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Thursday, June 28, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Issaquah leads Eastside cities in growth rate

The Associated Press; Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Issaquah takes this year's title for biggest population jump on the Eastside from 2006 to 2007.

The number of people living in the city spiked by 26 percent in the past year, according to population figures released Wednesday by the state Office of Financial Management. That's an increase of 5,140 residents, mostly due to a voter-approved annexation of the Greenwood Point/South Cove neighborhood.

Snoqualmie ranked second with a 10 percent increase, the report shows, much of that concentrated in the burgeoning master-planned community of Snoqualmie Ridge. Coming in third was Newcastle, which grew by nearly 4.1 percent.

The gains fall in line with an overall boost in Washington's population, which swelled by more than 100,000 people in the past year, to about 6.5 million residents as of April 1.

And much of the incoming tide of new residents comes from California.

The state population estimate says Californians account for up to half of the in-migration. At least 34,000 headed north to Washington and applied for driver's licenses. That's a little lower than the 38,000 in 2006 and the peak of about 40,000 a year in the early 1990s.

The U.S. Census Bureau is also releasing new numbers showing that Vancouver remains the fastest-growing large city in the state.

Seattle continued to grow at a healthy pace, adding 19,000 residents, the highest number in the state. Seattle grew 3.4 percent to 582,454 people, the 23rd-largest city in the country, just ahead of Washington, D.C., and just below Boston.

Spokane remained just ahead of Tacoma in their perpetual battle for the title of state's second-largest city, according to census estimates covering the period ending July 1, 2006.

The state's estimate of 2007 populations differs from the U.S. census figures, which are for a year earlier, use a July 1 estimate date and are developed by somewhat different demographic techniques.

The state Office of Financial Management numbers reflect a bit of a growth slowdown compared with recent years. Still, a strong market continues to attract job-seekers, state officials say.

Nearly two-thirds of the growth can be attributed to people moving into the prosperous state looking for work, said Theresa Lowe, the chief nose-counter for the governor's budget office.

"As always, continued population growth in Washington depends on how our employment opportunities stack up against what other states have to offer," Lowe said.

Since 2000, a majority of the state's population has been concentrated in Western Washington, with the largest seven-year gains being increases of 124,254 in King County, 89,682 in Pierce County, 80,276 in Snohomish County and 69,762 in Clark County, the report said.

Seattle grew from 578,700 in 2006 to 586,200 in 2007, a 1.3 percent change.

Some places remained unchanged. In East King County, for instance, Carnation and Hunts Point saw zero growth. And Medina, home to Bill Gates, expanded by five people, according to the figures.

The Office of Financial Management bases its annual updates on changes in school enrollment, housing, voter registrations, driver's-license applications and other indicators.

The Associated Press and news assistant Nyssa Rogers

contributed to this story.

Sonia Krishnan: 206-515-5546 or skrishnan@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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