Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Portland Public Schools (Or.), Oregon -- Population -- Statistics, School enrollment -- Oregon -- Portland -- Forecasting, Demographic surveys -- Oregon -- Portland


The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the demographic factors affecting recent enrollment changes in Portland Public Schools. Toward this goal, the report discusses how trends in births, migration, and international migration have affected public school enrollments in Portland. This report reaches four main conclusions: * First and foremost, public school enrollments have declined in recent years primarily because there have been sizeable decreases in the number of students entering kindergarten and the early elementary school grades. Smaller numbers of entering students are, in turn, the result of substantial reductions in the number of births--reductions that began in 1991. Because there were fewer births in the early 1990s, fewer students enrolled in school in the late 1990s. The number of births declined in the 1980s primarily because there were decreases in the number of younger couples--not because there were decreases in the average number of births per couples in the 1980s. * The number of births has continued to decline in the 1990s. The lower number of births in the second half of the decade has not yet affected school enrollments. But they will add to declines in school enrollments in the future, starting after about 2002. Although there was net out-migration of school-age children, in the 1980s and 1990s, net out-migration of school-age children appears to have increased in the late 1990s, further reducing enrollments. * Increased international migration into the Portland metropolitan area has ameliorated the decline in enrollments by adding several thousand foreign-born students to the Portland Public Schools. Immigrant couples are contributing an increasing number of births to the population. Births to immigrants partially counterbalance fertility declines among native-born residents. * There is conflicting evidence from public, private, and home schooling data on changes in public school capture rates (the proportion of school age children enrolled in Portland Public Schools). Available data, however, suggest that changes in capture rates have not been a major determinant of public school enrollment trends.

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