Pierce County, Washington

Pierce County, Washington

Infobox U.S. County
county = Pierce County
state = Washington

map size = 225
founded = December 22, 1852
seat = Tacoma | area_total_sq_mi =1806
area_land_sq_mi =1679
area_water_sq_mi =128
area percentage = 7.06%
census yr = 2000
pop = 700820
density_km2 =161
web = www.co.pierce.wa.us

Pierce County is the second most populous county in the U.S. state of Washington. Formed out of Thurston County on December 22, 1852, by the legislature of Oregon Territorycite web | last = Reinartz | first = Kay |title = History of King County Government 1853 – 2002 | url = http://www.metrokc.gov/kc150/historical%20overview.pdf
accessdate = 2007-12-29
] cite web |title=Milestones for Washington State History — Part 2: 1851 to 1900|url=http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=5380| date=March 6, 2003|publisher=HistoryLink.org] , it was named for U.S. President Franklin Pierce. As of 2004, the population was 744,000. The county seat is Tacoma, on Commencement Bay, also the county's largest city.

Pierce County is notable for being home to the Mount Rainier volcano, the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range. Its most recent recorded eruption was between 1820 and 1854. There is no imminent risk of eruption, but geologists expect that the volcano will erupt again. If this should happen, parts of Pierce County and the Puyallup Valley would be at risk from lahars, lava, or pyroclastic flows. The Mount Rainier Volcano Lahar Warning System was established in 1998 to assist in the evacuation of the Puyallup River valley in case of eruption.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,806 square miles (4,679 km²), of which, 1,679 square miles (4,348 km²) of it is land and 128 square miles (330 km²) of it (7.06%) is water.

Geographic features

*Anderson Island
*Carbon River
*Cascade Range
*Case Inlet
*Commencement Bay
*Fox Island
*Herron Island
*Ketron Island
*Key Peninsula
*Lake Tapps (Washington)
*McNeil Island
*Mount Rainier, highest point in Pierce County
*Nisqually River
*Puget Sound
*Puyallup River
*Raft Island
*Tacoma Narrows

Pierce County also contains the Clearwater Wilderness area.

Major highways

*Interstate 5
*Interstate 705
*State Route 16 (Tacoma Narrows Bridge)
*State Route 167
*State Route 512

Adjacent counties

*King County, Washington - north
*Yakima County, Washington - east
*Lewis County, Washington - south
*Thurston County, Washington - west/southwest
*Mason County, Washington - west/northwest
*Kitsap County, Washington - north/northwest

National protected areas

* Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (part)
* Mount Rainier National Park (part)
* Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (part)


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 700,820 people, 260,800 households, and 180,212 families residing in the county. The population density was 417 people per square mile (161/km²). There were 277,060 housing units at an average density of 165 per square mile (64/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 78.39% White, 6.95% Black or African American, 1.42% Native American, 5.08% Asian, 0.85% Pacific Islander, 2.20% from other races, and 5.11% from two or more races. 5.51% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.1% were of German, 8.6% Irish, 8.2% English, 6.3% United States or American and 6.2% Norwegian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 260,800 households out of which 35.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.80% were married couples living together, 11.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.90% were non-families. 24.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the county, the population was spread out with 27.20% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 31.30% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 10.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 98.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,204, and the median income for a family was $52,098. Males had a median income of $38,510 versus $28,580 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,948. About 7.50% of families and 10.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.20% of those under age 18 and 7.20% of those age 65 or over.


Residents of Pierce County, Washington, live in one of three congressional districts cite web | title=Democracy for Washington: Washington Congressional Districts Map|url=http://www.democracyforwashington.com/reps/wacongresssm.gif| accessdate=2007-12-30] :
* The 8th district covers the eastern half of the county, from Orting east to Mt. Rainier. The 8th district has been represented since 2005 by Dave Reichert (Republican).
* The 9th district, which cuts a swath through the county's midsection and includes the county's southwestern portion, is bordered by the Nisqually River and includes Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base. The 9th district has been represented since 1997 by Adam Smith (Democrat).
* The 6th district includes the city of Tacoma, Gig Harbor, the Key Peninsula, and part of Lakewood. The 6th has been represented since 1977 by Norm Dicks (Democrat).

Pierce County's main government consists of a [http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/ourorg/council/default.htm 7 member council] and [http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/ourorg/exec/exec.htm 1 executive] .

Census-recognized communities

Other communities

*American Lake
*Anderson Island
*Browns Point
*Camp Murray
*Crescent Valley
*Dash Point

*Harbor Heights
*Herron Island
*Ketron Island
*Key Center
*La Grande
*Lake Tapps
*McNeil Island
*Point Fosdick

* Ponderosa Estates
* Raft Island
* Rhododendron Park
* Rosedale
* Shore Acres
* Shorewood Beach
* Sunny Bay
* Sunrise Beach
* Sylvan
* Thrift
* Tillicum
* Vaughn
* Victor
* Villa Beach
* Warren
* Wauna
* Wollochet
* Yoman

Arts and Culture

Pierce County boasts a thriving arts and culture community. Arts organizations within Pierce County include: the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, Grand Cinema, Lakewood Playhouse, Museum of Glass, Northwest Sinfonietta, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma Little Theater, Tacoma Concert Band, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, Tacoma Opera, Tacoma Philharmonic, Tacoma Symphony, Dance Theater Northwest, and others. Wintergrass, a yearly festival that takes place over several days in February every year, was honored in 2005 as "Bluegrass Festival of the year in 2005". The City of Tacoma celebrates "Art at Work" month every November to encourage participation and support for the arts community in that city. [http://www.ArtsFund.org ArtsFund] , a regional United Arts Fund, has been supporting the arts community in Pierce County since 1969.


Public school districts in Pierce County include Tacoma Public Schools and the Clover Park School District. Private schools include the Cascade Christian Schools group, Life Christian School and Academy, Bellarmine, and Charles Wright Academy. Libraries include the Pierce County Library System, the Tacoma Library System, and the Puyallup Public Library.


The third largest army post in the United States, Fort Lewis, is located in the County as are McChord Air Force Base, Madigan Army Medical Center, and Camp Murray National Guard post. Altogether these military installations contribute over 42,000 military and civilian jobs to the local economy.

The Port of Tacoma is the sixth busiest container port in North America, and one of the 25 busiest in the world, and it plays an important part in the local economy. This deep-water port covers 2,400 acres (9.7 km²) and offers a combination of facilities and services including 34 deepwater berths, two million square feet (190,000 m²) of warehouse and office space, and 131 acres (530,000 m²) of industrial yard. One economic impact study showed that more the 28,000 jobs in Pierce County are related to the Port activities.

Pierce County's official transportation provider is Pierce Transit. It provides buses, paratransit, and rideshare vehicles. The regional Sound Transit runs a light rail line through downtown Tacoma, and provides several regional express buses. Also, Intercity Transit provides transportation between Tacoma, Lakewood, and Thurston County.

Every year in April, the Pierce County Daffodil Festival and Parade is held. Established in 1934, it is one of the regions prominent attractions. It is also home to the Puyallup Fair, held every September.

As of 2006, 38% of the methamphetamine labs (138 sites) cleaned up by the Washington Department of Ecology were in Pierce County. This reduction from a high of 589 labs in 2001 comes in part to a new law restricting the sale of pseudoephedrine and in part due to tougher prison sentences for methamphetamine producers. [Mulick, Stacey; [http://dwb.thenewstribune.com/news/crime/story/6375741p-5687279c.html Meth battle sees new fronts] ; "The News Tribune" (Tacoma); February 19, 2007.]


* [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-CONTEXT=dt&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_P001&-tree_id=4001&-transpose=N&-redoLog=true&-all_geo_types=N&-geo_id=05000US53053&-search_results=01000US&-format=&-_lang=en&-show_geoid=Y Pierce County, Washington] United States Census Bureau

External links

* [http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/ Pierce County government]

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