Dec 1, 2023 - News

Washington state population hits 8 million

Data: Washington Office of Financial Management; Chart: Axios Visuals

Washington is now home to at least 8 million people, state officials estimate.

Why it matters: About 1.8 million more people are expected to move here by 2050, which means the state needs to be smart about how it grows, state demographer Mike Mohrman told Axios.

By the numbers: The state has been steadily gaining millions this century.

  • It took from 2000 to 2014 for the state to grow from 6 million to 7 million people. But we jumped from 7 million to 8 million residents in just nine years.
  • That's according to the state Office of Financial Management, where Mohrman works.
  • The agency estimates the state hit the 8 million mark sometime in November.

For comparison, in 1960, fewer than 2.9 million people called the Evergreen State home.

Yes, but: Our rapid pace of growth is expected to slow a little in the coming years.

  • We're not projected to hit 9 million people until 2037 or 2038.

What they're saying: "More people will increase demand for existing services and resources," Mohrman wrote in an email to Axios. He cited the need to "adequately plan for housing, social, and infrastructure needs."

The big picture: The state Department of Commerce estimates that Washington will need to add 1.1 million housing units in the next 20 years to keep up with population growth.

  • About half of those housing units will need to be affordable for people making 50% of the state's median income or less, the agency says.
  • In 2023, that's about $57,000 for a family of four, or $30,000 for a single-person household.

What we're watching: The state's population is growing older, Mohrman said, which will put more pressure on services that help people as they age.

  • The number of Washington residents 85 and older is projected to quadruple — from about 135,000 residents today to about 529,000 residents by 2050, his office projects.

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