Census: Spokane remains state’s second-largest city

February 23, 2011 4:58 p.m. - Updated: 8:37 p.m.

Spokane grew by 6.8 percent in the past decade and remains the second-largest city in Washington, between Seattle and Tacoma.

Spokane had 208,916 residents in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which released 2010 Census details today at noon. That’s 13,287 more than in 2000.

The city of Spokane Valley, which incorporated March 31, 2003, is listed at 10th largest, with 89,755 residents.

Seattle, which grew by 8 percent, had 608,660 residents. Tacoma grew by 2.5 percent and had 198,397 residents.

Overall, Washington’s population jumped by 14 percent, and the state has added another seat in Congress. The Latino population statewide grew by more than 70 percent in the last decade.

Explosive growth

Among the fastest-growing cities was Marysville, near Everett, which grew 137 percent since 2000; Pasco in the Tri-Cities, up 86 percent; and Renton, which grew nearly 82 percent.

Franklin County, which includes Pasco, is now populated by a majority of residents (51 percent) who describe themselves as Hispanic or Latino.

Franklin County also was the state’s fastest-growing. It added 28,816 residents over the past decade, for a growth rate of 58 percent. It is now the state’s 15th most populous county, up from 21st in 2000

Spokane County is the state’s fourth-largest with 471,221 residents last year. It grew 12.7 percent in the past decade, having added 53,282 residents.

Clark, Thurston, Whatcom and Benton counties saw their populations spike by more than 20 percent.

Two counties lost population: Garfield County in the southeastern corner of Washington, and Pacific County on the south coast.

Among the top metropolitan areas, Vancouver’s population grew by nearly 13 percent and Bellevue grew by about 12 percent. Tacoma’s growth was the lowest among major cites.

The face of Washington is getting a little older, the Census numbers show. Last year, 76.5 percent of residents were 18 or older. In 2000, the adult population was 74.3 percent.

Growing diversity: race, ethnicity

The data also show that Spokane County is 89.2 percent white with 10.8 percent reported to be minorities or mixed race.

By comparison, the city of Spokane is 86.7 percent white with a minority and mixed-race population of 13.3 percent.

Spokane Valley is 91 percent white and 9 percent of minority or mixed-race heritage.

Spokane County by race is 1.7 percent black, 2.1 percent Asian, 1.5 percent Native American or native Alaskan, 0.4 percent native Hawaiian or Pacific islander and 1.2 percent of some other race.

The mixed-race population is larger, with 3.2 percent of the population in the county being of two or more races.

The ethnic Hispanic and Latino population was 4.5 percent. (The people who were listed ethnically as Hispanic or Latino were also identified by one of the listed races.)

Over the past 20 years, the percentage of people identifying themselves as white in the county dropped from 94.6 percent in 1990 to 91.4 percent in 2000 to 89.2 percent last year.

In 2000, the U.S. Census added a category for persons of 2 or more races. In 2010, the Census changed the definition of Hispanic or Latino to no longer be considered race, but rather ethnicity.

By race, the city of Spokane was 2.3 percent black, 1.9 percent American Indian or Alaskan native, 2.5 percent Asian, 0.5 percent native Hawaiian or Pacific islander and 1.3 percent of some other race.

The population listed as having two or more races in Spokane is listed as 4.5 percent.

The ethnic Hispanic or Latino population is 5 percent.

Statewide, the percentage of Washingtonians who identify themselves as white dropped to 77 percent, down from about 82 percent a decade ago. Those who say they’re Hispanic or Latino now number about 755,000 people, or 11 percent of the population, up from 7.5 percent in 2000.

Asians are the second largest minority now at 7 percent, followed by African Americans at 3.6 percent.

The population of Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander people also saw a big jump of nearly 70 percent, from nearly 24,000 to more than 40,000. Their population, though, is just 0.6 percent of the state’s overall population.

Check it out
Explore census data where you live with our searchable online tool.

Washington’s largest cities
1. Seattle city (608,660)
2. Spokane (208,916)
3. Tacoma (198,397)
4. Vancouver (161,791)
5. Bellevue (122,363)
6. Everett (103,019)
7. Kent (92,411)
8. Yakima (91,067)
9. Renton (90,927)
10. Spokane Valley (89,755)

Washington’s largest counties
1. King County (1,931,249)
2. Pierce County (795,225)
3. Snohomish County (713,335)
4. Spokane County (471,221)
5. Clark County (425,363)
6. Thurston County (252,264)
7. Kitsap County (251,133)
8. Yakima County (243,231)
9. Whatcom County (201,140)
10. Benton County (175,177)

How Census data are used
The Census data released today provide the first look at population counts for large and small areas as well as race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing units from the 2010 Census. These numbers are used in several ways:
Apportionment: The state’s population is used to determine the number of members Washington has in the U.S. House of Representatives. Because of the 2010 population, Washington is adding one more member, for a total of 10.
Political boundaries: The Census data will be used by state officials to realign congressional and state legislative districts, taking into account population shifts since the 2000 Census. This process is just beginning and is expected to take months.
Federal funding: Census data help determine spending levels for various government programs, such as Medicare.
Planning: Many state and local agencies, businesses and nonprofit groups use the data for planning purposes, such as where to build or shut down schools, place day care centers and nursing homes, upgrade roads and add retail services.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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