Salem, Oregon Population 2023

181,805

Salem is a city located in Marion County and Polk County Oregon. It is also the county seat of Marion County. With a 2023 population of 181,805, it is the 3rd largest city in Oregon and the 152nd largest city in the United States.Salem is currently growing at a rate of 1.16% annually and its population has increased by 3.57% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 175,535 in 2020. Spanning over 49 miles, Salem has a population density of 3,734 people per square mile.

The average household income in Salem is $73,609 with a poverty rate of 18.14%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Salem is 35.9 years, 34.5 years for males, and 37.2 years for females.

The city’s top employer is the State of Oregon, which provides over 21,000 jobs. The Salem-Keizer School District, Salem Health, Chemeketa Community College and Marion County are other top employers in Salem, each providing thousands of jobs to residents.

Salem Population Growth

Salem has seen continuous and steady growth since its founding. By 1900, the population exceeded 4,000 people. At the time of the next census in 1910, this number had risen to over 14,000 and had almost doubled just 20 years later. In 1970, the population reached over 68,0000 and in 1990 surpassed 100,000. Recent estimates show that the current population count is up 8.3% since the last census was taken in 2010, indicating that this city will continue to see steady growth well into its future.

Salem has been inhabited for over 10,000 years, according to estimates. When the Europeans first arrived at the land that is now Salem, the Kalapuya people occupied the area. The region was known initially as Chim-i-ki-ti until the Methodist Mission came to the city and named it Chemeketa. After the establishment of the Oregon Institute, it was merely called the Institute.

After the dissolution of the Institute, a townsite was laid out by trustees. The town name selected was Salem, although some wanted it to remain Chemeketa. When the territorial capital was moved from Oregon City in 1851, Salem became the new capital until 1855, when it was moved again to Corvallis. However, later that year, Salem was named as the capital again. Salem was incorporated as a city just two years later and before the end of the decade was designated as the state capital.

Salem’s first capitol building was erected in 1855 but burned down just two months later. Another capitol building was developed in 1876 but also burned down in 1935. The third capitol building, which is still in use today, was completed in 1938.

The city’s economy initially revolved around agriculture, which remains vital to the marketplace today. Specifically, Salem has had a thriving cherry-growing industry which gave it the nickname “Cherry City.” The city was selected as the site of the Oregon State Fair and the annual cherry festival. Today, the city is a major food processing center and is home to Kettle Foods, NORPAC Foods and Oregon Fruit Products, Inc.

The city is also home to many universities and other higher education institutes, including Willamette University and Corban University. The largest employer in Salem is the state government, although as previously mentioned agriculture is still critical to the economy. In the 1990s, tech manufacturing plants made their way to the city. Today, Salem has taken on multiple projects to increase housing in the downtown area as well as to add office space to the growing city.

Salem Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Salem was:

  • White: 78.89%
  • Two or more races: 8.08%
  • Other race: 5.95%
  • Asian: 3.23%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 1.49%
  • Black or African American: 1.27%
  • Native American: 1.08%
The current population of Salem, Oregon is 181,805 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates.The last official US Census in 2020 recorded the population at 175,535.

Salem, Oregon Population 2023

Salem Metro Area Population by Year

Population by Race

White

Two or more races

Other race

Asian

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

Black or African American

Native American

Salem Population by Race

Salem Population Pyramid 2023

Salem Median Age

35.9

Total

34.5

Male

37.2

Female

Salem Adults

There are 130,828 adults, (25,334 of whom are seniors) in Salem.

Salem Age Dependency

62.9

Age Dependency Ratio

24

Old Age Dependency Ratio

38.8

Child Dependency Ratio

Salem Sex Ratio

Female84,81049.36%
Male86,99650.64%

Salem Population by Age

Salem Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

3.24

Average Family Size

2.6

Average Household Size

54.9%

Rate of Home Ownership

Married

Male

Female

NonFamily

owner

renter

Salem Households and Families

Male

Female

Less Than 9th Grade

9th to 12th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Associates Degree

Bachelors Degree

Graduate Degree

Salem Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Salem Educational Attainment by Race

High School Graduation Rate

Bachelors Rate

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 81.60%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 37.95%.

Salem Educational Attainment by Race

All

Male

Female

$36,781

Average Earnings

$40,372

Average Male

$33,304

Average Female

Salem Earnings by Educational Attainment

Salem Language by Age

Only English

Spanish

Other Indo-European Languages

Asian and Pacific Island Languages

Other Languages

Salem Language

78.85% of Salem residents speak only English, while 21.15% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 15.65% of the population.

Salem Language

Salem Poverty by Race

rate

18.14%

Overall Poverty Rate

14.28%

Male Poverty Rate

16.25%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Salem

The race most likely to be in poverty in Salem is Islander, with 42.16% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Salem is White, with 13.07% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.80%. Among those working part-time, it was 17.33%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 22.81%.

Salem Poverty

Salem Poverty Rate by Education

Salem Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Salem Income by Household Type

Households

Families

MarriedFamilies

NonFamilies

mean

median

Income by Household Type

Salem Marital Status

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Marriage Rates

44.6%

Overall Marriage Rate

46.0%

Male Marriage Rate

43.2%

Female Marriage Rate

Salem Married by Age and Sex

male

female

Salem Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is 55-64, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35-44.

Salem Marital Status by Race

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Salem Marital Status

Second Gulf War

First Gulf War

Vietnam

Korea

World War II

9,203

Number of Veterans

8,445

Male Veterans

758

Female Veterans

Salem Veterans by War

Salem Veterans by Age

count

Salem Veterans by Race

Salem Veterans by Education

Less Than 9th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Bachelors or Greater

7.40%

Veteran Poverty Rate

31.04%

Veteran Disability Rate

Salem Veterans by Education

LaborForceParticipation

61.5%

Labor Force Participation

57.5%

Employment Rate

6.2%

Unemployment Rate

Salem Employment by Age

LaborForceParticipation

Salem Employment by Race

LaborForceParticipation

Salem Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

Europe

Asia

Africa

Oceania

Latin America

North America

Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

Europe

Asia

Africa

Oceania

Latin America

North America

50.05%

Born in Salem

87.16%

Native Born

10.71%

Foreign Born

6.65%

Non Citizen

4.06%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

87.16% of Salem residents were born in the United States, with 50.05% having been born in Oregon. 6.65% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

Salem Place of Birth

Note: data after 2020 is projected based on recent growth

Salem Population by Year