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‘We are planning for growth ... because we know it’s coming’ — here’s how fast we grew in 2018

U.S. Census Bureau planning for 2020 count

By reusing information people have already provided, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to improve accuracy and reduce the need for census takers to knock on doors in 2020.
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By reusing information people have already provided, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to improve accuracy and reduce the need for census takers to knock on doors in 2020.

Though Bellingham’s population surpassed 90,000 people in 2018, according to U.S. Census estimates released Thursday, May 23, the rate at which the city grew was actually the lowest it has been in four years.

Bellingham’s population is now estimated to be 90,665 people — an increase of 1,526, according to Census estimates.

That represents a 1.7% increase from the 2017 estimate of 89,139 people.

Bellingham saw growth rates of 1.9% in 2015, 2.3% in 2016 and 2.4% in 2017 after four straight years with an annual growth rate less than 1% between 2011 and 2014.

“We are planning for growth in our community because we know it’s coming,” Kelli Linville told The Bellingham Herald in a statement. “The goal is both to enhance the character of our community and provide adequate infrastructure as we move forward. The residents of Bellingham need to know that the city is preparing for these changes.”

Since 2010, Bellingham’s estimated population has grown by 9,321 people — an 11.5% increase, which is lower than Whatcom County’s growth rate of 12% and Washington state’s rate of 11.8% for the same period.

Bellingham is the 12th largest city in the state behind Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Kent, Everett, Renton, Spokane Valley, Federal Way and Yakima.

Whatcom County Census totals

Ferndale — 2018 estimate 14,564: Ferndale continued to own the county’s highest growth rate in 2018 at 3.6% — its highest mark since the last census in 2010. The city has grown by 3,100 people since 2010 — a 27% rate.

Lynden — 2018 estimate 14,736: Lynden continued to be the county’s second largest city, growing by 460 people. The 3.2% growth rate was the third straight year above 3% for the city, which has grown by 2,717 people (27%) since the 2010 estimate.

Blaine — 2018 estimate 5,309: After seeing a 3.3% growth rate in 2017, Blaine slowed slightly to 2.4% last year. The city has grown by 726 people (15.4%) since 2010 estimates.

Everson — 2018 estimate 2,779: Everson grew by 74 people (2.7%) in 2018 and 310 people since 2010 (12.6%).

Nooksack — 2018 estimate 1,576: Nooksack grew by 22 people (1.4%) in 2018 and 224 people since 2010 (16.6%).

Sumas — 2018 estimate 1,503: Everson grew by 37 people (2.5%) in 2018 and 193 people since 2010 (14.7%).

Unincorporated Whatcom County — 2018 estimate 94,426: Unincorporated Whatcom County grew by 1,280 people (1.4%) in 2018 and 7,547 people since 2010 (8.7%).

Lynden’s 2018 estimated population corrected May 23, 2013.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.

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