Population estimates show slight gain in Washington, decline in neighboring counties

Rick Shrum
Observer Reporter

Following a five-year slide, Washington County gained population in 2018 – although it was marginal.

The U.S. Census Bureau Thursday released population estimates from July of last year, which listed county residency at 207,346. That was 50 more than the 2017 estimate of 207,296.

Year-by-year estimates by the bureau also show that Washington County lost population every year from 2013 through 2017, a total of 977 residents. The county’s July 2018 estimate ranked 18th among Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

The Census Bureau does a full population count of the United States every 10 years, and will next do so in April 2020.

Washington’s population may not have boomed during the past year, but the five counties contiguous to it did not do as well. All lost residents, according to Census statistics.

Greene’s population dwindled for an eighth consecutive year, and dropped 3.6 percent from 2017 – to 36,506 from 36,849. The 2018 number ranks 58th among all counties in the state. Greene has lost 5.6 percent of its population since 2010.

Fayette likewise has lost residents each of the past eight years, including a population drain of 986 from 2017 – to 130,441 from 131,427. That latest figure is 27th of 67 counties.

Allegheny County’s population fell by 2,204, to 1,218,452 from 1,220,656, between 2017 and 2018. That is still the second-most populous county in Pennsylvania, behind Philadelphia. Allegheny’s figure has decreased annually since 2013.

Westmoreland’s losing streak hit eight years, according to the Census Bureau, which determined that the county population dropped to 350,611 last July, 11th highest in the state. That was 1,710 down from 2017.

Beaver County experienced an estimated decline of 961 residents, to 164,742 (20th statewide).

The seven-county Pittsburgh metropolitan region lost an estimated 5,540 residents between 2017 and 2018, to 2,324,743.

Population, statewide, rose by 104,187 from 2017 to 2018, to 12,807,060.