According to the 2000 national census, Washington ranked 15th among the states, with a total population of 5,894,121. This figure represented an increase of 21.1 percent over the 1990 census of 4,866,692. In 2000, 82 percent of the total population lived in urban areas. The state has an average population density of 37 persons per sq km (96 per sq mi). However, the distribution of people is very uneven, with more than half the state’s population concentrated in the Puget Sound region. During the 1980s the Seattle metropolitan region—located on the eastern side of Puget Sound and including the cities of Everett and Bellevue—was fast growing, and by 1990 it accounted for two-fifths of the state’s population. Since 1990, however, metropolitan regions elsewhere in the state have shown increased growth. Populated regions include the cities of Tacoma, Olympia, and Bremerton at the southern end of Puget Sound; the irrigated valleys of the Yakima and Wenatchee rivers; the farming and transportation crossroads of Spokane; and the lower Columbia River valley.
Whites constitute 81.8 percent of the population. The largest nonwhite group are Asians, who represent 5.5 percent of the people. Blacks are 3.2 percent, Native Americans 1.6 percent, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders 0.4 percent, and those of mixed heritage or who didn’t report ethnicity 7.5 percent. Hispanics, who can be of any race, are 7.5 percent of the people. Washington contains more than 20 Native American reservations, including one of the largest in the country, belonging to the Yakama peoples. Other Native American groups are the Pend d’Oreille (Kalispel), Spokane, and Makah.
Seattle is the principal city of the Pacific Northwest. It is a cosmopolitan city having cultural, as well as economic, ties with Eastern Asia. In 2006 it had a population of 582,454; the population of the metropolitan area centered on the city was 3.6 million in 2000. Spokane, the major city of the Washington interior, had a population of 198,081 (2006). Tacoma, a manufacturing and shipping center on southern Puget Sound, had 196,532 people. Vancouver, on the Columbia River across from Portland, Oregon, reached 158,855 inhabitants in 2006 in part through annexation of suburban communities. Bellevue, located across Lake Washington from Seattle and home to many high technology businesses, had a population of 118,186. Other large cities in 2006 were Everett (98,514), Yakima (82,805), Bellingham (75,150), Kennewick (62,276), Bremerton (35,295), and Olympia (44,645). "Washington" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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