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June 27, 2022

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County growing, but not as fast

Population grew by 8,500 between April 2017 and April 2018

By , Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith

Clark County’s population is still growing at a fast clip, but the growth rate may have reached its peak.

The county gained an estimated 8,500 people and grew 1.8 percent between April 2017 and April 2018, making it only the eighth fastest-growing county in Washington, according to data released Tuesday by the state Office of Financial Management. An estimated 479,500 people live in Clark County.

Franklin and Benton counties, which make up the Tri-Cities, along with Snohomish and Skagit counties north of Seattle, were the fastest-growing. Historically, Clark County has been among the state’s fastest-growing places. The other faster-growing counties this year were Kittitas (Ellensburg), Whatcom (Bellingham), and San Juan.

“It is still relatively strong growth,” said Mike Mohrman, senior forecast analyst with the Office of Financial Management. “These things go in cycles along with the economy.”

He said there’s no strong indicators that there will be any great change to this pattern and expects the state population to keep rising. Washington’s businesses, mild climate and natural surroundings continue attracting people to this part of the country. The state’s population grew by an estimated 1.6 percent to 7,427,570 residents.

Clark County’s population: 479,500

Clark County...

  • is the eighth fastest-growing county in Washington.
  • represents 6.5 percent of the state’s population.
  • gained 8,500 people between 2017 and 2018.
  • is the fifth most-populated county.
  • and the second most densely populated.

Washington’s most populous cities

  1. Seattle 730,400
  2. Spokane 220,350
  3. Tacoma 209,100
  4. Vancouver 183,500
  5. Bellevue 142,400

Compared to last year, population growth is beginning to spread out from the five largest counties (King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane and Clark) to surrounding areas that are less populated.

Seattle and the surrounding Puget Sound communities are the major population powerhouses. Seattle gained 16,700 people between 2017 and 2018. Vancouver had the second-largest increase in population among cities, but that was primarily due to annexation of Van Mall North, an area of approximately 2 square miles. Vancouver’s population was estimated at 183,500.

Percentage-wise, Ridgefield remains the fastest-growing city in Clark County.

Washougal’s population surpassed 16,000. Battle Ground gained more than 500 people and Camas nearly 700 people. The smallest city, La Center, added a modest 100 people, which included a handful through annexation. The town of Yacolt is gradually adding residents.

Statewide housing growth is lagging behind population growth; it can take some time to reach a good balance, Mohrman said, but that dynamic should even out eventually as housing projects get built. The Office of Financial Management found that 52 percent of all new housing was in multi-family structures.

“We’re building up rather than out,” Mohrman said.

The Office of Financial Management’s annual population estimates influence how state programs and revenues are dispersed.

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Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith

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