Feeling crowded? More folks on the way
With an estimated 6. 3 million residents, the state of Washington has edged out Indiana to become the nation's 14th most populous state...
Seattle Times staff reporter
With an estimated 6.3 million residents, the state of Washington has edged out Indiana to become the nation's 14th most populous state, recent census estimates show.
Washington continued to attract people from across oceans and around the country — particularly from California, which has seen more than 660,000 of its residents move to other states so far this decade.
"It's like having a great, big nation right next door to us," said Theresa Lowe, the state's chief demographer. "In the last few years, they've dumped hundreds of thousands of people on Western states. How California does makes a big difference in how the Western states as a whole do," she said.
With the 2000 decennial census as the base, the Census Bureau estimates annual population for states, counties and cities using births, deaths and immigration records, tax returns and other data. Estimates for counties and cities will be released next year.
Net domestic and foreign migration, along with natural growth (births minus deaths), boosted Washington's population by 400,000-plus people between July 2000 and July 2005. The 6.4 percent growth rate made Washington the 12th-fastest-growing state in the nation.
Southern statesrecorded both the fastest growth rate (7 percent) and the largest population increase (6.9 million people) this decade.
The South accounts for 36 percent of the nation's total population, while the West comprises 23 percent, the Midwest 22 percent and the Northeast 18 percent.
The 10 most populous states accounted for 54 percent of the nation's population on July 1, 2005.
Only North Dakota and the District of Columbia lost population over the past five years.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Over the same period, the nation's population rose 5 percent to more than 296 million residents.
The Census Bureau's mid-decade estimates show growth tilting South and West, with states in those regions experiencing huge population spikes.
Lowe's population forecast calls for that trend to continue in Washington, with the state drawing more than 100,000 people a year to reach 6.8 million by the end of this decade.
Politicians and political analysts closely watch these mid-decade estimates for clues as to how the 435 U.S. House seats might be reapportioned following the 2010 decennial census.
There's speculation Washington could win a 10th House seat in the next census, if current population trends continue.
California remains the most populous state, with more than 36 million residents. Over the past five years, California has compensated for its domestic population losses by attracting some 1.3 million immigrants, far more than any other state.
Still, Washington folks believe this state has the economic edge.
Global companies seeking West Coast operations see cost advantages to locating in Washington instead of California, said Jeff Marcell, vice president of economic development for enterpriseSeattle, which promotes economic development.
In making their own population forecasts, state demographers compare employment opportunities in Washington with those in California and the rest of the nation, Lowe said. In the past year, she said, Washington has added 85,000 jobs.
"One of the reasons we're doing so well is that California and the rest of the nation have not done as well," she said.
In the five years since the Census Bureau went door-to-door counting heads, Washington has drawn about 81,000 people from other U.S. states — more than half of those arriving during the 12 months between July 2004 and July 2005, estimates show.
But this state's big population driver has been movement from outside the country. Foreign immigration added an estimated 126,000 people this decade, the Census Bureau reports.
Noting that one of every three jobs in the state of Washington is related to international trade, Marcell said, "We're quite fortunate ... to have global companies that do business all over the world — Boeing, Microsoft, to name just two.
"And of course they continue to attract talent from around the world."
Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420 or email@example.com
|Most populous states|
|3.||New York||19.3 million|
|10.||New Jersey||8.7 million|
|Source: The U.S. Census Bureau|
|Fastest growing states|
|Population increase from 2000 to 2005|
|9.||North Carolina||7.4 percent|
|Source: U.S. Census Bureau|
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