Island County planners project population growth in 22 years

Island County planners estimate that Island County will grow by nearly 10,000 people by the year 2036.

Regionally, they project that South Whidbey will grow by 1,211, North Whidbey by 6,232, Central Whidbey by 991, and Camano Island by 1,018.

Using these estimates, the county would grow from a population of 78,400 today to 87,917 in 2036.

The regional population projection is one of many steps required in the update of the Comprehensive Plan every eight years. The population trend is used throughout the county’s departments to assist in planning each area’s needs for services and infrastructure.

Washington state counties are required to use a 20-year population estimate to ensure urban growth areas are adequately sized and allow for future growth.

The Island County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the projection at Monday’s regular meeting. The next step is to allot the estimated population to municipalities and rural areas individually, according to Island County Planner Brad Johnson.

An additional public hearing will be held once the localized population totals are compiled.

Johnson told commissioners that they arrived at the figures presented by looking at county growth trends over the last 40 years, and found them to be consistent.

The only notable population shift expected is associated with the Navy base, which projects its military population to increase by 25 percent with the arrival of additional squadrons. Johnson said an additional 2,530 was allotted to North Whidbey to allow for the population increase.

In addition, Johnson said that the county is working on a “phased-in” resource allocation model so county funding and projects related to population growth are rolled out over time.


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