Seatlle's growing. Okay, you already knew that. So is the region. Thousands are moving to the city, and tens of thousands are moving to the county and around the Sound. That's nothing new. What's new is the fact that we're running out of land.
Geekwire published an article about Seattle's historic growth rate, the highest in a century.
"Seattle and its surrounding counties added 86,320 new residents between April 2015 and 2016."
We definitely agree. A few months ago we pointed out that The Seattle-Area Has Grown Enough To Add Another Seattle, by adding 700,000 people since 2000.
Take a look at the growth data over decades instead of years, and find that the greatest growth for the city was around 1910 when over 150,000 people moved to the city. In ten years, the city grew from about 80,000 to over 230,000. The Baby Boom years saw two decades of growth of about 100,000 and 90,000. The difference was that there was a lot more land within the city. Neighborhoods of modest homes on modest lots sprouted. Welcome to our collection of classic Craftsmans and Mid-Century marvels.
Now, the city is resorting to densification because of the lack of land; which means growth is happening elsewhere. Expand the region and find that much of the growth is happening in the surrounding counties. King County (including Seattle) has never had a decade of retreat, not even in the late sixties when so many people were leaving Seattle that a sign asked the last person leaving to turn out the lights. According to the US Census, King County and the rest of the Puget Sound had their largest influx during the Internet Boom when almost a half a million people migrated here per decade. The next census will probably eclipse that, or at least it feels that way.
Seattle is the label the rest of the world applies to the region, but we know there's Seattle, King County, the Puget Sound region, the Salish Sea (which includes coastal British Columbia), and even Cascadia (yet another region that's discussed as a Brexit style candidate.)
The cities are filling but that isn't stopping the arrivals. As the populations shift, the metropolitan areas are merging. The Puget Sound region is heading towards a population of four million. The Salish Sea region is heading towards nine million. Time it wrong and you'll be in traffic from Vancouver to Medford.
Whatever we call our home, and as crazy as the growth is now, it may be comforting to know we aren't in the midst of the double or triple digit percentage growth from a hundred years ago. At least not yet.