What Is The Ethnic Composition Of Washington?

Crowd at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington. Editorial credit: Checubus / Shutterstock.com
Crowd at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington. Editorial credit: Checubus / Shutterstock.com

Washington is an American state that is situated in the Pacific Northwest area of the country. It is the northwesternmost state in the contiguous United States and is surrounded by Oregon, Idaho, and the Pacific Ocean. Washington is the eighteenth biggest American state which occupies an area of about 71,362 sq miles. Washington was part of the Territory of Washington which was ceded to the US in 1846 after the Oregon Treaty was signed. Washington was admitted into the Union as the 42nd American state in 1889. Washington is an ethnically diverse state, and one of the most socially-progressive and richest American states.


Washington is the thirteenth most populous state with over 7.4 million people. The population of Washington increased by 12.06% from 2010 (6,724,540) to July 1, 2018 (7,288,000). Over 50% of Washington’s population (2,439,809) lived the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metropolitan Area in 2010. About 11.2% of residents were over 65 years old, 6.7% below the age of five, and 26.7% under 18 years. 44.3% of the residents below the age of one were minorities in 2011.

Ethnic Composition

The population of Washington is predominantly white (79.5%) with African-Americans (4.2%), Alaska Native and American Indians (1.9%), Asian (8.9%), and Native Hawaiian (0.8%) making up the largest minorities in 2018. The percentage of whites in Washington has reduced from 1990 (88.5%) to 2018 (79.5%) while the number of African Americans has grown from 3.1% to 4.2%. The largest ancestry groups in Washington are American (4.6%), Norwegian (5.4%), English (10.4%), Irish 10.8%), and German (17.8%).

Most African Americans in the Pacific Northwest region live in Central District and South End regions of Seattle, the largest city in the state. The number of African Americans in Seattle grew from one person in 1858 to 406 in 1900. The American Indians live in many reservations in Washington like the Yakama, Makah, and Muckleshoot Indian reservations. Some of the American Indian communities living in the Pacific and westernmost coasts include Salish, Lumni, and Chinook. The Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are mainly concentrated in the Tacoma-Seattle metropolitan. Numerous Chinese, Japanese and Indian communities can be found in Redmond, Bellevue, and Seattle.


English is the most widely spoken language in Washington with 82.51% of residents over five years of age using English as their first language. About 17.49% of residents over the age of five speak a language other than English as their mother tongue. Some of the main non-English languages spoken in Washington include Spanish, Chinese, German, Russian, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Korean, Tagalog, and French.


Over 60% of the people in Washington are Christians with minority populations of Jewish (1%), Muslims (0.5%), and Hindus (1%). 32% of the population is not affiliated with any religious group in Washington. The biggest denominations in Washington in 2010 were the Assemblies of God (125,005 adherents), Roman Catholics (784,332 adherents), and Mormon (282,356 adherents). The biggest Wiccan church in the US (Aquarian Tabernacle Church) is found in Washington.


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