Washington tops 7.6 million residents in 2020
An estimated 7,656,200 people resided in Washington state as of April 1, according to annual estimates prepared by the Office of Financial Management. The COVID-19 crisis did not have a discernible impact on the 2020 estimates because most population change occurred before the crisis began. Strong population growth continued in Washington, with the state adding 109,800 people over the last year, a 1.5% increase. Migration continues to be the primary driver behind Washington’s population growth. From 2019 to 2020, net migration (people moving in minus people moving out) to Washington totaled 83,400, which was down by 6,700 from last year. Net migration accounted for 76% of the state’s population growth, with natural increase (births minus deaths) responsible for the other 24%.
For the third year in a row, nearly 70% of state population growth occurred in the five largest metropolitan counties: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane. Counties with populations between 100,000 and 300,000 saw their share of growth remain the same at 19%, followed by smaller counties with a 12% share. Kittitas was the fastest-growing county between 2019 and 2020, with 3.4% growth, followed by Clark, Douglas, and Franklin at 2.2%.
The April 1, population estimate for Washington’s incorporated cities and towns is 4,990,700. This is an increase of 79,800 people from the prior year. The top 10 cities for numeric change, in descending order, are Seattle, Vancouver, Redmond, Bellevue, Tacoma, Pasco, Kirkland, Richland, Lacey and Spokane. Seattle’s population increased by 13,800 people to 761,100.
Washington’s population grew by 931,700 people since the last decennial census on April 1, 2010. The state grew by an average of 93,200 people per year this decade, exceeding the previous decade’s annual average growth of 83,000. King County is the main contributor, with total growth of 329,600 people over 10 years, compared to 194,200 people between 2000 and 2010.
In the past year, the state added 46,800 housing units. This was 1,800 more than last year and a high for this decade. Of all new units built the past year, 54% were multi-family. The state’s housing stock grew by an average of 33,200 units per year since 2010. This is 24% below the prior decade’s average of 43,500 units per year. More than 71% of all new housing units this decade were built in one of the state’s five largest metropolitan counties. King County leads all counties with 122,000 new housing units, or 37% of the state total since 2010.