OLYMPIA – An estimated 7,656,200 people lived in Washington state as of April 1 and more than 43,000 of them were in Okanogan County, according to annual estimates prepared by the state Office of Financial Management.
The COVID-19 crisis did not have a discernible impact on the 2020 estimates because most population change occurred before the crisis began, said the state.
Strong population growth continued in Washington, with the state adding 109,800 people over the last year, a 1.5 percent increase. Migration continues to be the primary driver behind Washington’s population growth.
From 2019 to 2020, net migration (people moving in minus people moving out) to Washington totaled 83,400, which was down by 6,700 from the previous year. Net migration accounted for 76 percent of the state’s population growth, with natural increase (births minus deaths) responsible for the other 24 percent.
For Okanogan County, the population rose from 41,120 on the 2010 census to an estimated 43,130 in 2020, according to the state figures. Of those, 26,220 lived in unincorporated areas, compared to 24,780 in 2010.
By city, figures included (2010 census, followed by 2020 estimate): Brewster, 2,370, 2,420; Conconully, 210, 235; Coulee Dam (Okanogan County portion), 911, 915; Elmer City, 238, 235; Nespelem, 236, 290; Okanogan, 2,552, 2,665; Omak, 4,845, 4,955; Oroville, 1,686, 1,700; Pateros, 667, 595; Riverside, 280, 290; Tonasket, 1,032, 1,115; Twisp, 919, 985; Winthrop, 394, 500.
Two towns saw their populations drop: Elmer City, which lost an estimated three residents, and Pateros, which dropped by 72 from 2010 to 2020.
Pateros showed a stable population at 665-667 people each year until 2015, the year after the Carlton Complex fire in which more than 30 homes burned. In 2015, the population dropped to 525 from the previous year’s 665, according to state figures.
Ferry County saw its population rise from 7,551 in the 2010 census to 7,910 in the 2020 estimate. Those living in the unincorporated part of the county in 2020 totaled 6,805, with 1,105 living in Republic.
For the third year in a row, nearly 70 percent of state population growth occurred in the five largest metropolitan counties: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane. Counties with populations between 100,000 and 300,000 saw their share of growth remain the same at 19 percent, followed by smaller counties with a 12 percent share.
Kittitas was the fastest-growing county between 2019 and 2020, with 3.4 percent growth, followed by Clark, Douglas and Franklin at 2.2 percent.
The April 1 population estimate for Washington’s incorporated cities and towns is 4,990,700, an increase of 79,800 people from the prior year. The top 10 cities for numeric change, in descending order, are Seattle, Vancouver, Redmond, Bellevue, Tacoma, Pasco, Kirkland, Richland, Lacey and Spokane.
Seattle’s population increased by 13,800 people to 761,100.
Washington’s population grew by 931,700 people since the last decennial census on April 1, 2010. The state grew by an average of 93,200 people per year this decade, exceeding the previous decade’s annual average growth of 83,000.
King County is the main contributor, with total growth of 329,600 people over 10 years, compared to 194,200 people between 2000 and 2010.
In the past year, the state added 46,800 housing units, more 1,800 more than last year and a high for the decade. Of all new units built the past year, 54 percent were multi-family.
The state’s housing stock grew by an average of 33,200 units per year since 2010. That is 24 percent below the prior decade’s average of 43,500 units per year. More than 71 percent of all new housing units this decade were built in one of the state’s five largest metropolitan counties.
King County leads all counties with 122,000 new housing units, or 37 percent of the state total since 2010.