Imagine filling Bellingham's Civic Stadium — putting a butt in each of the 2,800 seats on the south side of the stadium and another 880 in the north stands.
You'd still have nearly enough people left to fill the 1,545-seat Joe Martin Field across the street.
That's how many new residents of Whatcom County there were in 2017, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Between July 1, 2016, and the same date in 2017, the county's estimated population increased by 5,130 people to 221,404 — a 2.4-percent increase.
That's the largest single-year estimated increase the county has seen since the last official census in 2010. Since then, Whatcom County has grown an estimated 10.1 percent or by 20,259 people.
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The 2.4 percent increase last year landed Whatcom County just outside the 100 fastest growing counties of more than 10,000 people in the the country — Boone County in Indiana was No. 100 at 2.5 percent. Kittitas Count (No. 71) and San Juan County (No. 96) were the two Washington state representatives to make the top 100.
Here are some other highlights from the numbers:
- Natural increase accounted for 14.4 percent of that increase, as there were 2,373 births and 1,636 deaths — a net increase of 737 people.
- Migration accounted for 4,371 additional residents, according to the statistics — 421 coming from international locations and 3,950 moving from elsewhere in the United States.
- Whatcom County remains the ninth-largest county in Washington state in terms of population, the same spot it held in 2010.
- The county's growth since 2010 is the eighth-largest in the state in terms of total numbers behind No. 1 King County (257,368) and the ninth-fastest in terms of percentage behind No. 1 Franklin County (17.9 percent).