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Snohomish County, Washington facts for kids

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Snohomish County
Aerial view of Everett, the county seat, with the Cascade Range in the background
Aerial view of Everett, the county seat, with the Cascade Range in the background
Flag of Snohomish County
Official seal of Snohomish County
Map of Washington highlighting Snohomish County
Location within the U.S. state of Washington
Map of the United States highlighting Washington
Washington's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Washington
Founded January 14, 1861
Named for the Snohomish people
Seat Everett
Largest city Everett
 • Total 2,196 sq mi (5,690 km2)
 • Land 2,087 sq mi (5,410 km2)
 • Water 109 sq mi (280 km2)  5.0%
 • Total 827,957
 • Estimate 
833,540 Increase
 • Density 384/sq mi (148/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Area code 206, 360, 425, 564
Congressional districts 1st, 2nd, 7th

Snohomish County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. With a population of 827,957 as of the 2020 census, it is the third-most populous county in Washington, after nearby King and Pierce counties, and the 75th-most populous in the United States. The county seat and largest city is Everett. The county forms part of the Seattle metropolitan area, which also includes King and Pierce counties to the south.

The county's western portion, facing Puget Sound and other inland waters of the Salish Sea, is home to the majority of its population and major cities. The eastern portion is rugged and includes portions of the Cascade Range, with few settlements along major rivers and most of it designated as part of Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Snohomish County is bound to the north by Skagit County, to the east by Chelan County, to the south by King County, and to the west by Kitsap and Island counties.

Snohomish County was created out of Island County on January 14, 1861, and is named for the indigenous Snohomish people. It includes the Tulalip Indian Reservation, which was established by the 1855 Point Elliott Treaty, which relocated several indigenous Coast Salish groups to the reservation. The county seat was originally at the city of Snohomish until an 1897 election moved it to Everett. Since the mid-20th century, areas of Snohomish County have developed into an aerospace manufacturing center, largely due to the presence of Boeing in Everett, as well as bedroom communities for workers in Seattle.

Snohomish County now has 18 incorporated cities and 2 towns with their own local governments, in addition to developed unincorporated areas. It is connected to nearby areas by roads (including Interstate 5), railways, and transit systems. The county government is led by a five-member county council and chief executive elected by voters to four-year terms.


"Snohomish" comes from the name of the largest Native American tribe in the area when settlers arrived in the 19th century. The name is spelled as "Sdoh-doh-hohbsh" in the Lushootseed language and has a disputed meaning with unclear origins, with Dr. Charles M. Buchanan once saying that he had "never met an Indian who could give a meaning to the word Snohomish" in his 21 years as an Indian agent at the Tulalip tribe. Chief William Shelton, the last hereditary tribal chief of the Snohomish tribe, claimed that it meant "lowland people", a name associated with the tribe's location on the waters of the Puget Sound; other scholars have claimed "a style of union among them", "the braves", or "Sleeping Waters".

The name is also used for the Snohomish River, which runs through part of the county, and the City of Snohomish, the former county seat that was renamed after the formation of the county.

The current spelling of the name was adopted by the Surveyor General of Washington Territory in 1857, with earlier documents using the spellings "Sinnahamis", "Sinahomis", and "Tuxpam".


Salemwoodsdeath 001
Death certificate of Salem Woods

Snohomish County was created out of Island County on January 14, 1861.

The territorial legislature designated Mukilteo, the area's largest settlement, as the temporary county seat in January 1861. The county government was permanently moved to Cadyville, later Snohomish, in July of that year. After the incorporation of the city of Everett in 1893, the city's leaders attempted to move the county seat from Snohomish. A countywide general election on November 6, 1894 chose to relocate the county seat to Everett, amid controversy and allegations of illegal votes. After two years of litigation between the cities of Snohomish and Everett, the county seat was officially relocated to Everett in December 1896.

One of the first county censuses was taken in 1862 by Sheriff Salem A. Woods.

Early important pioneers in the Snohomish County region included E. F. Cady of Snohomish, E. C. Ferguson of Snohomish and Isaac Cathcart.


Snohomish County, Wash
Map of Snohomish County, showing settlements and major highways

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,196 square miles (5,690 km2), of which 2,087 square miles (5,410 km2) is land and 109 square miles (280 km2) (5.0%) is water.

Snohomish County is located in the western part of Washington, about halfway between the state's north and south borders. Possession Sound and Puget Sound define the county's western border, while the eastern border is defined by the summits of the Cascade Range. Four counties are adjacent to Snohomish County: Skagit County to the north, Chelan County to the east, King County to the south, and Island County to the west.

The county's surface is covered by plains in the west and mountainous terrain in the east. The Cascade Range passes through the eastern part of the county and includes the highest point in Snohomish County, Glacier Peak at 10,541 feet (3,212.90 m) above sea level. Most of the eastern part of the county is preserved by the Mount Baker National Forest and Snoqualmie National Forest, which are consolidated into the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The mountains provide a source for several major rivers in the east, including the Snohomish, Skykomish, Snoqualmie, and Stillaguamish, that in turn form major bodies of water to the west.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 599
1880 1,387 131.6%
1890 8,514 513.8%
1900 23,950 181.3%
1910 59,209 147.2%
1920 67,690 14.3%
1930 78,861 16.5%
1940 88,754 12.5%
1950 111,580 25.7%
1960 172,199 54.3%
1970 265,236 54.0%
1980 337,720 27.3%
1990 465,642 37.9%
2000 606,024 30.1%
2010 713,335 17.7%
2020 827,957 16.1%
2021 (est.) 833,540 16.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960, 1900–1990,
1990–2000, 2010–2020

2020 census

As of the 2020 census, there were 827,957 people families residing in the county. The population density was 377 inhabitants per square mile (146/km2). There were 321,523 housing units at an average density of 146.4 per square mile (56.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 66.1% white, 12.3% Asian, 3.54% black or African American, 1.3% Native American, 0.6% Pacific Islander, 5.4% other races, and 10.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 11.6% of the population.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 713,335 people, 268,325 households, and 182,282 families residing in the county. The population density was 341.8 inhabitants per square mile (132.0/km2). There were 286,659 housing units at an average density of 137.3 per square mile (53.0/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 78.4% white, 8.9% Asian, 2.5% black or African American, 1.4% Indigenous, 0.4% Pacific islander, 3.8% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 9.0% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 20.3% were German, 12.6% were Irish, 12.2% were English, 8.2% were Norwegian, and 3.6% were American.

Of the 268,325 households, 35.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.4% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 32.1% were non-families, and 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.12. The median age was 37.1 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $66,300 and the median income for a family was $77,479. Males had a median income of $56,152 versus $41,621 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,635. About 5.9% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.8% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.



Snohomish County has five major routes that connect the county to the other counties and other areas. There are three major north–south routes: Interstate 5, State Route 9, and State Route 99. The only complete east–west route is U.S. Route 2.

  • I-5.svg Interstate 5
  • I-405.svg Interstate 405
  • US 2.svg U.S. Route 2
  • WA-9.svg State Route 9
  • WA-92.svg State Route 92
  • WA-96.svg State Route 96
  • WA-99.svg State Route 99
  • WA-104.svg State Route 104
  • WA-203.svg State Route 203
  • WA-204.svg State Route 204
  • WA-522.svg State Route 522
  • WA-524.svg State Route 524
  • WA-525.svg State Route 525
  • WA-526.svg State Route 526
  • WA-527.svg State Route 527
  • WA-528.svg State Route 528
  • WA-529.svg State Route 529
  • WA-530.svg State Route 530
  • WA-531.svg State Route 531
  • WA-532.svg State Route 532

Public transportation

Snohomish County is served by three public transit systems: Community Transit, which provides local service within the county (apart from the city of Everett) and commuter service to the Boeing Everett Factory, Downtown Seattle and the University of Washington campus; Everett Transit, a municipal system serving the city of Everett; and Sound Transit, which provides commuter rail service and express bus service connecting to regional destinations in Seattle and Bellevue. Sound Transit runs four daily Sounder commuter trains at peak hours between Everett Station and Seattle, stopping at Mukilteo and Edmonds.

Intercity rail service is provided by Amtrak, which has two lines operating within Snohomish County: Amtrak Cascades between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, stopping in Edmonds, Everett, and Stanwood station; and the Empire Builder between Seattle and Chicago, Illinois, stopping in Edmonds and Everett. Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines and Northwestern Trailways from Everett Station.

Community Transit also operates a bus rapid transit service called Swift from Everett Station to the Aurora Village in Shoreline along the State Route 99 corridor, which opened in 2009; the service is anticipated to be expanded in 2018, with a new line serving the Airport Road and State Route 527 corridors, from the Boeing Everett Factory to Bothell via Mill Creek. Sound Transit is also planning to extend Link light rail service from Northgate to Lynnwood in 2024, having won voter approval for the project in 2008. An additional extension to Everett, not yet approved by voters, has been proposed as part of a regional transit package. Island Transit also operates bus links through Snohomish County from Everett and Skagit County's Mount Vernon to Camano Island because the island does not have direct road access to its county-seat island, Whidbey Island.


Snohomish County has one major airport: Paine Field, otherwise known as Snohomish County Airport, which has had passenger service since March 2019.

There are three smaller public airports that are open to general aviation: Arlington Municipal Airport in Arlington, Darrington Municipal Airport in Darrington, and Harvey Field in Snohomish. The county also has several private airports, including the Frontier Airpark and Green Valley Airfield in Granite Falls. The Martha Lake Airport in Martha Lake was a former private airport that was closed in 2000 and was converted into a county park that opened in 2010.


Snohomish County is also connected to adjacent counties by two ferry routes operated by Washington State Ferries. The Edmonds–Kingston ferry carries SR 104 between Edmonds and Kingston in Kitsap County. The Mukilteo–Clinton ferry carries SR 525 from Mukilteo to Clinton on Whidbey Island.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities


Snoqualmie Hall, a building shared by Edmonds College and Central Washington University, 2007

Snohomish County is one of the most-populous counties in the United States without a four-year, baccalaureate degree-granting institution.

Columbia College offers AA all the way up to a Master's in Business along with other Associate and bachelor's degrees. Everett Community College and Edmonds College provide academic transfer degrees, career training and basic education in Snohomish County. Together, the two serve more than 40,000 people annually. About 40 percent of all high school graduates in Snohomish County begin their college education at Edmonds or Everett community college.

Everett Community College is the legislatively appointed leader of the University Center of North Puget Sound, which offers 25 bachelor's and master's degrees through Western Washington University, Washington State University, Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, The Evergreen State College, Hope International University, and the University of Washington Bothell.

Edmonds College and Central Washington University have worked together since 1975 to provide higher education in Snohomish County. After earning a two-year degree online or on campus from Edmonds College, students can continue their studies for a bachelor's degree from Central Washington University-Lynnwood in Snoqualmie Hall, a shared building on the Edmonds CC campus.

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