Table of contents
Updated February 16, 2024 | Infoplease Staff
Washington State Flag


Capital: Olympia

Official Name: The State of Washington

Organized as a territory: March 2, 1853

Entered Union (rank): November 11, 1889 (42nd)

Present constitution adopted: 1889

State abbreviation/Postal code: WA/Wash.

State Area Codes: 206, 253, 360, 425, 509

Fun Facts About Washington

Nickname: The Evergreen State

Origin of name: Named after George Washington, the first President of the United States

Motto: “Alki” (By and By)

Slogan: "SayWA!"

State symbols

Flower: Coast Rhododendron (1892)

Tree: Western Hemlock (1947)

Animal: Olympic Marmot (2009)

Bird: Willow Goldfinch (1951)

Fish: Steelhead Trout (1969)

Vegetables: Walla Walla Sweet Onion (2007)

Gem: Petrified Wood (1975)

Colors: Green and Gold (unofficial)

Song: "Washington, My Home" (1959)

Poem: "The Green Fields of the Mind" (unofficial)

Grass: Bluebunch Wheatgrass (2011)

Fossil: Columbian Mammoth (1998)

Dinosaur: Suciasaurus rex (unofficial)

Insect: Green Darner Dragonfly (1997)

Ballad: "Roll On, Columbia, Roll On" (1987)


Governor: Jay Inslee, D (to Jan. 2023)

Lieut. Governor: Denny Heck, D (to Jan. 2023)

Secy. of State: Kim Wyman, R (to Jan. 2023)

General Treasurer: Mike Pellicciotti, D (to Jan. 2023)

Atty. General: Bob Ferguson, D (to Jan. 2023)

U.S. Representatives: 10

Senators: Patty Murray, D (to Jan. 2023); Maria Cantwell, D (to Jan. 2025)

Official Website: https://wa.gov/


Residents: Washingtonians

Resident population: 7,656,200 (13th Largest State, 2021)

10 largest cities (2021): Seattle, 769,714; Spokane, 222,081; Tacoma, 219,346; Vancouver, 186,516; Bellevue, 148,164; Kent, 132,319; Everett, 111,475; Renton, 105,379; Federal Way, 97,044; Spokane Valley, 96,340.

Religion: Unaffiliated (32%); Protestant (25%); Catholic (17%); No Answer (7%); Mormon (5%); Other Christian (5%); Buddhist (2%); Jewish (1%); Muslim (1%); Other World Religions (<1%); Other Faiths (4%).

Race/Ethnicity: White (69.3%); Asian (9.3%); Black or African American (4.4%); Two or More Races (6.2%); American Indian/Alaska Native (1.9%); Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander (0.8%); Other Races (5.5%); Hispanic or Latino (12.4%).

Sex: Male: 3,786,300 (49.4%); Female: 3,869,900 (50.6%).

Age: Under 18: 1,671,758 (21.82%); 18-64: 4,805,384 (62.74%); 65 and over: 1,178,058 (15.38%).

Median Age: 37.5.


GDP: $609.5 billion dollars (14th in U.S., 2021)

Unemployment: 4.8% (2022)


Land area: 66,455.52 sq mi. (172,119 sq km)

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

Number of counties: 39

Largest county by population and area: King, 2,252,782 (2020); Okanogan, 5,268 sq mi.

State forests: 6

State parks/recreation areas: 186

See additional census data

Area codes

Tourism office

The State of Washington, affectionately known as "The Evergreen State", is a jewel in the crown of the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. With Olympia as its capital and Seattle as its largest city, Washington State is a vibrant mix of urban landscapes and natural beauty. It's a place where the Pacific Ocean graces the western coast, while idyllic rivers like the Columbia River carve their way through the landscape. From the central and eastern plains of Spokane and Yakima to the western rain forests, the state offers immense geographical and cultural diversity.

Washington Geography

Washington is bordered by Oregon to the south, Idaho to the east, and Canada’s British Columbia to the north. It is the 18th largest of the U.S. states, with an area that spans from the lush North Cascades and Olympic Mountains to the volcanic landscapes of Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. The state enjoys a diverse range of climates, from the temperate rain forests of the Olympic National Park to the arid conditions of Eastern Washington. The Puget Sound, an intricate network of waterways, islands and peninsulas, complements the state’s coastal beauty. The San Juan Islands, a treasured destination off the northern coast, is a haven for Orca whales.

Washington People & Population

Washingtonians are a reflection of the state's diversity. The state of Washington is the 13th largest by population, with demographics showing a blend of ethnicities. The Hispanic community forms a notable part of the population, coexisting with White, Asian, and Native American communities. Washington's population is also characterized by a wide spread of age groups, with a median age of 37.5.

Washington Government

In the sphere of government, Washington is led by Governor Jay Inslee along with Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck. The Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, is another key figure in the state government. The Washington Supreme Court stands as the highest judicial body in the state. Washington's government is renowned for its commitment to health care and health insurance policies, aiming to provide quality services to all residents.

Washington Economy

The economy of Washington State is a robust blend of various industries. From agriculture in the central and eastern regions to technology in the areas of Seattle and Redmond, the state hosts some of the most prominent businesses in the world. The state also boasts a thriving export industry, with a large portion of U.S. exports to Alaska and California originating from here.

Washington Interesting Facts

Beyond its natural beauty and economic prowess, Washington State is also renowned for its cultural richness. Whether it’s the tradition of Native American tribes, the music scene that gave birth to grunge, or the state’s significant contribution to the film industry, Washington's culture is as diverse as its landscape.

Music and Film

Seattle, the birthplace of legendary musicians like Jimi Hendrix and bands like Nirvana, continues to be a vibrant hub for music lovers. Additionally, Washington state has also served as the backdrop for numerous blockbuster films and hit television shows.

Native American Heritage

The Native American heritage in Washington is rich and profound. The tribes of the Pacific Northwest, with their unique cultures and histories, contribute significantly to the state’s cultural fabric.

Outdoor Recreation

From hiking in the North Cascades to sailing in the San Juan Islands, Washington offers a plethora of outdoor experiences. The state’s commitment to preserving its natural environment is evident in its vast network of state parks and recreation areas.

Washington State History

Washington State, named after the first U.S. President, George Washington, holds a rich and diverse history, spanning from the prehistoric era to the modern day. Its narrative is a unique blend of Native American heritage, colonial settlement, territorial conflicts, and social and economic evolution that has shaped its present identity.

Pre-Colonial History

Washington's history predates the colonial era, with evidence of indigenous cultures dating back as far as 11,000 years. These early societies, including the Makah, Chinook, and Salish tribes, lived harmoniously with the environment. They developed complex social structures and excelled in the arts, particularly in totem pole carving, basketry, and pottery. The tribes also exhibited remarkable marine skills, navigating the Pacific Northwest's waterways using intricately carved canoes.

Colonial History

The first European exposure to the region occurred in the late 18th century, with Spanish and British explorers staking their claims. However, it was the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 that marked the real onset of colonization. The Oregon Territory, which encompassed present-day Washington, was jointly administered by the U.S. and Britain until the Oregon Treaty of 1846, which drew the boundary at the 49th parallel and made Washington part of the U.S. Washington was not involved directly in the American Revolutionary War, and given its late colonial and statehood timeline, it did not have a history of legal slavery.

Pre-Civil War History

Following the Oregon Treaty, settlement began in earnest. Washington became a territory in 1853, separate from the Oregon Territory. The period leading up to the Civil War saw significant growth and development, although it was marred by conflicts such as the Yakima War and the Puget Sound War, primarily fought between indigenous tribes and settlers. Despite its remote location, Washington contributed to the Union cause during the Civil War through the provision of resources.

Post-Civil War History

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Washington witnessed a period of rapid growth. The completion of transcontinental railroads and the Gold Rush brought a surge of population and wealth. Washington became the 42nd state of the United States on November 11, 1889. The state's economy grew with logging, fishing, and farming dominating the early industries. The early 20th century also saw the rise of labor movements, particularly in the realm of mining and logging.

Modern History

The onset of World War II propelled Washington into the modern era, with the state playing a pivotal role in the war efforts. The Hanford Site was established as part of the Manhattan Project, producing plutonium for the atomic bomb. Post-war growth saw the rise of the aerospace industry with the expansion of Boeing. The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw the tech industry boom, with Microsoft and Amazon setting up headquarters in Washington. In recent decades, Washington has also become a leader in environmental policy, underscoring its commitment to preserving its rich natural heritage.

People Also Ask…

If you are interested in more information about Washington, then keep reading — we have compiled answers to the most common questions below.

1. What is Washington State known for?

Washington State is known for its stunning landscapes, including Mount Rainier, the Olympic National Park, and Puget Sound. It's also famous for Seattle, the birthplace of grunge music, and the tech giants Microsoft and Amazon.

2. What is the economy of Washington State?

The economy of Washington State is a diverse mix of sectors, including technology, aerospace, agriculture, and manufacturing. It's home to some of the world's most successful companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing.

3. What is the state of Washington's history?

Washington State's history spans thousands of years, from the indigenous cultures that originally inhabited the region to the area's exploration and settlement by Europeans. It became a U.S. territory in 1853 and achieved statehood in 1889.

4. What is unique about Washington's culture?

Washington's culture is notable for its music and film scene, its Native American heritage, and its commitment to environmental preservation. The state has produced influential musicians like Jimi Hendrix and bands like Nirvana, and it's also been the setting for a number of popular films and TV shows.

5. What is the state of Washington's capital?

The capital of Washington State is Olympia. Located on the southern end of Puget Sound, it's a vibrant city known for its handsome 19th-century architecture and the domed State Capitol Building.

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

Selected famous natives and residents:

The 50 States of America | U.S. State Information
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