Tacoma isn’t building apartments fast enough.
Fast enough to keep up with Spokane, at least.
Tacoma continues to rank third, behind long-time rival Spokane, in the list of Washington’s biggest cities.
Tacoma had 211,277 people in 2016 while Spokane had 215,973, according to population estimates just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
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That’s a difference of 4,696.
Seattle still has both cities walloped with an estimated 2016 population of 704,352.
In the 2010 census Tacoma checked in with 198,397 people and Spokane had 208,916.
Tacoma grew faster than Spokane did in the 1980s, closing to within 532 people of Spokane in the 1990 census.
But the numbers were disputed with recounts, accusations and theories.
The issue became such a hot topic in both The News Tribune and Spokane’s Spokesmans-Review that both newspapers charted the progress like a contested election.
Then Tacoma mayor Karen Vialle pointed to a fire at an apartment building that might have led to an under count.
In 2003 Tacoma finally inched ahead of Spokane.
But in 2005 Spokane annexed an area with 1,640 people.
And Tacoma went back to number three.
Today, the numbers add up in Tacoma’s favor if the municipal region is tallied.
Lakewood (60,665), University Place (33,288), Fircrest (6,780) and Ruston (816) bring the municipal region’s total to 312,826 for the past year.
Spokane’s neighbor, Spokane Valley, saw its population at 96,340 in the same period. Combined that would give them 312,313.
Advantage Tacoma, by 513 people.