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Wahkiakum County, Washington facts for kids

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Wahkiakum County
Wahkiakum County Courthouse at Cathlamet (July 2015)
Wahkiakum County Courthouse at Cathlamet (July 2015)
Map of Washington highlighting Wahkiakum 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 April 24, 1854
Named for Chief Wahkiakum
Seat Cathlamet
Largest town Puget Island
 • Total 287 sq mi (740 km2)
 • Land 263 sq mi (680 km2)
 • Water 24 sq mi (60 km2)  8.3%%
 • Total 4,422
 • Estimate 
4,582 Increase
 • Density 15/sq mi (6/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Wahkiakum County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2020 census, the population was 4,422, making it the third-least populous county in Washington. The county seat and only incorporated town is Cathlamet. The county was formed out of Cowlitz County in April 1854 and is named for Chief Wahkiakum ("Tall Timber") of the Chinook, who is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Cathlamet.

The county operates the Wahkiakum County Ferry, which connects Cathlamet to Westport, Oregon, across the Columbia River.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 287 square miles (740 km2), of which 263 square miles (680 km2) is land and 24 square miles (62 km2) (8.3%) is water. It is the smallest county of Washington by total area and the third-smallest by land area, ahead of San Juan County and Island County, which are mostly water by area.

Geographic features

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 42
1870 270 542.9%
1880 1,598 491.9%
1890 2,526 58.1%
1900 2,819 11.6%
1910 3,285 16.5%
1920 3,472 5.7%
1930 3,862 11.2%
1940 4,286 11.0%
1950 3,835 −10.5%
1960 3,426 −10.7%
1970 3,592 4.8%
1980 3,832 6.7%
1990 3,327 −13.2%
2000 3,824 14.9%
2010 3,978 4.0%
Est. 2021 4,582 15.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020

Wahkiakum County has the second lowest population of any county in Washington state. Its population of 3,978 is 0.2% the size of the population of Washington's largest county, King.

The county has the second highest divorce rate of any Washington county, behind Lincoln County.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 3,978 people, 1,737 households, and 1,187 families living in the county. The population density was 15.1 inhabitants per square mile (5.8/km2). There were 2,067 housing units at an average density of 7.8 per square mile (3.0/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.0% white, 1.3% American Indian, 0.6% Asian, 0.3% black or African American, 0.2% Pacific islander, 0.7% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.7% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 19.8% were Norwegian, 19.3% were German, 13.3% were English, 9.6% were American, 8.5% were Swedish, and 6.8% were Irish.

Of the 1,737 households, 21.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.2% were married couples living together, 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.7% were non-families, and 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.69. The median age was 52.3 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,372 and the median income for a family was $47,266. Males had a median income of $44,779 versus $36,111 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,115. About 7.1% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.5% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Notable residents

  • Krist Novoselic, former bass player of the Seattle grunge band Nirvana
  • Robert Michael Pyle, lepidopterist and author
  • Hadley Caliman, jazz musician
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