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What you need to know about the census results

By September 20, 2021Blog


First, we made sure we were counted. Now, we’re building political will in our communities to make sure everyone counts. And like you, friends, we’re pretty tired of people who don’t know talking about Washington as a white state. So we’re excited about the census results from the last month that have made official what so many of us have known from jump. We’re Hella Diverse!

Hella Diverse (HD): In the last ten years Washington became a lot less white—from 73% to 64%—and are well on our way to becoming our own version of the United Colors Of Benetton ads.

HD King County: King County promises to become majority BIPOC in the next couple years as just 54% of the population identify as white, driven by significant growth in Asian, multi-racial, and Latinx communities. Even as we celebrate, though, the Indigenous population is the only non-white group to shrink.

HD Yakima: In central Washington, Yakima County went from majority-minority to majority Latinx—well over double the state’s 13% total population. Changing representation in this region is also spurred by Indigenous leaders taking up the mantle of elected office.

Well almost everywhere: Whereas the national non-Hispanic white population shrank by 8% and in Washington by 1.3%, Spokane County—the fourth largest in our state and the biggest east of the Cascades—is one of the few to see white growth (5.4%).

5th in growth: Trailing the big states that have been growing for a while (California, Texas, Florida, and Georgia), Washington grew by nearly one million residents since the last census. That’s nearly 15%!

Congress isn’t everything: The big prize was securing an 11th Congressional District, which we just fell short of (no worries, we’re on track to add a CD in 2031). However, growth in South King County and Eastern Washington remind us that redistricting legislative and city boundaries is a key place we have to organize and show out.

Real, proportional representation: Don’t get it twisted: from the beginning of American democracy, our voices have been diluted, our options limited, and our ability to decide what leadership and policies work for us entirely cut off. Those at the head of our institutions today still want to keep us divided—not just through cultural scapegoating, but through actual voting ability.

This new census data is another tool in our arsenal with which we plan to shape America’s first-ever multi-racial democracy—one that actually serves our needs. Whether it’s a municipal districting fight in White Swan or a pushing for ranked choice voting in the legislature, bet. We’ll be there.

What do you think? Have any questions? Tweet us your thoughts @wacommalliance. Keep up with the action and opportunities to get involved with our legislative newsletter The Tally.