Washington Counties
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Washington Counties

There are thity-nine counties in the state of Washington. Washington was carved out of the western part of Washington Territory and admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. The first counties were created from unorganized territory in 1845.

Island County, Washington

Island County Education, Geography, and History

Island County, Washington Courthouse

Island County is a county located in the state of Washington. Based on the 2010 census, its population was 78,506. Island County, the eighth oldest county in Washington, was created on January 6, 1853, by the Oregon Territorial Legislature from a portion of Thurston County and was named for the myriad of islands in Northwestern Washington. Its county seat is Coupeville, while its largest city is Oak Harbor.

Island County comprises the Oak Harbor, WA Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Seattle-Tacoma, WA Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Island County Name

After the fact that it consists of just two islands, Whidbey Island and Camano Island.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Island County History

Its name reflects the fact that it is composed entirely of islands. It contains two large islands, Whidbey and Camano, and seven smaller islands (Baby, Ben Ure, Deception, Kalamut, Minor, Smith, and Strawberry). Island County was created 6 January 1853 from Thurston County,  and is the eighth-oldest county in Washington.

 It originally encompassed Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, and San Juan Counties. At present, Island County consists of just two large islands, Whidbey and Camano, and six small, uninhabited islands: Smith Island to the west, Deception and Pass islands in Deception Pass, and Ben Ure, Strawberry, and Baby islands in Saratoga Passage. Captain George Vancouver (1758-1798) first explored the area that comprises Island County during the spring of 1792. The county has a total area of 517 square miles; 208.4 square miles of land and 309 square miles of water. In area, it is the second smallest county in Washington. It is bounded on the north by Deception Pass, on the south by Puget sound, on the east by Skagit Bay and Saratoga Passage, and on the west by Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. According to the 2000 US Census, Island County had a population of 71,558; 22,477 living in incorporated cities and towns and 49,081 living in unincorporated areas. The county seat is the historic town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 517 square miles (1,340 km2), of which, 208 square miles (540 km2) of it is land and 309 square miles (800 km2) of it (59.71%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Snohomish County, Washington - east
  • Kitsap County, Washington - southwest
  • Jefferson County, Washington - west
  • San Juan County, Washington - northwest
  • Skagit County, Washington - north


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