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Seattle grew by more than 100,000 people in past 10 years, King County population booms, diversifies, new census data shows

By August 12, 2021August 20th, 2021News


We’re growing. We’re growing quickly. We’re growing more diverse.

The Seattle region’s population boomed over the last 10 years, fueled by rapid growth in the Asian and Hispanic populations, according to new census data released Thursday.

The region’s growth was among the fastest in the nation. By one measure, Washington, led by the booming Puget Sound region, grew more diverse more quickly than any other state in the nation.

More than one-third of Washington is now non-white.

The trends here mirror national trends, with the nation’s growth fueled by growing diversity in urban areas, while huge swaths of rural America largely lost population.

Kamau Chege, director of the Washington Community Alliance, ran a coalition last year that worked to ensure communities of color were counted in the census.

“This is the final defeat for the Trump administration’s campaign to erase immigrants and communities of color from our democracy,” Chege said. “The higher-than-estimated numbers broken down by race validate our 2020 census campaign.”

The Trump administration had sought, unsuccessfully, to add a citizenship question to the census and then sought to use other government records to, for the first time ever, exclude undocumented residents from the congressional counts. If successful, the effort could have shifted both political power and trillions of dollars in federal aid to whiter, likely more conservative areas.

Chege noted that while Washington is 36.2% people of color, its voting districts don’t necessarily reflect that. Only 1 out of 10 congressional districts has a voting-eligible population that is majority people of color, and only 1 out of 49 legislative districts.

“One of the things the census highlights is the need to look at whether our political systems are actually representative of who we are,” Chege said.