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Washington population continues to grow

by STAFF REPORT
Staff Report | June 30, 2022 5:27 PM

OLYMPIA — There are 7,864,400 people living in Washington as of April 1, 2022 — an increase of more than 158,000 since the 2020 census, according to estimates compiled and published by the Washington State Office of Financial Management.

According to an OFM press release, the state’s population rose by 97,400 — or 1.3% — in 2021, with most of those new residents arriving in Washington from other states. That’s an increase from the 40,500 who migrated to Washington in 2020, the press release stated.

The state’s natural population increase — births minus deaths — hit historic lows, accounting for only 14,100 new residents or 14% of the increase, the press release said. However, OFM said in-state births declined slowly, and that an increase in deaths from COVID-19 is responsible for the small increase in natural population.

In 2021, Washington added 46,500 new housing units, 58% of those being multi-family dwellings, the OFM press release said. Nearly three out of every four new homes or apartments in Washington built over the last two years were built in the state’s five largest metropolitan counties — King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane and Clark — with King County alone accounting for 37% of all new homes and apartments in 2021.

According to the report, the fastest-growing counties in Washington that don’t contain major universities in the year up to April 1, 2022, were San Juan County, at 1.7%, followed by Spokane, 1.6%, and Clark, 1.5%. The report said college students returning to the Washington State University campus in Whitman County, Central Washington University in Kittitas County, and schools in Whatcom County unduly skewed the state’s population growth figures for 2021-22.

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