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.

Pierce County, Washington

Pierce County Education, Geography, and History

Pierce County, Washington City Building

Pierce County is a county in the state of Washington. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 795,225, making it the second-most populous county in Washington behind King County. The county seat and largest city is Tacoma. Formed out of Thurston County on December 22, 1852, by the legislature of Oregon Territory, it was named for US President Franklin Pierce. Pierce County is included in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Pierce County Name

Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Pierce County History

Pierce County was created 22 December 1852 from Thurston County.  Pierce County, located in southwestern Washington abutting Puget Sound, encompasses an extremely wide range of elevations: from sea level on Puget Sound to 14,410 at the summit of Mount Rainier. The entire footprint of Mount Rainier, an active Cascade volcano encased in more than 35 square miles of snow and glacial ice, lies within the county's boundaries. Pierce County comprises 1,675 square miles, placing it 23rd in size among Washington's 39 counties. It is bounded by King County to the north, Yakima County to the east, Lewis County to the south, and the southern portion of Puget Sound to the west. As of 2004, Pierce County's estimated population was 744,000. The county's history includes the Puget Sound region's earliest non-Indian settlement at Fort Nisqually, the boom and bust of both hop-growing and coal mining, and the growth and development of Tacoma, the state's third-largest city. Pierce County has one deepwater harbor, Commencement Bay. Most of the county's population and economic base is located in the northwest near Tacoma. The central area along the foothills of Mount Rainier was mined for coal from the 1880s until the late 1930s. Logging and farming have also been significant industries.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,806 square miles (4,679 km2), of which, 1,679 square miles (4,348 km2) of it is land and 128 square miles (330 km2) of it (7.06%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • King County, Washington - north
  • Yakima County, Washington - east
  • Lewis County, Washington - south
  • Thurston County, Washington - west/southwest
  • Mason County, Washington - west/northwest
  • Kitsap County, Washington - north/northwest


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