|How close are Grant County residents to their neighbors, and is this proximity increasing faster than other rural counties in the state? Population density, measured in Trend 5.10, seeks to further analyze the number of people per square unit of land area, or in this case, square mile. While Grant County's population density is certainly lower than other areas in the state, it is increasing at a much more rapid pace than other similar counties.|
This population density measurement only includes square miles of land, and does not take into account bodies of water. Data are published annually and come from the Washington State Office of Financial Management. Population density for Chelan, Douglas, and Walla Walla Counties are offered as benchmarks.
In 2010, the population density for Grant County was 33 people per square mile. This represents an 18% increase from the 2000 measure of 28 people per square mile. By comparison, Walla Walla County's population density was 47 people per square mile, or a 9% increase from the 2000 measure. Chelan and Douglas Counties' population densities were each 25 and 21, respectively, or 9% and 17% increases from 2000.
Grant County's population density has grown faster than the state's and faster than any other county benchmark offered here for comparison. Its total population growth rate, measured in Trend 1.1, has been equal to or higher than the
||state's since 2006.
At the state level, Washington State's population density was 101 in 2010, driven largely by the population densities of the west side of the state. Last year's population density marks a 13% increase over the 2000 measure of 89 people per square mile.
Increased density can have economic advantages for a city or county, as adding more people to the use of an already established infrastructure is relatively inexpensive. Any urban area exhibits diversity in its population density: population is the highest near the center of the urban area and generally gets lower as the distance away from the center grows. In Grant County's case, the City of Moses Lake has a much higher population density than do the rural areas surrounding the city. Population density is affected by the size of the urban areas, and goes hand in hand with population growth.
Measuring population density is one tool to use when measuring where growth occurs, which can help inform developers and planners in their planning and management of land use. Comprehensive plans, environmental groups, and businesses looking for new locations all call for certain levels of population density. City government and public agencies must know how to serve that density, and therefore must know the measures that contribute to density.