Pasco area growing at fast pace
Washington barely remained the second most populous state in the West, and the Pasco area remained the fastest-growing part of Washington...
The Associated Press
SPOKANE — Washington barely remained the second most populous state in the West, and the Pasco area remained the fastest-growing part of Washington, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
King County was the most populous county in the state and 14th largest in the nation in 2007, with 1.85 million residents. Pierce County, which includes Tacoma, was the 71st largest county, at 773,000 residents, just ahead of San Francisco County, Calif.
Snohomish County, which includes Everett, was the 86th largest at 676,000 residents. Los Angeles is the largest county, with 9.8 million.
Franklin County grew 5.2 percent from July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2007, the Census Bureau said. Mason County was second, growing 2.7 percent, and Douglas County was third, growing 2.6 percent.
King County had a growth rate of 1.4 percent.
Overall, Washington grew 1.5 percent, adding 93,514 residents in the year, to reach 6.46 million.
That kept us just ahead of Arizona, which added 173,000 residents to reach 6.33 million people. California remained the most populous in the West and nation, at 36.5 million.
Washington's population grew 9.7 percent from July 1, 2000, to July 1, 2007. Franklin County was the biggest gainer within that period, at 41 percent. Clark County, which includes Vancouver, was second at 21.1 percent.
Cheap housing, short commutes, a dry, sunny climate and a strong economy explain the growth in Franklin County, which along with Benton County constitutes the Tri-Cities region, said Dean Schau, who studies the area's economy for the state Employment Security Department.
"So, give us your road-weary, your mortgage-poor, your huddled masses yearning for sun-filled days," Schau recently wrote in a report on his region.
Franklin and Benton counties are on the Columbia River in southeastern Washington. The economy has long been dominated by the sprawling Hanford nuclear reservation.
Cleanup work at Hanford continues to provide plenty of high-paying jobs, Schau said, with a new nuclear-waste-treatment plant bringing more than 1,000 jobs in 2007, Schau said.
The wine industry and other agriculture and food-processing jobs also continue major growth, Schau said.
"The quality of life and the cost of living are remarkable here relative to other urban regions along the coast," he said.
In the third quarter of last year, median housing prices in the Tri-Cities were $172,400, one-third of the $472,000 median cost of a home in King County.
The Census Bureau also reported that among the 100 fastest growing counties in the nation from 2000-07, Franklin County ranked 30th. No other Washington county was on the list. Kendall County, Ill., was the fastest growing, at 77.5 percent in that period.
From 2000-07, births were the main reason for Washington's growth, followed by migration from other countries and migration from other states. Washington had 597,061 births and 330,009 deaths in the period, for a net increase of 267,052 people. In addition, 164,951 people moved here from other countries, and 155,491 from other states.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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