LONG BEACH - Pacific County was one of two counties in Washington state to lose population from 2000 to 2010, according to U.S. Census data released Wednesday.

The county's population in 2010 was 20,920, a slight decline from the 20,984 people counted in 2000, a drop of about three-tenths of 1 percent.

In the wake of the building boom of the 2000s, the number of dwellings in the county increased to 15,547 in 2010, a gain of 11.1 percent since 2000. However, 6,048 of those dwellings stood vacant as of the census date last spring. This reflects both a large number of unsold houses, but also the county's traditionally large number of seasonally occupied vacation homes. The 39 percent vacancy rate in 2010 compares to 35 percent in 2000.

Garfield County in far southeastern Washington was the only other of the state's 39 counties to experience a slight drop in population. Overall, the state's population grew 14.1 percent during the decade.

See next week's Chinook Observer for a detailed story on 2010 census results.


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