Region gained 166 people a day last year

Since 2000, the region has added the equivalent of another Seattle and Tacoma

The region has gained a million people since 2000—about the population of another Seattle and Tacoma. The central Puget Sound region now has 4,264,200 residents.

Between April 1, 2019 and April 1, 2020, the region grew by 60,800. That’s less than in recent years when growth sometimes topped 80,000, but still remarkably strong—166 people a day.

Data comes from the Office of Financial Management's April 1 official population estimates. The numbers include people who moved into the region, as well as natural growth (births minus deaths).

County population growth

Last year, King County added 34,500 people, which was 57% of the region’s overall growth. Pierce and Snohomish counties together accounted for 40% of the region’s population increase, with Pierce adding 12,400 people and Snohomish 11,800. Kitsap comprised 3% of the region’s growth, with 2,100 additional residents.

City population rankings

Seattle tops the list of cities with the highest nominal population growth from 2010 to 2020. Seattle made room for another 152,400 residents in the last decade, basically putting a Bellevue within its city limits.

All five Metro Cities are in the top 25 ranking for nominal growth, as are 11 of the Core Cities with designated regional growth centers: Auburn, Bothell, Burien, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Lynnwood, Puyallup, Redmond, and Renton.

The region’s top 25 cities with the greatest percent growth include a broad range of large and small cities. Over half the cities on the list have populations under 25,000.

Annexations accounted for growth in some cities. But most increases came from real population change, that is, natural population change (birth minus deaths) and migration.

The fastest growing spot in the region was Kirkland. The city nearly doubled its size in 2011 when it annexed a population of 32,000. But even without the annexation, Kirkland’s real growth rate of 20% would have kept it in the top 25.

By contrast, second-fastest growing city Gig Harbor had almost no annexation. A phenomenal 58% growth rate took the small city from 7,000 to 11,000 in 10 years.

Data for all of the region’s cities is available in the new issue of Puget Sound Trends.

These 2020 estimates are subject to revision based on results from the 2020 Census. PSRC will be tracking data to see how COVID-19 impacts growth in the next year.