A few quick observations on the just-released county and metro area census figures . . .
One is that, since the estimation period ended in July of last year, that happened before the economic crash really started to hit. What changes might happen when the next round comes out, the estimate closing in July of this year?
Another is that, for the most part, growth has continued in larger jurisdictions, and population declines seem centered in smaller and more remote areas. The estimate is that as of mid-2008, King County (the big kahuna in the region) added another 25,000 or so people, which is a little more than it added in the year before. Pierce County added about 12,000 (though Snohomish considerably less). Multnomah County grew about 15,000 and Washington County (Oregon) close to 10,000. Ada County added almost 8,000.
But: Some of the largest percentage growth in the region was in the somewhat smaller urban areas. The hottest metro in the Northwest, by far, was the Tri-Cities which went from 227,905 to 235,841. Next largest in percentage was the Idaho Falls area, which went from 119,133 to 122,995 (largely accounted for via suburban growth in Jefferson County just north of town). Is there a nuclear generator for population going on here?
Bend, Olympia and Coeur d'Alene had the next largest percentage growth.
All of that shouldn't totally obscure the places that have been showing clear population declines. Among those counties: Bear Lake, Caribou and Clearwater in Idaho and Gilliam, Grant, Harney and Sherman in Oregon. (None in Washington.)
Note also some counties we've been thinking of as resort growth counties, which turn out generally to have stabilized in population the last few years: Blaine, Teton and Valley in Idaho, Hood River and Lincoln in Oregon.