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The perception that Kittitas County’s population has grown significantly this past decade is backed up by Census numbers released on Thursday.

Kittitas County’s population is listed as 47,935 in the 2020 Census. In 2010, the county’s population was 40,910 — a growth rate of 17.2%.

The growth rate in Ellensburg mirrored that of the county. Ellensburg’s population grew at 15.4% — from 18,301 to 21,111.

The growth rate of Kittitas County and Ellensburg outpaces that of the state. The state of Washington’s population grew by 13.2% — from 6,724,540 to 7,614,893.

Compared to other counties in Central Washington, Kittitas County led the growth pack by far. Growth rates in counties in the region were: Yakima County, 3.1%; Grant County, 9.7%; and Chelan County, 6.5%.

For Kittitas County officials, the numbers come as no surprise.

“It reinforces what we’ve known,” Kittitas County Commission Brett Wachsmith said. “People aren’t just coming here, they’re already here.”

Wachsmith said the growth has informed some decisions, such as the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office looking at establishing an Upper County precinct.

Another real-world impact has been on the housing market, Wachsmith said, as has been seen on the squeeze on supply and rise in prices.

Wachsmith said the county commissioners are in the process of working with the city of Ellensburg to plan for growth in the interface areas with the city and its urban growth area.

He said the hope is that agreements reached with Ellensburg can be used as a template in working with the other cities.


The race and ethnic origin of the county and city of Ellensburg, breaks down as follows

White alone

Kittitas County, 91.6%, Ellensburg, 81.6%

Black alone

Kittitas County 1.2%, Ellensburg, 1.5%

American Indian/Alaskan Native

Kittitas County, 1.3%, Ellensburg, .8%

Asian alone

Kittitas County 2.2%, Ellensburg, 2.6%

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

Kittitas County, .2%, Ellensburg, 2%

Two or more races

Kittitas County 3.5%, Ellensburg, 5.4%

Hispanic or Latino

Kittitas County, 9%, Ellensburg, 10.9%

White alone, not Hispanic or Latino

Kittitas County, 83.7%, Ellensburg, 77.4

The age and sex breakdown for the county and Ellensburg are as follows:

Under the age of 5

Kittitas County, 5.6%, Ellensburg, 5.3%

Under the age of 18

Kittitas County, 16.8%, Ellensburg, 13.6%

65 years and older

Kittitas County, 16.8%, Ellensburg, 10%


Kittitas County, 49.5%, Ellensburg, 50.2%

The following is the family and living arrangement breakdown for Kittitas County and Ellensburg:


Kittitas County, 18,347, Ellensburg, 7,839

Persons per household (2015-2019)

Kittitas County, 2.36, Ellensburg, 2.26

Living is same house one year ago (2015-2019)

Kittitas County, 72.7%, Ellensburg, 58.6%

Language other than English spoken in the home

Kittitas County, 8.9%, Ellensburg, 11.7%

The following is a breakdown of educational levels achieved in Kitties County and Ellensburg:

High School graduate or higher, persons age 25 years-plus

Kittitas County, 91.4%, Ellensburg, 91.6%

Bachelor’s degree or higher, persons age 25-years-plus

Kittitas County 32.3%, Ellensburg, 38.1%

The following is a breakdown of income and poverty in Kittitas County and Ellensburg:

Median household income (in 2019 dollars) 2015-2019

Kittitas County, $56,004, Ellensburg, $39,654

Per capital income in past 12 months (2019 dollars)

Kittitas County, $29,161, Ellensburg, $21,266

Persons in poverty

Kittitas County, 14%, Ellensburg, 30.9%

Editor’s note: The Census website did not allow for searches of communities of fewer than 5,000 residents, which includes the cities of Kittitas, Cle Elum and Roslyn and the town of South Cle Elum.


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