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March 2018

Planning for nearly 6 million Puget Sound area residents by 2050

PSRC logoBy 2050, the Puget Sound region is projected to grow by another 1.8 million people, or about 55,000 more residents each year.

While that may sound daunting to some, it is a smaller number than the historically high totals of 80,000-plus the area has absorbed for the past few years. If realized, the region's population will hit the 6 million mark by 2050.

Also by 2050, an estimated 1.2 million more jobs will be created. That growth will be propelled by technology and a regional economy that continues to outperform the national economy, according to Puget Sound Regional Council, which just released VISION 2050, the region's long-term guide for growth planning.

Along with job growth, PSRC cites an aging population coupled with in-migration of working age adults (aged 20-64) as contributors to population gains. The number of seniors as a share of the region's total population will nearly double from 2000 to 2030.

The metropolitan planning organization forecasts 830,000 additional households by 2050, but fewer persons per household, which means greater demand for housing.

PSRC is composed of more than 80 jurisdictions, encompassing King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties, plus cities and towns, ports, state and local transportation agencies and tribal governments within the region. Together, the Council develops policies and coordinates decisions about regional growth, transportation, and economic development planning within the four-county region.

VISION 2050 will build on the region's existing VISION 2040 growth strategy "to keep the central Puget Sound region healthy and vibrant as it grows." Planners say it will provide a guide for sustaining a healthy environment, thriving communities, and a strong economy while also identifying the common challenges and renewing the vision for the next 30 years.

In releasing its 2050 forecast, PSRC noted its data team recently reviewed about 30 years of forecasts, comparing them to actual growth and found their forecasts have been "very close to the mark."

For example, looking back over the past three decades, the "error" or difference between projects for 2020 and current prediction has averaged 2.7 percent for population and 1.8 percent for jobs.

PSRC relies on input of technical experts from around the region and the Office of Financial Management in compiling its forecasts. The group expects to complete its macroeconomic forecast and finalized VISION 2050 in the next few months.