Top Ten Most Expensive WA Cities
Like the spine of a great giant, the mountains of the Cascade Range run north and south through the state of Washington, dividing it into distinct regions which differ greatly in topography, climate, and vegetation. West of the Cascades, Washington's climate is relatively mild, with rainy winters and dry summers, conditions which favor temperate rainforests with their dense stands of evergreens. In eastern Washington, on the leeward side of the Cascades, the climate is much drier, with large areas of semiarid land, as well as some which can be considered desert.
In addition to dividing Washington's topography and climate, the Cascades divide the state politically, with western Washington being liberal and eastern Washington, with the exception of Spokane, generally conservative.
The Cascades are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a ring of mountains and volcanoes on the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean. The range in Washington had been quiet for more than a century. Then, on May 18, 1980, the northeast face of Mount St. Helens exploded, killing 57 people. It felled forests like matchsticks and blanketed large areas of the state in ash. The violence of this eruption and the destruction it wrought recalled a Native American legend in which Cascade peaks, like chieftain-gods, made war by hurling fire and rock at each other.
Before explorers from Europe arrived in the Pacific Northwest, numerous Native American tribes made the region their home. Washington place names such as Seattle, Puyallup, and Walla Walla are reflections of this early history. And today, Washingtonians and others have embraced the striking art of the northwest coast Indians, especially their dramatic totem poles, masks, and stylized depictions of animals, such as the logo used by the Seattle Seahawks.
The state of Washington was named for the first president of the US. But another man with a similar name also figured prominently in the state's history. In 1844, pioneer George Washington Bush - half Black, half Irish - together with his Caucasian wife, led four white families into the territory and, to avoid Oregon's racist settlement laws, established a community named Bush Prairie near modern-day Olympia, WA. Bush's decision initiated migration north of the Columbia river, and was pivotal to the organization of Washington Territory.
Today, the major ancestry groups in Washington are German, English, Irish, Norwegian, Mexican, and Filipino. The fifth largest Asian population in the US resides in Washington, and in 1997, Gary Locke, a Chinese-American, was elected Washington's governor, the first Asian-American in US history to win this office.
The population of Washington reached nearly 6.1 million in 2005, an increase of 119,200 over the previous count. This is due mainly to migration from within the US, as workers move to Washington to reap the benefits of its robust employment climate, which continues to outpace economic growth in the nation as a whole.
In 2005, Washington ranked 14th in the nation with a total gross state product of $268.5 billion. The median per capita income was $40.262, 17th in the nation. Major employers include Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Nintendo and Weyerhaeuser, as well as firms specializing in biotechnology, electronics, and the manufacture of aluminum. Of Fortune's 20 Most Admired Companies in the US, four are based in Washington: Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco and Nordstrom. Bill Gates, worth approximately $53 billion, is Washington state's best-known billionaire, reportedly the wealthiest man in the world.
Washington abounds in powerful rivers and streams flowing westward from the Cascades and many have been dammed to provide hydroelectric power, a major contributor to the Washington economy, while Puget Sound provides ports for a vigorous Asian trading market.
Statewide, the median value of houses is $336,800 and the median monthly housing costs for mortgaged owners was $1,454. In "superstar" Seattle, however, the real estate market has, for decades, grown faster than the rest of the US market. Single-family home prices shot up 19.7 % in 2006, though hidden gems of Washington real estate can be found in selected areas of the city and, of course, in smaller cities and in rural areas.
|NUMBER OF HOMES AND APARTMENTS||2,620,076|
|WASHINGTON HOME OWNERSHIP|
|% OWNER OCCUPIED||66.02%|
|% RENTER OCCUPIED||33.98%|
|TYPE OF WASHINGTON HOMES|
|SINGLE FAMILY DETACHED||63.46%|
|ROWHOUSES AND ATTACHED HOMES||3.57%|
|SMALL APARTMENT BUILDINGS||6.41%|
|COMPLEXES OF HIGH RISE APARTMENTS||19.28%|
|SIZE OF WASHINGTON HOMES|
|5 OR MORE BEDROOMS||4.56%|
|AGE OF WASHINGTON HOMES|
|NEWER HOMES (2000 OR LATER)||16.34%|
|ESTABLISHED, BUT NOT OLD HOMES (1970-1999)||49.18%|
|WELL-ESTABLISHED, OLD HOMES (1940-1969)||23.42%|
|HISTORIC (1939 OR BEFORE)||11.06%|
|WASHINGTON REAL ESTATE INFORMATION||DETAILS|
|MEDIAN HOME VALUE||$266,643|
|MEDIAN RENTAL PRICE||$914|
|HOME VALUE RANGE|
|$0 - $49,000||4.57%|
|$49,001 - $99,000||4.06%|
|$99,001 - $198,000||21.44%|
|$198,001 - $296,000||26.78%|
|$296,001 - $395,000||17.83%|
|$395,001 - $494,000||9.90%|
|$494,001 - $741,000||10.03%|
|$741,001 - $988,000||3.03%|
|PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON||DETAILS|
|UNDER 5 YEARS||6.54%|
|5 TO 17||16.98%|
|18 TO 24||9.67%|
|25 TO 34||13.89%|
|35 TO 54||28.20%|
|55 TO 64||12.42%|
|65 YEARS AND OVER||12.28%|
|EDUCATION ATTAINMENT OF ADULTS|
|HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES||89.99%|
|MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME||$59,374|
|PER CAPITA INCOME||$30,661|
|INDIVIDUALS BELOW POVERTY LEVEL||12.93%|
|INDUSTRIES PEOPLE WORK IN||Healthcare (12.87%)
Professional, scientific, and technical services (7.97%)
Public Service (5.46%)
Information Technology (2.35%)
Real estate (2.15%)
|BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN||3.57%|
|AMERICAN INDIAN AND ALASKA NATIVE||1.54%|
|NATIVE HAWAIIAN AND OTHER PACIFIC ISLANDERS||0.60%|
|SOME OTHER RACE ALONE||5.20%|
|TWO OR MORE RACES||4.65%|
|HISPANIC OR LATINO (OF ANY RACE)||11.24%|
|ETHNICITIES PRESENT||Other groups (30.04%)
|LANGUAGES SPOKEN||English (81.82%)
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