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Cities 101

What is a city?

Cities build and operate most of the public infrastructure systems that ensure health, safety, and environmental sustainability. Cities manage land development, protect open space, and build and maintain parks. Cities are the systems that run so efficiently and effectively, you might not even notice they’re there! Things like streets and sidewalks, trash, parks, transportation, police, fire, water, stormwater, and sewer are all services that cities operate.

Cities provide a sense of place, a network of relationships. As people change jobs or decide to raise a family, they settle in communities with a quality of life that fits their lifestyle. They buy homes near amenities like markets, good schools, hospitals and parks. Businesses locate where their employees want to live or where a brain trust already exists.

About Washington cities

There are 281 cities and towns in Washington State. They range in size from 50 to nearly 700,000.

Cities are where people live, learn, work, and play. More than 4.7 million people live within Washington cities.

Washington’s cities are where most of the jobs are located.

Every day, all across Washington, people commute to cities where they congregate and collaborate.

Washington is growing. By 2025, 833,000 people are expected to move to Washington State.

That’s the equivalent of another Richland, Vancouver, Tacoma, Spokane, Bellingham, and Yakima combined!

Your City Snapshot

Your City Snapshot uses U.S. Census data to profile your city's economic condition, demographic breakdown, housing stock, and more.

Cities 101 videos

Check out these videos designed especially for cities to share with their residents. Share them with your broader community on social media and your websites to tell the story about all the great work that cities do.

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