Writings and observations

The census city estimates for 2009 for cities nationwide were released today; they’re always worth a good ponder. A note: These are not the official decade census numbers – only the annual estimates.)

Nationally, the city of Seattle now ranks at 23, Portland at 30, Boise at 100, Spokane at 104, Tacoma at 108, Vancouver at 143, Salem at 150, Eugene at 155.

Of the 19,510 places on the census list, the smallest in the Northwest (ranking 19,480 nationally) is Warm River, Idaho, with 10 people. (Yes, it is an incorporated city.) Next smallest is Hamer, Idaho, with 12.

Most of the key rankings of cities within states aren’t much disturbed. In Washington, it remains Seattle-Spokane-Tacoma (though the latter two remain close, and the estimate said that Tacoma was growing about twice as fast as Spokane). In Oregon, it’s Portland-Salem-Eugene (with Salem gently expanding that thin lead over Eugene). In Idaho, it remains Boise-Nampa-Meridian, with Meridian becoming much the fastest-growing city in raw numbers in the state, adding people much faster than Boise. Also in Idaho, the number 4 or 5 spots switch, with Idaho Falls regaining its occasional lead over Pocatello.

Those spots are of some interest in Oregon, too. Gresham remained fourth and Hillsboro fifth, but Hillsboro is growing a lot faster. In the 2000 census, Gresham had about 20,000 more people; now that lead has been cut by about three-fourths.

There are, of course, population losers as well as outright gainers. The largest city in the Northwest reported to lose population over the year was Bremerton (35,191), down 95 people over the year and still below the 2000 census numbers. Next largest was Grants Pass (32,829), off by 14 in the year but still considerably above the 2000 numbers. The next two largest were also in Oregon – Roseburg and Klamath Falls. (Southwest Oregon has taken a hit.) The largest in Idaho was Mountain Home (12,266) though that may have to do more with the shifts of military activities at its base. Next largest in Idaho was the (now) Boise bedroom community of Emmett, off by 27; maybe the recession had some impact here.

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