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Census: Washingtonians moving out but gap being filled by international migration

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(The Center Square) – Washington state was ranked No. 37 for population decline compared to last year in new annual population estimates. Between April 1, 2020, and July 1, 2023, Washington lost 23,497 people, according to new U.S. Census Bureau annual estimates released Tuesday.

The -23,497 figure – derived by estimating population changes in the state since the 2020 decennial Census – does not tell the whole story. For the 12 months ending in July, Washington saw 15,276 people leave. However, migrants more than closed the gap by adding 28,919 to the Evergreen State’s population.

Despite 15,276 people leaving Washington, the state had 14,860 more births than deaths and welcomed 28,919 people from outside the country.

The Census Bureau figures show Washington had an estimated 7,812,880 people in 2023, or 28,403 more than the year before. That’s fewer gains than in 2022 when the state’s estimated population increase was 43,044, but more than the state increased by only 16,867 in 2021.

For total net change over the past year, Washington’s gain of 28,403 saw it tied on a percentage basis with Indiana, Virginia, Wyoming and Minnesota at .4%.

Earlier this year, the Census Bureau released data on 2022 state-to-state migration that found more than 248,000 people were estimated to have moved from other states to Washington, most from California, Oregon and Texas.

The Census Bureau figures generally align with the state Office of Financial Management’s population data.

“The April 1, 2023, population estimate places Washington’s population at 7,951,150,” the OFM website states. “This represents an increase of 86,750, or 1.10%, since last year.”

OFM also notes the state’s “annual rate of population growth had been below 1.0% from 2009 to 2013 due to the sluggish economy. Economic activity has a strong influence on net migration.”

According to a Nov. 8 OFM report, Washington is expected to hit 8 million people next year. The state is projected to hit 9 million people in 2038.

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