Polk County, Oregon

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Polk County, Oregon
Polk County Courthouse - Oregon.png
Polk county courthouse in Dallas
Map of Oregon highlighting Polk County
Location in the state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
Founded December 22, 1845
Seat Dallas
Largest city Dallas
 • Total 744 sq mi (1,927 km2)
 • Land 741 sq mi (1,919 km2)
 • Water 3.1 sq mi (8 km2), 0.4%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 77,916
 • Density 102/sq mi (39/km²)
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Website www.co.polk.or.us

Polk County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,403.[1] The county seat is Dallas.[2] The county is named for James Knox Polk, the 11th president of the United States.

Polk County is part of the Salem, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Portland-Vancouver-Salem, OR-WA Combined Statistical Area. It is located in the Willamette Valley.


Agricultural field and tree near Perrydale

The Oregon Provisional Legislature created Polk County from Yamhill District on December 22, 1845, granting to it the entire southwestern portion of present day Oregon to the California border. County boundaries were periodically changed to reflect the creation of Benton and Lincoln counties. Many other counties were subsequently carved out of these as settlement spread towards the south, leaving Polk County many counties away from its former border with California.

The first county seat was a settlement on the north side of Rickreall Creek named Cynthian (also known as Cynthia Ann). In 1852 city officials renamed Cynthian to Dallas after Vice President George M. Dallas, vice president (1845-1849) to James Polk. During the 1880s and 1890s, there were a series of unsuccessful efforts to move the county seat to nearby Independence.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 744 square miles (1,930 km2), of which 741 square miles (1,920 km2) is land and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) (0.4%) is water.[3]

About two thirds of Polk County, the western part, is forest, mostly of the coniferous and mixed varieties, bordering on temperate rain forest around Laurel Mountain, the wettest place in Oregon.[4]

The eastern half of the county lies in the Willamette Valley. The Willamette River forms the eastern border of the county, separating it from neighboring Marion County.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,625
1870 4,701 29.7%
1880 6,601 40.4%
1890 7,858 19.0%
1900 9,923 26.3%
1910 13,469 35.7%
1920 14,181 5.3%
1930 16,858 18.9%
1940 19,989 18.6%
1950 26,317 31.7%
1960 26,523 0.8%
1970 35,349 33.3%
1980 45,203 27.9%
1990 49,541 9.6%
2000 62,380 25.9%
2010 75,403 20.9%
Est. 2014 77,916 [5] 3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2014[1]

As of the census[10][11] of 2010, there were 75,403 people, 28,288 households, and 19,545 families residing in the county. The population density was 102 people per square mile (39/km²). There were 30,302 housing units at an average density of 41 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 85.9% White, 0.6% Black or African American, 2.1% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 5.4% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. 12.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 28,288 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 23% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18 and 14.8% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.1 years. For every 100 females there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.

As of the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the county was $42,311, and the median income for a family was $50,483. Males had a median income of $36,667 versus $26,272 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,282. About 6.30% of families and 11.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.50% of those under age 18 and 5.50% of those age 65 or over.


Though Polk County is located in western Oregon, politically it falls in line with the eastern side of the state. The majority of registered voters who are part of a political party in Polk County, as well as most rural counties in Oregon, are members of the Republican Party.[12] In the 2012 presidential election, 50.54% of Polk County voters voted for Republican Mitt Romney, while 46.21% voted for Democrat Barack Obama, and 3.25% either voted for a Third Party candidate or wrote in a candidate.[13] These numbers show a shift toward the Republican candidate when compared to the 2008 presidential election, in which 48.92% of Polk County voters voted for Republican John McCain, while 48.43% voted for Barack Obama, and 2.64% either voted for a Third Party candidate or wrote in a candidate.[14]

Political orientations in Polk County, Oregon (2009).gif


The major industries of the county are agriculture, forest products, manufacturing, and education. Polk County has the second-largest area devoted to viticulture in Oregon, at 1,322 acres (5.35 km2). Western Oregon University in Monmouth is a major employer.



Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Geography & Climate". Moving To Portland. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  8. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  11. ^ "Polk County, Oregon". State & County QuickFacts. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  12. ^ "Voter Registration by County" (PDF). Oregon Secretary of State. February 2014. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  13. ^ "November 6, 2012, General Election Abstract of Votes: United States President" (PDF). Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  14. ^ "November 4, 2008, General Election Abstracts of Votes: United States President" (PDF). Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°55′N 123°25′W / 44.91°N 123.42°W / 44.91; -123.42