Newly released population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Central Oregon is among the fastest growing regions in the nation.
The census report shows that the Bend-Redmond area grew by nearly 5,698 residents from 2015 to 2016. That's the third highest metropolitan area growth rate nationwide. The combined population of the metro area is now up to 181,307.
The more rural Crook County is also experiencing a boom. In one year, the county grew by 4.26 percent, making it the eighth fastest growing county in the U.S.
Crook County Judge Seth Crawford attributes the growth to things like quality of life and a strong economy.
"I’m very excited about that growth but it is very important that we don’t allow growth to ruin those things," said Crawford. "Because if that’s the reason people are moving here we need to stay strong in our culture and our community.”
Much of Crook County's growth is due to a construction boom. The expansion of both the Facebook and Apple Data centers in Prineville has brought hundreds of jobs and residents to the area. On top of that, several major new solar projects in the county have created new jobs.
"I just think that the way that our economy has been improving, it’s bringing people in here and showing them what we have to offer," Crawford said.
Bend and Redmond continue to see strong growth in the housing sector, with new single family homes and apartment complexes going up in all areas of the cities.