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Eye On Olympia

WA population: still growing, but slowing…

From tomorrow’s paper:

OLYMPIA _ We’re still growing, but it’s slowing.
That was the verdict Monday from Washington’s Office of Financial Management, which churns out annual population estimates for the state, cities and counties.
Washington’s population as of April 1, 2009, the agency estimates, was 6,668,200. That’s up about 80,600, or 1.2 percent, from a year earlier.
That’s a big change from 1991’s increase of about 155,000 people, or 2006’s 125,000.
A major factor in the state’s growth is job-related migration here, said the state’s chief demographer, Theresa Lowe. The two top states And while Washington’s economic prospects are better than California’s or Oregon’s, she said, migration to Washington is less than half of what it was three years ago.
“Many job seekers are finding it difficult to sell their homes” and don’t want to risk having to pay two mortgages, she said.
Also, she said, immigration to America has slowed, and many immigrants here have returned home due to the lagging economy.
The city-population estimates also mean that Spokane maintains its claim as second largest city in the state. Spokane has about 205,500 people, an increase of about 10,000 in the past decade. Tacoma, which came within 600 residents of claiming the title in 2005, now has 203,400. Seattle has 602,000.
The state budget office extrapolates the numbers from changes in school enrollment, voting records, housing, driver’s licensing and other data.
Monday report shows that housing growth has slowed in most major metropolitan areas of the state except Seattle. New homes, including manufactured homes, numbered about 2,000 in Spokane County last year. That’s about half the rate in 2005-2006.
Most of the population growth since the 2000 census has been concentrated in Western Washington, according to OFM. The fastest-growing counties are Franklin (47 percent), Clark (25 percent), Thurston (21 percent) and Kittitas (20 percent).
A second set of numbers is due out Wednesday, when the U.S. Census Bureau will issue population estimates for July 1, 2008.

(After the jump, I included numbers for some cities in our readership area.)


April 1, 2009 population, by city     (rank)
Spokane: 205,500 (2nd)
Spokane Valley: 89,440 (7th)
Pullman: 27,600 (37th)
Moses Lake: 18,930 (48th)
Cheney: 10,550 (73rd)
Liberty Lake: 7,270 (91st)
Airway Heights: 5,515 (111th)
Colville: 5,040 (114th)
Medical Lake: 4,845 (116th)
Deer Park: 3,450 (128th)
Colfax: 2,910 (139th)
Newport: 2,020 (161st)
Seattle: 602,000 (1st)
Tacoma: 203,400 (3rd)

Source: Washington State Office of Financial Management


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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