Washington

Capital: Olympia

State abbreviation/Postal code: Wash./WA

Governor: Jay Inslee, D (to Jan. 2017)

Lieut. Governor: Brad Owen, D (to Jan. 2017)

Senators: Patty Murray, D (to Jan. 2017); Maria Cantwell, D (to Jan. 2019)

U.S. Representatives: 10

Historical biographies of Congressional members

Organized as territory: March 2, 1853

Entered Union (rank): Nov. 11, 1889 (42)

Present constitution adopted: 1889

Motto: Al-Ki (Indian word meaning “by and by”)

State symbols:

flowercoast rhododendron (1892)
treewestern hemlock (1947)
birdwillow goldfinch (1951)
fishsteelhead trout (1969)
gempetrified wood (1975)
colorsgreen and gold (1925)
song“Washington, My Home” (1959)
folk song“Roll On Columbia, Roll On” (1987)
dancesquare dance (1979)
grassbluebunch wheatgrass (1989)
insectblue darner dragonfly (1997)
fossilColumbian mammoth (1998)
fruitapple (1989)

Nicknames: Evergreen State

Origin of name: In honor of George Washington

10 largest cities (2010 est.): Seattle, 608,660; Spokane, 208,916; Tacoma, 198,397; Vancouver , 161,791; Bellevue, 122,363; Everett, 103,019; Kent, 92,411; Yakima, 91,067; Renton, 90,927; Spokane Valley, 89,755

Land area: 66,544 sq mi. (172,349 sq km)

Geographic center: In Chelan Co., 10 mi. WSW of Wenatchee

Number of counties: 39

Largest county by population and area: King, 1,931,249 (2010); Okanogan, 5,268 sq mi.

State forest lands: 2.1 million ac.

State parks: 120

Residents: Washingtonian

2010 resident population est.: 6,724,540

2010 resident census population (rank): 6,724,540 (13). Male: 3,349,707 (49.8%); Female: 3,374,833 (50.2%). White: 5,196,362 (77.3%); Black: 240,042 (3.6%); American Indian: 103,869 (1.5%); Asian: 481,067 (7.2%); Other race: 349,799 (5.2%); Two or more races: 312,926 (4.7%); Hispanic/Latino: 755,790 (11.2%). 2010 percent population 18 and over: 76.5; 65 and over: 12.3; median age: 37.3.

See additional census data

Area codes

Tourism office

As part of the vast Oregon Country, Washington territory was visited by Spanish, American, and British explorers—Bruno Heceta for Spain in 1775, the American Capt. Robert Gray in 1792, and Capt. George Vancouver for Britain in 1792–1794. Lewis and Clark explored the Columbia River region and coastal areas for the U.S. in 1805–1806.

Rival American and British settlers and conflicting territorial claims threatened war in the early 1840s. However, in 1846 the Oregon Treaty set the boundary at the 49th parallel and war was averted.

Washington is a leading lumber producer. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa and white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar. The state holds first place in apples, lentils, dry edible peas, hops, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries, and ranks high in apricots, asparagus, grapes, peppermint oil, and potatoes. Livestock and livestock products make important contributions to total farm revenue and the commercial fishing catch of salmon, halibut, and bottomfish makes a significant contribution to the state's economy.

Manufacturing industries in Washington include aircraft and missiles, shipbuilding and other transportation equipment, lumber, food processing, metals and metal products, chemicals, and machinery.

Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee, built for a variety of purposes including irrigation, power, flood control, and water storage.

Among the major points of interest: Mt. Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks. Mount St. Helens, a peak in the Cascade Range, erupted in May 1980. Also of interest are Whitman Mission and Fort Vancouver National Historic Sites; and the Pacific Science Center and the Space Needle, in Seattle.

As of 2013, Washington is the only state where cannabis, same-sex marriage, and assisted suicide are all legal. In 2008, the Washington Death with Dignity Act was passed, allowing legal assisted suicide. In the November 2012 general election, voters upheld Referendum 74, a bill that legalized same-sex marriage in Washington. Also in November 2012, Washington passed Initiative 50, making the sale and possession of marijuana (in limited amounts) for both medical and non-medical purposes legal.

See more on Washington:
Encyclopedia: Washington
Encyclopedia: Geography
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
Monthly Temperature Extremes

All U.S. States: Geography & Climate
Printable Outline Maps
Record Highest Temperatures
Record Lowest Temperatures
Highest, Lowest, and Mean Elevations
Land and Water Area

All U.S. States: Population & Economy
Historical Population Statistics, 1790–Present
Per Capita Personal Income
Minimum Wage Rates
State Taxes
Federal Government Expenditure
Percent of People in Poverty
Births and Birth Rates
Homeownership
Percentage of Uninsured by State

All U.S. States: Society & Culture:
Most Livable States
Healthiest States
Most Dangerous States
Smartest States
Crime Index
Residency Requirements for Voting
Compulsory School Attendance Laws
Driving Laws
National Public Radio Stations


Information Please® Database, © 2012 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

VirginiaStatesWest Virginia
Washington

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Top 10 Group Halloween Costumes for Families
These store-bought and Pinterest-inspired Halloween costume ideas for groups are the perfect way to show off your creative side at your Halloween party or while trick-or-treating.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

12 Spine-Tingling Halloween Movies for Teens
Are you looking for a movie with just a little bit of spook-factor for your teen? Check out these 12 spine-tingling Halloween movies!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!