Washington Population 2016

7,277,536

Washington State is situated in the far northwestern corner of the United States, and with a land mass of 71,299 square miles, it is the 18th largest state in the US in terms of surface area. It has a population to match its considerable size, as well, with an estimated population of 7.17 million in 2016.

The US Census Bureau 2015 estimate show Washington's population has reached 7,170,351, up from 6.72 million recorded during the 2010 census. Washington is currently enjoying a healthy growth rate of 1.27%, which ranks 8th in the country.

In order to gauge any current population within Washington State, it is necessary to refer back to the last nationwide census which was carried out in 2010. At that stage, it was confirmed that there were 6,724,540 people in the state, and that represented an increase of just over 14% on the numbers declared in 2000.

Current estimates now show a population of 7.17 million in the state of Washington, and rapid growth is expected to continue. This population places Washington as the 13th most populous state in the country, but only 25th in terms of population density. Within its total area of 71,299 square miles, there is an average of 101.2 people for every square mile of Washington State territory.

Seattle is the largest city in the state with a population of 684,451, with a density of 7,962 people per square mile. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area has a population of 3.73 million, however, and encompasses nearby cities like Kent, Tacoma, Bellevue and Everett. It accounts for more than half of the state's population.

Washington Population Chart

Washington Population History

Like many areas in the far west United States, Washington State began life with a very small population and back in 1850, the population was recorded at 1,201. Ten years later, however, that had increased significantly by nearly 900% to 11,594 and it sparked a population explosion within the state to the extent that by the end of the 1800s, the population had grown to 518,103.

The Census of 1910 revealed that the Washington State population had exceeded one million for the very first time and the pattern throughout the 1900s was one of continued substantial growth.

That has progressed again through the present day where the population of Washington State in 2016 has surpassed 7 million.

Population Projections for Washington

The overall picture in the state is clearly one of sustained growth and there is really nothing to indicate that this factor will change at all for the foreseeable future.

Looking at percentage increases for the last few censuses, it is safe to assume that the population of Washington State will be well on its way to another major milestone through 2020, when the population is estimated to surpass 7.5 million.

According to current projections, Washington's population will reach 8.9 million by 2040, with migration contributing 59% of this increase, while the remaining 41% will be contributed by natural increases (or the number of births minus the number of deaths). While 14% of Washington's total population is now over the age of 65, this percentage will climb to 21% by 2040, which will have serious impacts on planning and policy-making for the state as a whole.

Population Data via US Census

Washington Growth Rate

Washington State Rank

Year Pop % Change
2020 7,706,276 1.41%
2019 7,599,091 1.43%
2018 7,491,906 1.45%
2017 7,384,721 1.47%
2016 7,277,536 1.49%
2015 7,170,351 1.52%
2014 7,063,166 1.29%
2013 6,973,281 1.10%
2012 6,897,292 1.09%
2011 6,823,229 1.47%
2010 6,724,540 1.33%
2000 5,894,121 1.93%
1990 4,866,692 1.65%
1980 4,132,156 1.94%
1970 3,409,169 1.80%
1960 2,853,214 1.83%
1950 2,378,963 3.20%
1940 1,736,191 1.05%
1930 1,563,396 1.43%
1920 1,356,621 1.74%
1910 1,141,990 8.22%
1900 518,103 3.79%
1890 357,232 16.88%
1880 75,116 12.11%
1870 23,955 7.53%
1860 11,594 25.45%
1850 1,201 0.00%

Washington Facts

Washington Population in 2016 Source: Joshulove

  • Tumwater was the first settlement in the state of Washington. It was settled in 1846 and was named New Market.
  • It was found that over half of the 5.9 million residents recorded during the 2000 Census were employed by the state.
  • Over 10% of the state's population is foreign born, and over 1% of the population is comprised of illegal immigrants.
  • Washington is just one of seven states that does not have a personal income tax.
  • Seattle has the highest percentage of residents in the US holding a college degree.
  • Washington has the most glaciers of any state in the contiguous US.
  • Washington is home to over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee, the largest in the nation.

Washington Population Density by County

  • Population
  • Density
  • Growth Since 2010
  • State Rank
  • % of State

Washington Population Growth Rate by County

When comparing data from the 2010 Census to estimates taken in 2015 by the US Census Bureau, this comparison shows that the majority of Washington's counties saw increases in their populations. The highest gain of 12.23% was reported in Franklin County, followed by King County's 9.26%. Other counties that had population gains exceeding 5% include Whitman, Benton, Clark, and Snohomish, while other counties such as Whatcom, Pierce, and Douglas had smaller growth rates.

There were a total of five counties that had losses in their respective populations. The highest loss occurred in Columbia County, with a decrease of 3.95%. The remaining losses were recorded in Lincoln, Garfield, Pacific, and Grays Harbor.

Population Pyramid

To compare Washington to other states, click here.

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White 5,535,262 82.31%
Black or African American 252,333 3.75%
American Indian and Alaska Native 122,649 1.82%
Asian 491,685 7.31%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 43,505 0.65%
Two or more races 279,106 4.15%

Washington has a fairly large Hispanic and Latino population of 12.4%, which may belong to any race. Despite a small overall percentage of the population, the black population of Washington is mostly in the Central District and South End regions of Seattle and Tacoma.

American Indians, meanwhile, live on Indian reservations and jurisdictory lands including Muckleshoot Indian Reservation and the Yakima Indian Reservation. Westernmost and Pacific coast regions of the state have large American Indian communities as well.

Asian American and Pacific Islanders are concentrated in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.) Tacoma itself has one of the largest Cambodian American communities in the country, and Washington as a whole has the largest percentage of Pacific Islander people of any mainland US state except Utah.

Languages Spoken in Washington

Language Population Percentage
Population 5 years and over 6,378,045 100.00%
English 5,536,216 86.80%
Spanish 521,720 8.18%
Chinese 52,980 0.83%
German 32,475 0.51%
French 22,710 0.36%
Ukrainian 22,710 0.36%
Amharic 15,960 0.25%
Panjabi 14,265 0.22%
Cushite 13,925 0.22%

This chart shows the top 10 non-English languages that are spoken at home in Washington. The data comes from the most recent release of the American Community Survey (ACS).

Washington Economy

High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2010-2014 90
Bachelor's degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2010-2014 32
With a disability, under age 65 years, percent, 2010-2014 9
Persons without health insurance, under age 65 years, percent 11
In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2010-2014 64
In civilian labor force, female, percent of population age 16 years+, 2010-2014 59
Total accommodation and food services sales, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 14,297,278
Total health care and social assistance receipts/revenue, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 43,966,889
Total manufacturers shipments, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 131,530,601
Total merchant wholesaler sales, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 83,313,366
Total retail sales, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 118,924,049
Total retail sales per capita, 2012 (c) 17,243
Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16 years+, 2010-2014 26
Median household income (in 2014 dollars), 2010-2014 60,294
Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2014 dollars), 2010-2014 31,233
Persons in poverty, percent 13

Washington Business

Total employer establishments, 2014 179,012
Total employment, 2014 2,528,874
Total annual payroll, 2014 141,277,549
Total employment, percent change, 2013-2014 4
Total nonemployer establishments, 2014 430,670
All firms, 2012 541,522
Men-owned firms, 2012 262,650
Women-owned firms, 2012 187,677
Minority-owned firms, 2012 92,807
Nonminority-owned firms, 2012 426,697
Veteran-owned firms, 2012 49,331
Nonveteran-owned firms, 2012 461,401

Washington Housing

Total employer establishments, 2014 179,012
Total employment, 2014 2,528,874
Total annual payroll, 2014 141,277,549
Total employment, percent change, 2013-2014 4
Total nonemployer establishments, 2014 430,670
All firms, 2012 541,522
Men-owned firms, 2012 262,650
Women-owned firms, 2012 187,677
Minority-owned firms, 2012 92,807
Nonminority-owned firms, 2012 426,697
Veteran-owned firms, 2012 49,331
Nonveteran-owned firms, 2012 461,401