Writings and observations

Population increase in counties/U.S. Census

The Oregon numbers are also out today, and as in Washington there are no huge shocks.

Data for Oregon show that the five most populous incorporated places and their 2010 Census counts are Portland, 583,776; Eugene, 156,185; Salem, 154,637; Gresham, 105,594; and Hillsboro, 91,611. Portland grew by 10.3 percent since the 2000 Census. Eugene grew by 13.3 percent, Salem grew by 12.9 percent, Gresham grew by 17.1 percent, and Hillsboro grew by 30.5 percent.

The largest county is Multnomah, with a population of 735,334. Its population grew by 11.3 percent since 2000. The other counties in the top five include Washington, with a population of 529,710 (increase of 18.9 percent); Clackamas, 375,992 (increase of 11.1 percent); Lane, 351,715 (increase of 8.9 percent); and Marion, 315,335 (increase of 10.7 percent).

Biggest percentage county increase, as you can see, has been in Deschutes, though it’s less than it would have been if the trajectory of the first two-thirds of the last decade had continued. And it remains the seventh most populous county now, same as it was a decade ago.

And in the ongoing contest for second place, Eugene edges out Salem, this time. And barely. Hillsboro continues to be on a strong trajectory for fourth place before long. And while the strong growth in Washington County was surely expected, we’d have thought a higher growth in Clackamas would have been registered. But apparently not.

Oregon was reported a decade ago as 86.6% “white,” but 83.6% now. Hispanic portion was 8% then, and 11.7% now.

A side note. Oregon’s total population was reported as 3,831,074; divide that by five congressional districts, and you get 684,280 each. Washington County’s population is 529,710 is enough to make up most of a whole congressional district. Or this way: If you add the populations of Multnomah and Washington counties and divide the total by two, you get 766,215 – most of what you need for two districts.

NOTE Corrected for final district figures (h/t to a sharp-eyed correspondent).

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Donna Nelson
Census reporting the changes

Numbers are out. The detailed ones – down to precinct level – will need crunching for a while. The larger ones are clear enough. From the census, for Washington, the official stats, within an overall population of 6,724,540:

Data for Washington show that the five most populous incorporated places and their 2010 Census counts are Seattle, 608,660; Spokane, 208,916; Tacoma, 198,397; Vancouver, 161,791; and Bellevue, 122,363. Seattle grew by 8.0 percent since the 2000 Census. Spokane grew by 6.8 percent, Tacoma grew by 2.5 percent, Vancouver grew by 12.7 percent, and Bellevue grew by 11.7 percent.

The largest county is King, with a population of 1,931,249. Its population grew by 11.2 percent since 2000. The other counties in the top five include Pierce, with a population of 795,225 (increase of 13.5 percent); Snohomish, 713,335 (increase of 17.7 percent); Spokane, 471,221 (increase of 12.7 percent); and Clark, 425,363 (increase of 23.2 percent).

No real shock in any of that, though it does underline the growth in Snohomish and Clark counties. Although, the 10 most populous counties now are the same 10 from a decade ago, almost all in exactly the same order.

Much the same is true of cities: Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue and Everett all keep their rank order from a decade ago. Oddly, Federal Way fell a bit in the rankings, with others moving up a little. The new city of Spokane Valley (near Spokane) debuted on the list as the state’s 10th most populous city (89,755 people).

The state was found to be 77.3% white, down from 81.8% a decade ago. It is 11.2% Hispanic, up from 7.5% a decade ago.

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Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

The impending demise of the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy regarding the ability of gay Americans to serve their country ably, along with the discarding of the military’s ban on women serving in combat, has led to some interesting conversations around the Carlson kitchen table.

We have four members of the United States Marine Corps in our extended family: a cousin, who is a retired colonel; a son, who is a captain on active duty; and two nephews, who are corporals in infantry units.

Those policies were doomed because they flew in the face of the best thing the military has going for it: the last bastion of true meritocracy in our society. In all branches of the service, how one performs, not who you know or where you were educated or how wealthy your family may be, determines promotion.

Hiding one’s sexual orientation inevitably invites a form of below -the-radar discrimination that impact adversely a gay officer’s ability to advance fairly in competition with straight Marines. Likewise, most Marine advancement is premised in on an ability to lead, especially in combat. Restricting women from leading in combat zones discriminates against fair advancement.

It was inevitable that policies running counter to the principles of meritocracy, as they did, were destined to be tossed.

Understanding the context in the evolution of these issues helped me to place such outcomes in an historical framework.

First, one has to grasp the sea-change that occurred when the U.S. military went from draft-dependent to the all-volunteer in 1973. This was a politically driven decision in the aftermath of the Vietnam debacle.

In order to attract volunteers, the military had to offer better pay and more benefits. And, being a meritocracy, this inevitably opened up more opportunities for women and minorities to gain their slice of the American Dream.

Keep in mind also the known inequity of the casualty rates in Vietnam. Because the draft snagged more low-income and less-educated men, a disproportionate number of those killed and wounded in the Vietnam conflict were African-Americans and/or poor whites from rural America. There weren’t that many children of affluent families or members of Congress who were lost.

Much to the surprise of many, the all-volunteer force took off and thrived. Congress, in the meantime, continued to provide decent funding levels, as well as wage increases in excess of the cost-of-living index.

Another consequence of this was a concomitant improvement not just in the regular military, now peopled with folks who wanted to be there, but also in the quality of those serving in the reserves and National Guard.

As in any other profession, statistics say that 10 to 15 percent of the workforce could have a homosexual orientation. The military command’s way of dealing with it was to advance the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy which the brass felt still would enable the military to maintain morale and discipline. Experience has largely shown this to be true.

By repealing this policy (but wisely giving the military six months to implement), Congress and the President are signaling our readiness to have gays openly serve and that previous concerns regarding morale and discipline no longer exist.

In dropping the ban on women being in and leading units in combat zones, the military also is acknowledging the changing character of warfare. There is no longer a line on the map signaling “the front.” Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate that the combat zone is all around one. Women have shown they can perform as well as men in that situation.

More challenging though may be the moral issue homosexuality poses for many. The Uniform Code of Military Justice calls it a crime. (It will now be rewritten.) Many religious traditions treat it as deviancy and see homosexual conduct as sinful. Changing these religious-based attitudes will probably prove to be the longer-term challenge.

For now, the military will carry out the orders of its civilian command structure. One suspects true acceptance and understanding will come with time and the advent of a younger generation of leaders raised in a more tolerant and accepting environment.

Preserving the last bastion of meritocracy is the winner.

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Carlson Northwest