VANCOUVER, WASH. — Vancouver remains the fastest-growing large city in the state of Washington, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Seattle continued to grow at a healthy pace, and Spokane remained just ahead of Tacoma in their perpetual battle for the title of state's second largest city, according to estimates covering the period from 2000 to July 1, 2006.
The data showed that Washington's cities continued to grow, although generally not by big percentages. No Washington cities were among national leaders in growth. But none of the larger communities lost population, either.
Vancouver has been on a major growth spurt for more than a decade. It has added more than 15,000 people since the 2000 Census, growing to 158,855. The growth rate of 10.6 percent was easily the highest in the state among cities of more than 100,000 residents.
Much of that growth involves its status as a livable bedroom community of Portland, with lower housing costs and better schools than the Oregon side of the river, said Gerald Baugh, in charge of business development for the city.
The city has also in recent years pushed numerous development projects to improve downtown, the waterfront and other areas, Baugh said.
"The quality-of-life things really, truly make a difference," Baugh said. "If you are getting into the Portland metro area and figuring out where to land, all of those play into where you call home."
Seattle grew 3.4 percent to 582,454 people, the 23rd largest city in the country, just ahead of Washington, D.C., and just below Boston. The Emerald City added 19,000 residents, thehighest number in the state.
Spokane grew 0.6 percent to 198,081, the 103rd largest city, just ahead of Yonkers, N.Y., and just behind Boise, Idaho. Tacoma grew 1.5 percent to 196,532, the 107th largest city. Bellevue grew 5.1 percent to 118,186.
Those were the only Washington cities of more than 100,000, although Everett is closing in with 98,514 residents.
Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession said his city's quality of life and improving economy keep it growing.
"These new figures demonstrate once again that Spokane is an exciting, dynamic place to be," Hession said. "We have proven that we can create an economic engine for our community while preserving our unique quality of life."
Rounding out the top 10 cities in Washington were Federal Way (84,166 residents), Spokane Valley (83,533), Kent (83,501) and Yakima (82,805).
Nationally, New York continued to be the nation's most populous city, with 8.2 million residents. Los Angeles was second at 3.8 million.
The estimates also showed that many of the nation's fastest-growing cities are suburbs. North Las Vegas, Nev., a suburb of Las Vegas, had the nation's fastest growth rate among large cities (100,000 or more population) between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006. North Las Vegas' population increased 11.9 percent during the period, to 197,567.
Phoenix had the largest population increase of any city between 2005 and 2006, adding more than 43,000 residents to reach 1.5 million.
—The Associated Press