Yelm’s population continues to boom despite an economic downturn that has slowed growth elsewhere, the latest annual state population figures show.
The city’s population went up 9.2 percent, from 5,150 to 5,625, according to figures released Monday by the Office of Financial Management. The state’s average growth rate is 1.2 percent.
Lacey, the state’s 24th largest city, and DuPont also had above-average growth. Lacey’s population rose 3.2 percent, from 38,040 residents to 39,250. DuPont’s rose 3.5 percent, from 7,390 to 7,650.
Olympia had below-average growth, with a population gain of 1 percent from 44,800 to 45,250.
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Fewer people are moving to Washington from other states, the state’s chief demographer, Theresa Lowe, said in a statement. The number of annual in-migrants fell from a recent peak of 81,000 in 2006 to 39,000 for 2009.
“The continued housing contraction nationwide and poor economic conditions appear to be limiting the mobility of the population usually influenced by labor market opportunities,” she said in the statement. Many people were having a hard time selling their homes or encountering other barriers to relocation, she said.
The state estimates the population as of April 1 by using various sources: school enrollment figures, along with housing, voter and driver’s license data. The estimates are used to dole out state funds and to help governments determine the need for services.
The Office of Financial Management highlighted the drop in people surrendering out-of-state driver’s licenses in Washington verses those giving up Washington licenses in other states. The data showed a slight, short-term uptrend, but a healthy decline from 2006 and a steep drop from a peak in 1991.
Where are most migrants coming from?
California – 26,400 of them between April 2008 to April 2009. But that’s down from a peak of about 40,000 in the early ’90s.
Washington is also becoming more urban. About 60 percent of the total population of 6.7 million lives in cities and town, up by about half a million since 2000. Annexations account for about one-third of that increase.
More information can be found at www.ofm.wa.gov.
Ian Demsky: 253-597-8872