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Housing units, prices increasking in state

Wed., Sept. 12, 2007, midnight

The number of housing units in Washington rose more than 10 percent since 2000, with the most growth in Franklin County in Eastern Washington, according to new Census data.

There were 2.699 million housing units in Washington in 2006, up from 2.460 million in 2000. That’s an increase of 10.1 percent between 2000 and 2006, compared to a national increase of 9 percent.

Additionally, Washington has had one of the nation’s sharpest increases in housing costs since 1990, with median home values rising 187 percent in that period, compared to a national average of 136 percent.

An analysis of Census data found that Washington home prices rose from an average of $93,200 in 1990 to $267,600 in 2006. Washington ranked seventh in the nation in the increase, behind Washington, D.C. (260 percent), Oregon (254), Nevada (231), Florida (201), Arizona (197), Maryland (190).

Neighboring Idaho nearly matched Washington, at 183 percent.

The Census Bureau on Wednesday released a host of demographic data about the nation, including statistics on immigration, housing, education and employment. The data come from the American Community Survey, an annual survey of 3 million households that has replaced the Census Bureau’s long-form questionnaire from the once-a-decade census.

In housing units, the fastest growing county in Washington and the only one among the top 100, was Franklin County, which contains Pasco. The number of housing units in the heavily Hispanic county grew 34 percent from 2000 to 2006, to 21,595.

Franklin County was also the fastest growing in the past year, up 5.7 percent from 2005.

The latest survey also found that Washington had 2.471 million households.

The survey also found:

“Of the 93,070 births in the previous 12 months, 26,666 were to unmarried women.

“There were 1.631 million children 3 years and over enrolled in schools. There were 373,180 people enrolled in the state’s high schools and 416,572 in colleges.

“Of the 6.3 million people in the state, 5.5 million were born in the United States, and 793,789 were foreign-born. The rest were born in U.S. territories or abroad to U.S. citizens. Of the foreign born, 307,333 were from Asia, 246,230 were from Latin America and 143,570 were from Europe.

“The state’s largest ancestral category is German, with 1.3 million descendants. That was followed by English with 826,000; Irish with 805,000; Norwegian with 402,000. Smallest ancestral group is West Indian, with 6,966 people.

“The report found 994,169 of the 5.9 million people in the state above the age of 5 speak a language other than English at home. Of those, 431,021 speak Spanish. Nationally, nearly one in five people living in the United States speaks a language at home other than English.

“Of the 3 million people who commute to work, 2.2 million drove alone and 356,000 carpooled. There were 156,000 who used public transportation, and 99,000 who walked. The mean commute time is 25.2 minutes. New York residents had the longest average commuting time to work at nearly 31 minutes, while North Dakota had the shortest, at 15.5 minutes.

“The largest industry in the state is the category of education, health care and social assistance, with 614,748 workers. There are 340,781 in manufacturing and 335,765 in retail trade.

In producing the house prices, the AP compared the 2006 figures with data from the 1990 Census for the 499 cities that were included in both reports.


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