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Thurston County’s cities are growing fast, but it’s not all new residents, cities say

U.S. Census Bureau planning for 2020 count

By reusing information people have already provided, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to improve accuracy and reduce the need for census takers to knock on doors in 2020.
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By reusing information people have already provided, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to improve accuracy and reduce the need for census takers to knock on doors in 2020.

Lacey has officially entered the 50,000 population club.

The city added more than 8,000 residents from 2010 to 2018, bringing its population to 50,718, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

That is still under Olympia’s population of 52,555 in 2018. The capital city added about 6,000 people from 2010 to 2018, a 13 percent increase.

Lacey grew by nearly 20 percent in that time and is poised to surpass Olympia in the coming years. City Manager Scott Spence notes estimates from the state’s Office of Financial Management last year showed the city crossing the 50,000 mark then.

Spence said recent growth is partly due to multifamily housing construction. He predicts in the next half decade, the city will transition from building new housing to maintaining and redeveloping existing housing.

“With the new population, we need to ensure we’re maintaining the quality of life,” he said.

On growth rate alone, Tumwater has Lacey and Olympia beat. It grew by more than 36 percent from 2010 to 2018, reaching 23,688 people last year.

About half of that growth was achieved through annexation of already developed land in its urban growth area, said Mike Matlock, Tumwater’s community development director. The largest annexation, completed in 2016 on the city’s east side, added about 3,200 people.

For comparison, the data show Seattle grew 22.4 percent during that eight-year period to an estimated 745,000 people, while Tacoma grew 9 percent to about 216,000.

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