10 Washington State Cities On The Rise In 2014

Ryan Nickum

Apr 21



Washington state has no shortage of great cities, but which are the state’s most up-and-coming cities? Estately set out to determine this by ranking the state’s most populated cities from those most on the rise to those which are lagging behind the furthest. To do this we ranked every Washington state city with a population over 30,000 on six criteria:

  1. Increase in population (U.S. Census)
  2. Increase in home values (U.S. Census)
  3. Reduction in poverty levels (U.S. Census)
  4. Decrease in crime rate (FBI Uniform Crime Report)
  5. Increase in income (U.S. Census)
  6. Increase in residents with bachelor degrees (U.S. Census)

Once we crunched the numbers (averaged out rankings in the six criteria) we found Issaquah to be in the top spot and Des Moines to be in need of the most improvement. Check out our results in the table below and keep reading to find detailed profiles of our ten “Washington State Cities On the Rise for 2014″. Scores in the top ten for individual categories are in bold. WAcities


1. Issaquah

Snapshot 4:16:14 1:09 PM

Wikimedia Commons

Once a small mining town, Issaquah‘s recently become on of Washington’s fastest growing and wealthiest suburbs. The city came in first in four of Estately’s six categories:  population increase, crime reduction, income improvement, and increase in bachelor degrees. Issaquah enjoys close proximity to outdoor recreation and many of the top employers in the Puget Sound area.

  • Population increase (1st)
  • Home value increase (23rd)
  • Poverty Reduction (14th)
  • Crime rate reduction (1st)
  • Income increase (1st)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (1st)

2. Pasco

640px-Franklin_County_Courthouse_in_Pasco,_Washington Pasco (2nd overall) beat out fellow its Tri-Cities of Richland (21st) and Kennewick (28th) in all categories, and has the third highest population increase of any city in the past 12 years. In addition, Pasco’s seen a sharp reduction in crime and poverty, and a substantial increase in income. New housing in Pasco is drawing in residents from other Tri-Cities and beyond, and the city has even gotten into the region’s burgeoning wine industry.

  • Population increase (3rd)
  • Home value increase (18th)
  • Poverty Reduction (6th)
  • Crime rate reduction (5th)
  • Income increase (4th)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (14th) 

3. Auburn


Wikimedia Commons

Rapidly growing Auburn is home to an increasing number of college graduates, and wages are definitely up. Home values haven’t skyrocketed dramatically in the past decade, but Auburn is definitely a city on the rise, especially compared to neighboring Kent (26th) and Federal Way (36th).

  • Population increase (5th)
  • Home value increase (23rd)
  • Poverty Reduction (17th)
  • Crime rate reduction (incomplete data)
  • Income increase (10th)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (8th)

4. Bellevue

Snapshot 4:16:14 1:57 PM

Bellevue‘s rapid growth in recent decades has recently been surpassed by some other Eastside suburbs, but it’s growing where it counts:  college degrees, home values, and earning power. The median household income in Bellevue is $88,703, nearly $25,000 higher than that of neighboring Seattle.

  • Population increase (19th)
  • Home value increase (5th)
  • Poverty Reduction (16th)
  • Crime rate reduction(21st)
  • Income increase (5th)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (6th)

5. Sammamish


The city of Sammamish already enjoyed a solid quality of life, but in the past decade residents have received an influx of wealth and a rise in education levels. The median household income is a staggering $143,861 per year, but the city also has the highest home prices in the state.

  • Population increase (8th)
  • Home value increase (20th)
  • Poverty Reduction (14th)
  • Crime rate reduction (25th)
  • Income increase (6th)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (2nd)

6. Bellingham


Rick Kennedy via Flickr

Bellingham has seen an impressive reduction in poverty rates over the past ten years, but there’s still a ways to go in increasing income levels. The city’s college educated population is growing steadily, and home values are definitely ticking up. A stronger, more diversified economy would go a long toward putting Bellingham at the top of this list.

  • Population increase (16th)
  • Home value increase (4th)
  • Poverty Reduction (2nd)
  • Crime rate reduction (20th)
  • Income increase (25th)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (9th)

7. Lacey

Snapshot 4:16:14 2:51 PM

Zach Petersen via Flickr

While the rest of the state was hit hard by the collapse of the real estate market, Lacey appeared largely removed it. Home values have increased, the city’s seen a decrease in poverty rates, and incomes have grown along with the population. There’s room for improvement when it comes to crime, but Lacey is definitely a city on the rise.

  • Population increase (9th)
  • Home value increase (8th)
  • Poverty Reduction (10th)
  • Crime rate reduction (23rd)
  • Income increase (13th)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (18th)

8. Olympia


Olympia’s population isn’t growing the way upstart Lacey’s is, but Washington state’s capital city has enjoyed an impressive rise in home values, as well as reduced poverty and crime. Incomes have risen more than most cities in the state, but Olympia hasn’t attracted as many highly educated residents the way other cities in Puget Sound have.

  • Population increase (25th)
  • Home value increase (6th)
  • Poverty Reduction (7th)
  • Crime rate reduction (9th)
  • Income increase (19th)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (20th)

9. Seattle


With limited space to grow, it’s not surprising urban Seattle‘s population isn’t increasing the way less densely-population cities have. The city is increasingly home to affluent, well-educated workers, but Seattle’s poorer residents are quickly being left behind. While in the top ten in most categores, Seattle was the fifth worst when it came to reducing poverty rates, something that will be a growing concern in coming years as the cost of living, particularly home prices, continue to rise.

  • Home value increase (10th)
  • Poverty Reduction (33rd)
  • Crime rate reduction (7th)
  • Income increase (9th)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (4th)

10. Renton


Renton‘s high ranking is largely due to increased population and income, as well as reduced crime. The city’s college-educated population isn’t skyrocketing, and poverty rates aren’t improving much, but it’s still a city with strong employers and the Seattle Seahawks’ headquarters so no wonder it’s on the rise.

  • Population increase (4th)
  • Home value increase (19th)
  • Poverty Reduction (28th)
  • Crime rate reduction (6th)
  • Income increase (7th)
  • Bachelor’s degree increase (25th)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Estately is a national online real estate search site whose articles have been featured in the The Wall Street Journal, CNET, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, GeekWire, The Denver Post, and more. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –   OTHER ARTICLES BY ESTATELY 37 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Seattle 29 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Bellingham Bellevue vs. Seattle:  Which Is the Better Place to Live?

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