Seattle-area population declined by 20,000 people in 2021 as remote work took hold
New estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show the population of King County, Wash., home to the tech hubs of Seattle and Bellevue, declining by more than 20,000 people between July 2020 and July 2021.
The numbers mirror a nationwide trend, fueled in part by the rise of remote work and newfound flexibility for many information workers. In King County, the decline follows a decade of rapid growth, driven by a booming tech economy and more than 100 out-of-town tech companies setting up engineering centers in the Seattle area.
However, the decrease in population from 2.27 million to 2.25 million in King County last year was just one-third of 1%, far less pronounced than the decreases in some other major metro areas across the country.
Other counties in the state saw increases in population, due in part to some workers moving further from the city. Here are the census estimates showing the change in each Washington state county between July 2020 and 2021.
Apart from remote work, other factors influencing population changes over this timeframe included COVID-19 deaths and a decrease in international immigration.
Across the country, the U.S. Census Bureau reports, “there was a shift from larger, more populous counties to medium and smaller ones. These patterns contributed to population increases in 1,822 counties (58.0%), while 1,313 (41.8%) lost residents, and eight (0.3%) saw no change in population.”
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