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Jefferson County, Washington facts for kids

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Jefferson County
Jefferson County Courthouse in Port Townsend
Jefferson County Courthouse in Port Townsend
Map of Washington highlighting Jefferson County
Location within the U.S. state of Washington
Map of the United States highlighting Washington
Washington's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Washington
Founded December 22, 1852
Named for Thomas Jefferson
Seat Port Townsend
Largest city Port Townsend
 • Total 2,183 sq mi (5,650 km2)
 • Land 1,804 sq mi (4,670 km2)
 • Water 379 sq mi (980 km2)  17%%
 • Total 32,977
 • Density 17/sq mi (7/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional district 6th

Jefferson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2020 census, the population was 32,977. The county seat and only incorporated city is Port Townsend. The county is named for Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson County was formed out of Thurston County on December 22, 1852, by the legislature of Oregon Territory, and included the northern 4,854 square miles (12,571.8 km2) portion of the Olympic Peninsula. On April 26, 1854, the legislature of Washington Territory created Clallam County from the northwestern 2,670 square miles (6,915.3 km2) portion of this original area.

The Hood Canal Bridge connects Jefferson County to Kitsap County, Washington. The Coupeville-Port Townsend route of the Washington State Ferries connects the county to Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington.


Cedar Creek Abbey Island Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach, Kalaloch Area

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,183 square miles (5,650 km2), of which 1,804 square miles (4,670 km2) is land and 379 square miles (980 km2) (17%) is water.

The county is split in three parts by its landforms:

Because of the mountainous barrier, there is no road lying entirely within Jefferson County that connects the eastern and western parts. The most direct land route between the two ends of the county involves a drive of approximately 100 miles (160 km) along U.S. Route 101 through neighbouring Clallam County. The mountains also block the damp Chinook winds, which make the climate much wetter in the west than the so-called eastern "banana belt" in the rain shadow.

Geographic features

Hoh river in spring
Hoh River in the Olympic National Park

Major highways

  • US 101 (1961).svg U.S. Route 101
  • WA-20.svg State Route 20
  • WA-104.svg State Route 104

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 531
1870 1,268 138.8%
1880 1,712 35.0%
1890 8,368 388.8%
1900 5,712 −31.7%
1910 8,337 46.0%
1920 6,557 −21.4%
1930 8,346 27.3%
1940 8,918 6.9%
1950 11,618 30.3%
1960 9,639 −17.0%
1970 10,661 10.6%
1980 15,965 49.8%
1990 20,146 26.2%
2000 25,953 28.8%
2010 29,872 15.1%
2020 (est.) 32,700 9.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 29,872 people, 14,049 households, and 8,394 families living in the county. The population density was 16.6 inhabitants per square mile (6.4/km2). There were 17,767 housing units at an average density of 9.9 per square mile (3.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 91.0% white, 2.3% American Indian, 1.6% Asian, 0.8% black or African American, 0.2% Pacific islander, 0.7% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.8% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 20.8% were English, 20.3% were German, 13.9% were Irish, 8.3% were Norwegian, 5.9% were Scottish, and 4.2% were American.

Of the 14,049 households, 18.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 40.3% were non-families, and 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.57. The median age was 53.9 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $46,048 and the median income for a family was $59,964. Males had a median income of $45,616 versus $29,508 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,528. About 8.9% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.8% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities


The largest private employer in Jefferson County is the Port Townsend Paper Mill. The largest employer overall (private and public) is Jefferson Healthcare, which operates Jefferson Healthcare Hospital.

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