Here's what draws people to Bellingham
We like to complain about things in Whatcom County — it's probably a result of all the winter days we have to hole up when the weather turns wet and miserable, souring our generally sunny dispositions.
Though we complain about everything from the housing market to politics and Canadian drivers to backyard cottages, the one thing people grouse about most often — especially if they've lived here for a while — is how many people are moving into our perfect little haven in the northwest corner of the United States.
Seems there are too many new people coming from elsewhere — and things just aren't the same as before they came, are we right? It's just getting crowded.
Turns out, population estimates released by the United Census Bureau Thursday bear out those concerns. Whatcom County and every city within the county that had an estimate done in 2017 at least matched its largest growth rate since the last official census in 2010.
Whatcom County grew by an estimated 5,130 people from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017, according to the estimates, to 221,404 residents — a 2.4 percent growth. It marked the second straight year the county's estimated growth rate has been more than two percent — it was 2.2 percent in 2016 when the county grew by 4,561 people.
Since April 1, 2010, the county's estimated population has grown by 20,259 people — a 10.1 percent growth.
Bellingham's growth in 2017 mirrors the county's with a 2.4 percent rate. An estimated 89,045 people now call the City of Subdued Excitement home — 2,119 more than in 2016, when the city saw a 2.3 percent growth.
Bellingham was the 68th fastest growing city of at least 50,000 people in the United States last year, according to the study, behind No. 1 Frisco, Texas (8.2 percent). In Washington state, other cities of 50,000 or more, showed Auburn was No. 32 (3.1 percent), Redmond was No. 33 (3.1 percent), Richland was No. 47 (2.8 percent) and Seattle was No. 66 (2.5 percent).
Bellingham also moved up nine places and is now the 367th-largest city in the United States.
Since 2010, Bellingham's estimated population has increased by 7,793 people or 9.6 percent — the 208th fastest growth for U.S. cities of at least 50,000 people during that time.
Here's a quick look at the other Whatcom County cities that had population estimates:
▪ Lynden: The estimated population increased by 3.3 percent — matching its rate from 2016 — growing by 459 residents to 14,259. Since 2010, Lynden's population estimate has surged by 2,275 — a 19-percent growth.
▪ Ferndale: The estimated population increased by 3.4 percent — matching its rate from 2016 — growing by 455 residents to 14,026. Since 2010, Ferndale's population estimate has surged by 2,629 — a 23.1 percent growth.
▪ Blaine: The estimated population increased by 3.4 percent — its highest rate since 2010 — growing by 174 residents to 5,311. Since 2010, Blaine's population estimate has surged by 611 — a 13 percent growth.
▪ Everson: The estimated population increased by 3.1 percent — its highest rate since 2010 — growing by 82 residents to 2,699. Since 2010, Everson's population estimate has surged by 238 — a 9.7 percent growth.
▪ Nooksack: The estimated population increased by 3.2 percent — its highest rate since 2010 — growing by 49 residents to 1,560. Since 2010, Nooksack's population estimate has surged by 223 — a 16.7 percent growth.
▪ Sumas: The estimated population increased by 4.8 percent — its highest rate since 2010 — growing by 67 residents to 1,464. Since 2010, Sumas' population estimate has surged by 157 — a 12 percent growth.
Overall, Washington state grew by an estimated 124,809 people in 2017 to 7,405,743 — a 1.7 percent growth. The state's population is up an estimated 681,198 residents since 2010 — a 10.1 percent growth — and has increased by at least 1.1 percent every year since the last full census.