The number of people living in the countryside of Clatsop County is growing far faster than in any city.
As of July 1, the county’s population was 39,200, up 1 percent from the previous year and 4.5 percent from five years ago, according to estimates from Portland State University's Population Research Center.
Over 36 percent — 14,320 — of the county’s residents lived outside cities. That was a more than 10 percent increase from 12,980 five years ago.
The county’s fastest-growing city, Warrenton, was at 5,310 this year, up more than 2.5 percent from five years ago.
As an affordable suburb of Astoria, Warrenton has grown rapidly from 2,681 in 1990 to 4,096 in 2000 and 4,989 in 2010. Some of the growth is attributable to the city’s merger with Hammond, which included nearly 600 people before it joined Warrenton in 1991.
Astoria, the county seat, shrunk slightly from 9,735 in 2017 to 9,695 this year.
Although it has grown by about 1 percent over the past five years, Astoria has faced a gradual decline over the past several decades, shrinking from 10,069 in 1990 to 9,813 in 2000 and 9,477 in 2010.
Seaside was at 6,660 as of July 1, up from 6,620 in 2017 and 6,560 five years ago. The city has steadily grown over the past several decades, from 5,359 in 1990 to 5,900 in 2000 and 6,457 in 2010.
Cannon Beach’s population increased by five people to 1,710. The wealthy coastal enclave has slowly grown over the decades from 1,221 in 1990 to 1,588 in 2000 and 1,690 in 2010.
Gearhart grew by nearly 1.7 percent to 1,505 as of July 1. The city has grown by one-third since 1990, when it numbered just over 1,000 people.