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Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States located north of Oregon, west of Idaho, and south of the Canadian province of British Columbia on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Named after George Washington, the first President of the United States, the state was made out of the western part of the Washington Territory which had been ceded by Britain in 1846 by the Oregon Treaty as a settlement of the Oregon Boundary Dispute. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889.

Washington is the 18th largest and the 13th most populous state. Approximately 60 percent of Washington's residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area, the center of transportation, business, and industry along the Puget Sound region of the Salish Sea, an inlet of the Pacific consisting of numerous islands, deep fjords, and bays carved out by glaciers. The remainder of the state consists of deep temperate rainforests in the west, mountain ranges in the west, central, northeast and far southeast, and a semi-arid basin region in the east, central, and south, given over to intensive agriculture. After California, Washington is the second most populous state on the West Coast and in the Western United States.

Washington is a leading lumber producer. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa and white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar. The state is the biggest producer of apples, hops, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries, and ranks high in the production of apricots, asparagus, dry edible peas, grapes, lentils, peppermint oil, and potatoes. Livestock and livestock products make important contributions to total farm revenue, and the commercial fishing of salmon, halibut, and bottomfish makes a significant contribution to the state's economy.

Manufacturing industries in Washington include aircraft and missiles, shipbuilding and other transportation equipment, lumber, food processing, metals and metal products, chemicals, and machinery. Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, built for a variety of purposes including irrigation, power, flood control, and water storage.

Although its official name is "The State of Washington," the state is often referred to as "Washington state" to distinguish it from Washington, D.C. Another nickname is "the Evergreen State." Its largest two cities are Seattle, situated in the west, followed by Spokane, located in the east. Its capital is Olympia.


The Columbia River Gorge

Washington population density map

Seattle skyline

Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in Washington


Population Statistics

Census Counts (April 1)
20106,724,540132.18 %308,745,538
20005,894,121152.09 %281,421,906
19904,866,669181.96 %248,790,925
19804,132,156201.82 %226,545,805
2000 to 2010 % change14.1 %129.7 %
1990 to 2010 % change38.2 %1024.1 %
1980 to 2010 % change62.7 %1036.3 %

Components of Population Change in 2014NumberRankPercent of U.S.U.S.
Net Domestic Migration28,0637
Net International Migration23,833122.39 %995,944
Natural Increase (births minus deaths)35,73892.62 %1,363,581
Births87,995132.22 %3,957,577
Deaths52,257172.01 %2,593,996

Economy Statistics

Real Gross Domestic Product by State over Time (millions of chained 2009 dollars)Adj. Amount
RankChange Index
(YR 2009=100)
Change 2010 to 201432,36989.222

Per Capita Personal IncomeNumberRankPercent of U.S.
Per Capita Income - 2014$49,58313107.5 %
Per Capita Income - 2004 (adj. for inflation)$45,98012107.0 %
Per Capita Income - 1994 (adj. for inflation)$36,71017103.1 %
Per Capita Income - 1984 (adj. for inflation)$31,83517101.2 %
10-Year % Change7.8 %25
20-Year % Change35.1 %16
30-Year % Change55.7 %17