Despite the recession and housing market deflation, Washington continues to grow and attract new residents from out-of-state, according to 2009 population estimates from the state Office of Financial Management. But the growth has slowed considerably from its recent peak.
As of April 1, Washington’s population stood at 6.67 million, up 1.2 percent from the year before. Not surprisingly, that annual growth rate was down from the recent high of 1.9 percent in 2006. The state grew by an estimated 80,600 people during the year, about 39,000 from in-migration from other states.
"The continued housing contraction nationwide and poor economic conditions appear to be limiting the mobility of the population usually influenced by labor market opportunities," said Theresa Lowe, the state’s chief demographer in a press release. "Many job seekers are finding it difficult to sell their homes or to relocate to accept employment at the price of paying two mortgages for an extended period."
In the annual competition for Washington’s second city, Tacoma (with 203,400 residents) is still slightly behind Spokane (205,500). Spokane grew at a slightly more robust pace.
Pierce County and most of its cities and towns continued to grow. The county’s population stood at 813,600, up from 805,400 in 2008.