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Census Shows Tri-Cities Is Fastest Growing Metro

RICHLAND, Wash. – Newly released U.S. Census numbers show the Tri-Cities, Washington, is the fastest growing metro area in the United States. The population increased 4.3 percent between 2010 and 2011.

Jobs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, stable agricultural prices and the sun appear to be drawing more families to the Tri-Cities.

Ed Hendler Memorial Bridge (aka the Cable Bridge) across the Columbia River between Pasco and Kennewick, WA. Photo by Scott Butner/ Flickr
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Ed Hendler Memorial Bridge (aka the Cable Bridge) across the Columbia River between Pasco and Kennewick, WA. Photo by Scott Butner/ Flickr

Rick White is the community and economic development director for the city of Pasco. He says keeping up with that growth for the last dozen years in his city’s school system has been a challenge.

“They’re putting in a portable cafeteria at one of the elementary schools," White says. "So if you think about that, it helps shed a little light on the gravity of the situation given enrollment growth.”

White says Pasco’s main challenges are getting capital school projects approved fast enough and building roads and infrastructure as fast as homes go up.

According to the census, the next fastest growing cities were those communities near Austin, Texas.

On the Web:

Census Bureau press release:

http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb12-55.html

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.