a grain of salt—while they are the most detailed look into the U.S. population available, there have always been undercounts, particularly with people of color. There are also concerns that the pandemic and actions by the Trump administration could lower accuracy of the 2020 Census. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a post-census survey to estimate how far off the census tally was, which will be available in early 2022. However, the 2020 Census numbers are largely final, and the count is used as-is to determine how federal funds and political power is distributed through the U.S.

Oregon’s population has increased by around 400,000 people since the 2010 census, or around 11%. In Umatilla County, the population grew by 4,186 for a total of 80,075 in 2020, an increase of around 6%.

But the non-Hispanic white population fell substantially over the last decade, dropping by 2,938 people for a total of 49,753 in 2020.

Meanwhile, there were 4,515 more Hispanic residents in the county in 2020 than a decade prior, for a total of 22,622. And there were 1,992 more multi-racial residents between 2010 and 2020. That growth kept Umatilla County’s overall population from declining in last year’s census.

Hispanic residents made up around 28% of the county’s population in 2020, while non-Hispanic white residents made up around 62%. Multi-racial residents made up around 4%.

There are also fewer children in the county than there were in 2010, with 518 fewer children counted in 2020. While there were an additional 803 Hispanic children counted in the 2020 census than ten years prior, the number of non-Hispanic white children fell by 1880 during the same time period.

As of 2020, there were around 19,682 Umatilla County residents under the age of 18, or around 25%. In 2010, around 27% of county residents were under 18.

Milton-Freewater

Non-Hispanic white residents are no longer the majority in Milton-Freewater, according to the 2020 census.

Milton-Freewater had 7,151 residents in 2020, an increase of 101 from 2010, or around 1%. Like the wider county, the city’s growth is largely attributed to increases in Hispanic and multi-racial populations while non-Hispanic white populations slightly declined.

There 3,476 non-Hispanic white residents in the city in 2020, 356 fewer than 2010. The Hispanic population grew by 235 in the same time period, for a total of 3,271 residents, while the multi-racial population grew by 186 for a total of 251 residents.

Hispanic residents made up a little less than 43% of the city’s population in 2010. In 2020, that rate was a bit under 46%. Multi-racial residents have gained even more ground, from less than 1% in 2010 to around 4% in 2020. Non-white Hispanic residents now account for a little less than 48% of the population, down from 54% in 2010.

Like the county at-large, there were fewer residents under the age of 18 in Milton-Freewater. There were 222 fewer children counted in the 2020 census, but unlike in nearby Walla Walla, there were fewer Hispanic and non-Hispanic children than in the 2010 census. There were 146 fewer Hispanic children in 2020 than in 2010, and 111 fewer non-Hispanic white children.

Emry Dinman can be reached at emrydinman@wwub.com or 425-941-5829.

Reporter covering agriculture, Walla Walla city and county government, and other topics.

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