The first 2010 U.S. Census bureau data released for Washington confirmed what a lot of Mid-Columbians already knew -- Franklin County topped the state for population growth during the past decade with its 58 percent increase since 2000.
The official counts released Wednesday showed Franklin County boasted 78,163 residents during the 2010 head count of everyone living in the United States, compared with 49,347 residents in 2000.
The U.S. Census Bureau is releasing redistricting data for states through April 1, telling state officials numbers such as total population, racial and ethnic breakdowns and how many people are of voting age.
The data is designed to help redistricting officials figure out how to redraw congressional and legislative districts based on population shifts.
While Washington's growth slowed during the 2000s compared to previous decades, the population still boomed enough to earn the state an additional congressional district -- bringing the total to 10 -- and to boost the state from the 15th most populous in the nation to the 13th, according to the state Office of Financial Management.
As a state, Washington's population grew by 830,419 people during the past decade to 6,724,540 -- a 14.1 percent increase.
The growth not only qualifies the state for another representative in Congress, but more federal funding for certain kinds of programs.
"Washington state remains a highly desirable place to live -- offering a stronger economy, safe communities and an unmatched quality of life," Gov. Chris Gregoire said. "I'm not surprised by Washington state's population growth, and welcome the added diversity. And at a critical time in our nation's history, I also welcome the additional representation in our nation's Capitol, along with the increase in federal funding to support such critical programs as Medicaid and education."
The census data show the state's non-Hispanic white population was 72.5 percent of the total in 2010 -- down from almost 80 percent in 2000.
The fastest-growing minority populations during the past decade were Hispanic, which grew by 314,281, or 71.2 percent; followed by Asian, which grew by 156,233, or 48.9 percent; and multiracial, which grew by 71,427, or 40.6 percent.
Population distribution between western and eastern Washington remained unchanged with the same 78-22 percent split in place 10 years ago.
But there was a shift in the rank of fastest-growing counties, with Franklin replacing Clark County as the state's fastest-growing, the Office of Financial Management reported.
Although by percentages, Benton County saw less than half the growth Franklin experienced, it still far outpaced the state average by adding almost 33,000 new residents over the decade, or an increase of 23 percent, from 142,475 to 175,177.
Other Mid-Columbia counties:
- Adams County grew by 14 percent to 18,728.
- Grant County grew by 19.3 percent to 89,120.
- Walla Walla County grew by just 6.5 percent to 58,781.
- Columbia County grew by only 14 residents in the decade to 4,078.
- Data for Oregon also was released Wednesday, and showed Umatilla County grew by 7.6 percent, from 70,548 to 75,889.
The census data shows an increasingly diverse population in the Mid-Columbia, with Franklin and Adams counties both having shifted to a population that is more than 50 percent Hispanic in the latter part of the decade, and the number of Hispanic residents on the rise in other counties in the region as well.
Adams County had the highest percentage of Hispanics in the state, with 11,099, or 59 percent, of its 18,728 residents identifying as Hispanic compared to 47 percent in 2000.
Slightly more than 40,000 of Franklin's 78,163 residents self-identified as Hispanic on the census form, representing about 51 percent of the population. In 2000, the Hispanics made up about 47 percent of the county's residents.
Hispanics represented about 19 percent of Benton County's population in 2010, compared to just over 12 percent in 2000.
Grant County was 38 percent Hispanic, according to the 2010 Census, with 34,163 of its 89,120 residents claiming that identity, up from 30 percent in 2000.
Walla Walla County had 11,593 Hispanic residents, or about 20 percent, compared to 17 percent in 2000.
Columbia County lost four Hispanic residents over the decade, but the percentage of the total population remained steady at about 0.06 percent.
Umatilla County's Hispanic population grew from 16 percent, or 11,336 of its 70,548 residents, in 2000 to 24 percent, or 18,107 of its 75,889 residents, in 2010.
Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; email@example.com