2015: A year of widespread growth for Tri-Cities


    TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- While other parts of the country may have stagnated in 2015, the Tri-Cities continued to boom not only in population, but also with employment, income, and even homeownership. Each city's growth streak is projected to continue in 2016 as well.

    "All the cities are doing quite well," said Ajsa Suljic. "Growth for population has been really good for Tri-Cities for a very long time, especially since 2006."

    For nearly a decade, the Tri-Cities has steadily seen growth in areas that continue to attract more and more people.

    "Average growth for Tri-Cities area is about 2.5 percent a year," she said.

    Suljic is the regional labor economist at WorkSource, where they have tracked this progress.

    Pasco saw the biggest surge in new residents, up more than three percent, while Richland and Kennewick increased by just under two percent. The influx of people hasn't negatively affected the job force either, according to WorkSource.

    In fact, Kennewick's unemployment rate decreased, as well as Pasco's by nearly 1.5 percent. Richland stayed about the same.

    "For the past three years consecutively we have seen an increase in income; personal income, wages, which means that household income increases," Suljic said.

    With the average household income now pushing $70,000 in Richland and more than $50,000 in Kennewick and Pasco, it's no wonder more people are investing in buying a home. Across the Tri-Cities more than 60 percent of residents own their home.

    "Our housing occupancy rate is pretty high," Suljic said. Especially as vacancy rates fell below three percent for apartments.

    With lots of new housing planned across the Tri-Cities, 2016 could shape up to be even more promising than anticipated.

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