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Thurston County, Washington facts for kids

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Thurston County
Former Thurston County Courthouse
Former Thurston County Courthouse
Map of Washington highlighting Thurston 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 12, 1852
Named for Samuel Thurston
Seat Olympia
Largest city Olympia
Area
 • Total 774 sq mi (2,000 km2)
 • Land 722 sq mi (1,870 km2)
 • Water 52 sq mi (130 km2)  6.7%%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 252,264
 • Estimate 
(2020)
294,074
 • Density 368/sq mi (142/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional districts 3rd, 10th

Thurston County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, its population was 252,264. The county seat and largest city is Olympia, the state capital.

Thurston County was created out of Lewis County by the government of Oregon Territory on January 12, 1852. At that time, it covered all of the Puget Sound region and the Olympic Peninsula. On December 22 of the same year, Pierce, King, Island, and Jefferson counties were split off from Thurston County. It is named after Samuel R. Thurston, the Oregon Territory's first delegate to Congress. In his role as congressional delegate, Thurston attempted to justify Oregon State's Exclusionary Acts, which barred people of color from suffrage and allowed for their exclusion from the state.

Thurston County comprises the Olympia-Tumwater, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area and is included in the Seattle-Tacoma, WA Combined Statistical Area.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 774 square miles (2,000 km2), of which 722 square miles (1,870 km2) is land and 52 square miles (130 km2) (6.7%) is water.

Major watersheds: Black River, Budd/Deschutes, Chehalis River, Eld Inlet, Henderson Inlet, Nisqually River, Skookumchuck River, Totten Inlet and West Capitol Forest.

Geographic features

Major highways

  • I-5.svg Interstate 5
  • WA-507.svg SR 507
  • WA-510.svg SR 510
  • US 12.svg U.S. 12
  • US 101.svg U.S. 101

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,507
1870 2,246 49.0%
1880 3,270 45.6%
1890 9,675 195.9%
1900 9,927 2.6%
1910 17,581 77.1%
1920 22,366 27.2%
1930 31,351 40.2%
1940 37,285 18.9%
1950 44,884 20.4%
1960 55,049 22.6%
1970 76,894 39.7%
1980 124,264 61.6%
1990 161,238 29.8%
2000 207,355 28.6%
2010 252,264 21.7%
2020 (est.) 294,074 16.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 252,264 people, 100,650 households, and 66,161 families living in the county. The population density was 349.4 inhabitants per square mile (134.9/km2). There were 108,182 housing units at an average density of 149.8 per square mile (57.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 82.4% white, 5.2% Asian, 2.7% black or African American, 1.4% American Indian, 0.8% Pacific islander, 2.2% from other races, and 5.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 7.1% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 21.2% were German, 13.4% were English, 13.2% were Irish, 5.0% were Norwegian, and 4.7% were American.

Of the 100,650 households, 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.3% were non-families, and 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.95. The median age was 38.5 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $60,930 and the median income for a family was $71,833. Males had a median income of $53,679 versus $41,248 for females. The per capita income for the county was $29,707. About 7.1% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.0% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

Education

School Districts in Thurston County:

  • North Thurston
  • Olympia
  • Rainier
  • Rochester
  • Tenino
  • Tumwater
  • Yelm

Higher Education in Thurston County:

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