Kittitas County
Kittitas County Courthouse in Ellensburg
Kittitas County Courthouse in Ellensburg
Map of Washington highlighting Kittitas County
Location within the U.S. state of Washington
Map of the United States highlighting Washington
Washington's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 47°07′N 120°41′W / 47.12°N 120.68°W / 47.12; -120.68
Country United States
State Washington
FoundedNovember 24, 1883
SeatEllensburg
Largest cityEllensburg
Area
 • Total2,333 sq mi (6,040 km2)
 • Land2,297 sq mi (5,950 km2)
 • Water36 sq mi (90 km2)  1.5%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total44,337
 • Estimate 
(2021)
45,499 Increase
 • Density20/sq mi (8/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional district8th
Websitewww.co.kittitas.wa.us

Kittitas County (/ˈkɪtɪtæs/) is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. At the 2020 census, its population was 44,337.[1] Its county seat and largest city is Ellensburg.[2] The county was created in November 1883 when it was carved out of Yakima County.[3] Kittitas County comprises the Ellensburg, Washington, Micropolitan Statistical Area.

There are numerous interpretations of the county's name, which is from the language of the Yakama Nation. According to one source, it "has been said to mean everything from 'white chalk' to 'shale rock' to 'shoal people' to 'land of plenty'". Most anthropologists and historians concede that each interpretation has some validity depending upon the particular dialect spoken.[4]

History

The county was organized in November 1883 by the Washington Territorial Legislature, carved from the northern part of Yakima County.

Indigenous peoples known as Kittitas (or Upper Yakima) occupied the lands along the Yakima River for hundreds of years before the present era. The Kittitas Valley was a traditional gathering place for tribes east of the Cascades.

White settlers began pouring into the Kittitas Valley in the late 1850s. Their arrival forced dislocation and displacement of the native inhabitants, who were eventually forced into the Yakama Indian Reservation. White settlers introduced livestock raising, crop farming, dairying, logging, lumber processing, and mining. The abundant grassland and the generally-favorable terrain made beef and cattle production become the county's mainstay. That was assisted by the introduction of railways into the area and the large-scale irrigation systems introduced in the 1930s.

Wheat planting in Kittitas Valley began in 1868. The county's first flour mill was established near Ellensburg in 1873. Production of alfalfa was also seen from the county's early days.

Lumber extraction was an important county activity from its early days, mostly in the west end. Logging camps were established near the county's three largest lakes (Cle Elum, Kachess, Keechelus).

Mining for coal and minerals was established by the mid-1880s.[5]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,333 square miles (6,040 km2), of which 2,297 square miles (5,950 km2) is land and 36 square miles (93 km2) (1.5%) is water.[6] The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet (2,426 m) above mean sea level.

Geographic features

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
18908,777
19009,70410.6%
191018,56191.3%
192017,737−4.4%
193018,1542.4%
194020,23011.4%
195022,2359.9%
196020,467−8.0%
197025,03922.3%
198024,877−0.6%
199026,7257.4%
200033,36224.8%
201040,91522.6%
202044,3378.4%
2021 (est.)45,499[7]2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790–1960[9] 1900–1990[10]
1990–2000[11] 2010–2020[12]

2000 census

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 33,362 people, 13,382 households, and 7,788 families living in the county. The population density was 14 people per square mile (6/km2). There were 16,475 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 91.77% White, 0.71% Black or African American, 0.91% Native American, 2.19% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 2.30% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. 5.00% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.4% were of German, 11.7% English, 9.0% Irish, 7.8% United States or American, 6.6% Norwegian, 3.8% Italian, 3.2% Swedish, 3.1% French, 3.0% Dutch, 1.7% Polish, and 1.3% Danish ancestry. 93.2% spoke English and 4.5% Spanish as their first language.

There were 13,382 households, out of which 26.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.80% were married couples living together, 7.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.80% were non-families. 28.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 20.60% under the age of 18, 21.60% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 21.60% from 45 to 64, and 11.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 98.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,546, and the median income for a family was $46,057. Males had a median income of $36,257 versus $25,640 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,928. About 10.50% of families and 19.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.60% of those under age 18 and 8.20% of those age 65 or over.

An irrigated hillside near Ellensburg
An irrigated hillside near Ellensburg

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 40,915 people, 16,595 households, and 9,225 families living in the county.[14] The population density was 17.8 inhabitants per square mile (6.9/km2). There were 21,900 housing units at an average density of 9.5 per square mile (3.7/km2).[15] The racial makeup of the county was 89.3% white, 2.0% Asian, 1.0% American Indian, 0.9% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 3.7% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 7.6% of the population.[14] In terms of ancestry, 26.2% were German, 15.4% were Irish, 12.7% were English, 8.2% were Norwegian, 5.1% were Italian, 5.0% were Swedish, and 3.4% were American.[16]

Of the 16,595 households, 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 44.4% were non-families, and 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.87. The median age was 31.9 years.[14]

The median income for a household in the county was $41,232 and the median income for a family was $61,276. Males had a median income of $45,916 versus $35,380 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,467. About 10.3% of families and 21.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.8% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.[17]

Government and politics

United States presidential election results for Kittitas County, Washington[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 14,105 53.50% 11,421 43.32% 838 3.18%
2016 10,100 51.49% 7,489 38.18% 2,026 10.33%
2012 9,782 53.47% 7,949 43.45% 562 3.07%
2008 9,471 52.68% 8,030 44.67% 476 2.65%
2004 9,052 56.17% 6,731 41.77% 331 2.05%
2000 7,727 54.86% 5,516 39.16% 843 5.98%
1996 5,224 41.58% 5,707 45.42% 1,633 13.00%
1992 4,078 32.93% 5,432 43.86% 2,875 23.21%
1988 5,048 48.09% 5,318 50.67% 130 1.24%
1984 6,580 57.06% 4,830 41.89% 121 1.05%
1980 5,359 49.86% 4,075 37.91% 1,314 12.23%
1976 4,765 47.57% 4,858 48.50% 394 3.93%
1972 5,464 53.96% 4,299 42.46% 363 3.58%
1968 4,212 48.25% 3,921 44.92% 596 6.83%
1964 3,200 37.24% 5,383 62.65% 9 0.10%
1960 4,640 51.83% 4,303 48.06% 10 0.11%
1956 5,097 57.72% 3,726 42.20% 7 0.08%
1952 5,201 56.69% 3,937 42.91% 36 0.39%
1948 3,446 41.28% 4,588 54.96% 314 3.76%
1944 3,423 44.54% 4,227 55.00% 36 0.47%
1940 3,401 39.27% 5,203 60.08% 56 0.65%
1936 1,941 26.89% 5,044 69.88% 233 3.23%
1932 1,963 29.37% 4,266 63.82% 455 6.81%
1928 3,207 59.48% 2,136 39.61% 49 0.91%
1924 2,360 47.22% 455 9.10% 2,183 43.68%
1920 2,837 54.54% 1,119 21.51% 1,246 23.95%
1916 2,310 43.74% 2,609 49.40% 362 6.85%
1912 1,157 22.44% 1,407 27.29% 2,592 50.27%
1908 1,752 56.23% 985 31.61% 379 12.16%
1904 1,787 64.86% 523 18.98% 445 16.15%
1900 1,139 52.88% 934 43.36% 81 3.76%
1896 1,044 43.39% 1,336 55.53% 26 1.08%
1892 855 37.83% 800 35.40% 605 26.77%


Kittitas County is directed by a three-member Board of Commissioners.

The current County Commissioners are:[19]

In presidential elections, it is a conservative county which has voted in the majority for the Republican candidate since the beginning of the 21st century.

Flora and fauna

There are a variety of species represented within Kittitas County. These include a diversity of grasses, herbs, trees, birds, mammals and amphibians. The genus of ricegrass known as Oryzopsis was one of the earliest grasses classified within the county.[20] Among the amphibian species found are the Cascades frog and the rough-skinned newt, the latter being a common far western USA taxon; in fact, examples of neoteny have been found in individual newts of this species within the county.[21]

Communities

Cities

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Events

See also

References

  1. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Illustrated History of Klickitat, Yakima, & Kittitas Counties, with an outline of the early history of the state of Washington. Interstate Publishing Company. 1904. p. 244.
  4. ^ Cochran, Jennifer (2007). "Kittitas County - About the County". Archived from the original on October 13, 2010.
  5. ^ History of Kittitas County
  6. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021". Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  12. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  14. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  15. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  16. ^ "Selected Social Characteristics in the United States – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  17. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  18. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  19. ^ "Board of Commissioners Office". co.kittitas.wa.us. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  20. ^ Charles Vancouver Piper (1906) Flora of the State of Washington, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC
  21. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Rough-skinned Newt ("Taricha granulosa"), GlobalTwitcher, ed. N. Stromberg "Rough-Skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa ) - - GlobalTwitcher.com". Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  22. ^ "Kittitas County Fair". www.kittitascountyfair.com. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  23. ^ "Kittitas County Fair, History". Archived from the original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2011.

Further reading

Coordinates: 47°07′N 120°41′W / 47.12°N 120.68°W / 47.12; -120.68