Washington’s population increases markedly

OLYMPIA — Washington’s population increased considerably in the past year. Annual estimates prepared by the Office of Financial Management show the state’s population increased by 85,800 to 6,968,200 between 2013 and 2014. This 1.25 percent gain — up from 0.95 percent in 2013 — marks the largest one-year increase since 2008.

Washington’s population has been growing at an increasing rate, driven largely by migration. This year there was a net gain of 49,200 people moving into the state, compared to a net gain of 21,600 the previous year. Net migration accounts for 57 percent of the state’s population growth this year, with natural increase (births minus deaths) responsible for the other 43 percent. For the first time since the economic downturn, net migration exceeds the three-decade historical average of 48,800 migrants per year.

Seventy-five percent of the state’s total population increase occurred in the five largest metropolitan counties: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane, whose economic activity continues to attract migrants.

The state’s unincorporated area population increased by 21,100 persons over the previous year. This number would have been 29,200 persons if not for annexation. Excluding annexation, the top 10 unincorporated areas for population growth in descending order are Snohomish, King, Pierce, Clark, Spokane, Kitsap, Thurston, Grant, Whatcom and Yakima.

At the same time, several other counties showed signs of increased growth. In 2014, 12 counties experienced growth exceeding 1 percent, twice as many as last year. Four of the 12 counties are classified as nonmetropolitan counties. Although many nonmetropolitan counties have shown little or no growth in recent years, this year they experienced an increase in net migration from 1,400 persons in 2013 to 2,600 persons.

The April 1, 2014, population estimate for Washington’s incorporated cities and towns is 4,497,400, an increase of 64,700 people over the previous year. Growth in incorporated areas is mainly associated with natural increase and net migration instead of annexation. The top 10 cities for population growth in descending order are Seattle, Bothell, Vancouver, Bellevue, Pasco, Redmond, Renton, Auburn, Kennewick and Sammamish.

Housing growth in 2014 increased by 32 percent over the previous year. The state added 31,000 housing units, compared to a 23,500-unit increase in 2013. More than 70 percent of all new housing is located in the five largest metropolitan counties. King County leads all counties with almost 10,200 new units, or approximately 33 percent of the state’s total housing increase.

Information on the latest population estimates for the state, counties, cities and towns can be accessed at


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