Politics & Government

People moving to Washington drive population near 7 million

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – The state says Washington’s population grew by almost 100,000 last year to nearly 7 million.

The Office of Financial Management says the 85,800 increase in 2013 was the largest one-year gain since 2008, bringing the total to 6,968,200.

The office says people migrating into the state accounted for 57 percent of the increase, with births (minus deaths) accounting for the other 43 percent.

It was the first time since the economic downturn that migration exceeded the three-decade historical average.

The office says 75 percent of the population increase went to the five largest metropolitan counties where economic activity attracts migrants: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties. King County alone added more than 35,000 people last year.

Pierce County’s population grew by less than 1 percent to 821,300. Thurston County had 264,000 people, up from 260,100.

The top 10 cites for population growth were Seattle, Bothell, Vancouver, Bellevue, Pasco, Redmond, Renton, Auburn, Kennewick and Snohomish.

Tacoma’s population barely budged, adding 500 people in the past year to reach 200,900. It remains the third largest city in the state, with the gap between it and Spokane growing in 2013. Spokane, which had 11,400 more people than Tacoma, has achieved much of its population growth through annexation.

In Thurston County, Olympia had 49,670 people, closely followed by Lacey with 45,320.