Basics
Protected and Restored Habitat
Land Cover and Development
Indicator
Growth in Urban Growth Areas
Vital Sign Indicator
Percent (%)
/

The proportion of basin-wide growth occurring within Urban Growth Areas is at least 86.5% (equivalent to all counties exceeding their population growth goals by 3%), with all counties showing an increase over their 2000−2010 percentage.

Ken Pierce
Contributing Partners
Last Updated
6/26/2019 10:50:23 AM
Map
Percentage of new population growth occurring within UGAs by county based on the U.S. Census data from 2000-2010. Combined incorporated city limit boundaries and unincorporated UGAs are shown in light red.
Description
This indicator tracks the percent of population growth occurring within Urban Growth Areas (UGAs). Population growth, derived from ten-year U.S. Census data, is used as a surrogate for development activity in the region. County comprehensive plans designate UGAs for high-density urbanization and growth, in part helping to reduce land development pressures on rural and resource lands outside of urbanized areas.
Vital Sign Indicator Chart
Growth in Urban Growth Areas
 
Percentage of new population growth occurring within UGAs by county based on the U.S. Census data from 2000-2010.

The 2020 recovery target of 86.5 percent of population growth occurring within UGAs is equivalent to a 3 percent increase in the proportion of new population growth occurring within all Puget Sound UGAs. This target represents an effort to direct more growth to those areas deemed best suited for development, while also respecting that Puget Sound includes very urban as well as very rural counties with very different growth management needs and objectives. Data on the distribution of permits for new development (a proxy for population growth) within five of the 12 Puget Sound counties suggest that the target is achievable.

Key Vital Sign Indicator Results
  • The analysis of progress toward the 2020 target is pending until new data are made available.
  • Based on U.S. Census data from 2000 to 2010, the Puget Sound basin-wide population growth occurring within UGAs was 83 percent.
  • For counties, this indicator ranged from 28-101 percent.
  • For future analyses of progress, the value derived from the 2000 to 2010 census data will be used as a baseline reference for basin-wide and county-scale population growth distribution.
Methods
Monitoring Program

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Habitat Program

Data Source

U.S. Census Data

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

This indicator tracks the proportion of population growth occurring within UGAs. Population growth is used as a surrogate for development activity in the region. Ten-year U.S. Census data are used for this indicator and the analysis will be updated when census data are next available in 2020. In order to generate intermediate measures of population growth distribution and assess progress toward the target, the less precise U.S. Census American Community Survey will be used.

Critical Definitions
Interpretation of Results

Washington population data, based on 2010 U.S. Census data, was used for the baseline analysis of population growth distribution for UGAs and rural areas between 2000 and 2010 (Table 1). Basin-wide, 83 percent of new population growth from 2000 to 2010 occurred within UGAs. For individual counties, the proportion of growth occurring within UGAs ranged from a low of 28 percent for Mason and Jefferson counties to highs of 92 percent and 101 percent for Snohomish and King counties, respectively.

Data are not currently available to complete a trend analysis of population distribution patterns over the past 10 years. However, the Washington State Department of Commerce has been collecting data on the distribution of permits for new development and a preliminary analysis suggests that growth is increasingly occurring within UGAs. For five central Puget Sound counties, the proportion of permits for new development within UGAs increased at an average rate of 0.85 percent per year from 2003 to 2010. Carried out over 10 years, these permit data suggest an almost 10 percent increase in the proportion of growth going into UGAs in central Puget Sound. While permit activity does not correlate exactly to population increase, these reports provide an indication of progress (in a five-county area) toward the 2020 recovery goal of an increasing proportion of population growth with UGAs.

Table 1. Number of people within and outside Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) by county and basin-wide.
County 2010 Population Total New Population in 2000-2010 Percent of Total Population within UGA in 2010 Percent of New Growth Occurring within UGA in 2000-2010
Clallam 64,262 7,546 50.0% 47%
Island 78,506 7,878 30.9% 40%
Jefferson 28,605 3,532 41.4% 28%
King 1,931,249 195,569 93.6% 101%*
Kitsap 251,133 20,418 62.1% 65%
Mason 60,699 13,931 27.1% 28%
Pierce 795,225 95,538 82.5% 85%
San Juan 15,769 1,986 21.6% 37%
Skagit 116,901 14,608 67.6% 83%
Snohomish 713,335 107,775 83.0% 92%
Thurston 252,264 76,584 67.6% 50%
Whatcom 201,140 35,034 67.4% 78%
Basin-wide 4,509,088 580,399 81.7% 83%
* This number reflects new growth occurring within UGAs and migration of some existing population into UGAs.

 

County comprehensive plans designate UGAs for high-density urbanization with the intent to guide as much growth as possible to these areas to support regional and local economies, meet residence needs for a growing population, and be concurrent with infrastructure availability. This indicator therefore provides a measure of the effectiveness of land use policies and programs. It also measures the effectiveness of development practices in directing new development activities within existing urbanized areas and reducing land development pressures on rural and resource lands outside of urbanized areas.

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