Pacific County’s population grew by 11.7% — to 23,365 people — from 2010 to 2020, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in August. It’s the fastest the county has grown in a single decade in 100 years, when the population grew by 18.8% from 1910 to 1920.
Pacific County was the 12th-fastest growing county in Washington over the past decade, despite having stagnant growth in the first half of the 2010s. The population grew in 37 of the state’s 39 counties, and grew by 10% or greater in 19 counties, defying national trends that saw large swaths of rural counties in the country shedding residents.
Pacific County’s four large census divisions displayed sharp differences in population growth between 2010 and 2020.
Fastest-growing by far was the Long Beach-North Beach Peninsula county census division, where year-round population expanded 20.3% during the decade — to 10,955 in 2020, up from 9,107 in 2010.
The Raymond division — which includes South Bend, Tokeland, Bay Center and other communities in the county’s northern one-third tier — grew 6.2% to 8,385 in 2020, up from 7,892 in the previous census.
With growth of 2.9%, the Willapa Valley division was third in rate of increase, with a population gain of 47 over the course of 10 years to 1,648 in 2020.
The Naselle division, which the census defines to include Chinook, was the county’s slowest-growing census area. Its population expanded 2.5% and it added 57 residents in a decade to attain a 2020 population of 2,377.
On the Washington coast, only Ocean Shores in Grays Harbor County experienced growth directly comparable to that on the Long Beach-North Beach Peninsula, with a population increase of 20.5% between 2010 and 2020 to a total of 6,728.
Long Beach-North Beach Peninsula is the census’ official designation, splitting the difference between the community’s commonly accepted marketing name and its older official name.