This is a bit wonky and not quite transit related: but here’s an update on the march toward density in our area. According to the state Office of Financial Management (via the P-I), Seattle’s population grew 1.6% from April 2008 to April 2009, reaching 602,000 people. The state overall grew 1.2% to 6,668,200 and King County grew 1.3% to 1,909,300 (1% outside of Seattle). The state’s population growth has slowed from 1.9% to 1.2%, but Seattle’s growth has grown during that period from 1.1% to 1.6%. Why has Seattle’s population grown faster than the state at large and King County? Housing growth. King County added about 10,500 housing units from 2008 to 2009, while Seattle alone added nearly 6,000. Future growth in housing stock will likely slow over the coming years due to the housing bubble bursting, however there’s still fair amount of housing construction underway right now and the city’s growth will likely continue over the next twelve to eighteen months.
Growth management finally seems to be working: unincorporated King County only gained 2,030 people, or 0.59% from 2008 to 2009. This is offset by annexations of unincorporated areas. Still, main urban areas are accounting for much of the state’s growth. From 1999 to 2009, Seattle’s population grew 38,624 in total, a 6.9% uptick with no annexations. Bellevue grew by 10,773 people to 120,600, a 9.8% increase with 2,747 (2.7%) coming from annexations. Tacoma and Spokane have both crossed 200,000 this decade, with reaching 203,400 and 205,500, respectively.
I should caution that these are official approximations, and could end up looking very different from the official census that will be taken in 2010. The OFM creates these approximations from data such as driver’s licence filings, school enrollments and voter registrations.