tcrd newsletter update...continueD DECEMBER, 2019

Keynote speaker and Bulu Box CEO Paul Jarrett speaks to attendees during a break in the program.

The U.S. Census Bureau updated detailed demographic information along with its population estimates. They show that Washington followed the national trend by growing older. The median age for Washington rose to 37.7 last year, up 0.4 years in the past eight years. North Dakota was the only state to record a drop in the median age. Maine was the nation’s oldest state. Utah was the youngest. In Benton County, 15 percent of the 202,000 residents are 65 or older. Only 9 percent are 65 or older in Franklin County. The national average was 16 percent.

The region isn’t just getting older. The new census figures confirm the Mid-Columbia is more diverse than ever. In Benton County, the Hispanic community grew by nearly 37 percent. Franklin County recorded a 25 percent increase in Hispanic residents. Hispanics constituted the majority of people living in Franklin County in 2018.

Benton County’s black or African American community grew to 5,800 — a 50 percent gain. In Franklin County, the community grew to 3,644 — a gain of about 53 percent. The Native American/Alaska Native population grew 29 percent to nearly 4,000 in Benton County and by more than 51 percent, to 2,560, in Franklin County. The Asian community grew by 38 percent to 8,900 in Benton County and by 46 percent to 3,000 in Franklin.

And, new jobs are following the growth in population. According the State of Washington Employment Security Department, the Mid-Columbia’s civilian labor force grew to nearly 145,000 workers in the spring, 5,500 more than in 2018 and nearly 9,000 more than in 2017. The surge in new jobs—and new job seekers—resulted in a rare summer increase in the Tri-City unemployment rate. The Tri-City unemployment rate took an unexpected turn in June but not because of layoffs or closures. There were more new job seekers than jobs, pushing the Mid-Columbia unemployment rate to 5.3 percent — the highest June rate since 2016. The growing pool of new workers expanded the labor force to nearly 152,000, the first time that the Tri-City labor force has topped 150,000. More information: