Census: Washington added more people in 2022, but Idaho growing faster


Washington and Idaho added tens of thousands of people over the last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers released on Dec. 22.

This added up to a small population increase in Washington and a significant increase in Idaho.

Washington saw a population increase of 45,041 people over fiscal year 2022, or .58% of the state’s population, for an estimated population of 7,785,786 people.

Idaho had a population increase of 34,719 people over fiscal year 2022, or 1.82% of the state’s population, for an estimated population of 1,939,033 people.

Washington was the only West Coast state to add residents over the last year.

Oregon saw a population decline of 16,164 people over the 2022 fiscal year, or .38% of the state’s population.

California saw a net decline of 113,649 residents in the same time, or .29% of its population. The state had the second-largest population loss of the year for any of the 50 states in raw numbers and the tenth-largest decline by a percentage of the population.

Steven Greenhut, western region director for R Street Institute, thinks the Idaho numbers are significant and noted he knows what’s driving them, namely “people fleeing California.”

Greenhut, who lives in California, says that “our high cost of living and our bad public policy” are causing many of the Golden State’s residents to move elsewhere.

“Here in California, Idaho is a hugely popular destination,” he told The Center Square in a phone conversation.

This has created some problems with real estate in Idaho, with Boise prices being pushed so high by people moving into the state that it led to “declining affordability,” he said.

In Washington, where Greenhut owns a summer home, he said, “It doesn’t look like there is a huge influx of people anymore from other states.”

In three successive fiscal years — 2020, 2021 and 2022 — Idaho grew by .55%, 2.98%, and 1.82%, respectively, according to Census figures. In those same years, Washington grew by .24%, .22% and .58%, respectively.

Nationally, the population growth trend was up for fiscal year 2022, a .38% increase.

“There was a sizeable uptick in population growth last year compared to the prior year’s historically low increase,” stated Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the population division at the Census Bureau, in a statement. “A rebound in net international migration, coupled with the largest year-over-year increase in total births since 2007, is behind this increase.”