5 Washington Towns People Are Fleeing as Soon as Possible

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





Washington stands out as a picturesque state, boasting diverse landscapes, a rich culture, and lively cities. Nevertheless, not every town in Washington is equally appealing for residents.

Some face a myriad of challenges, including elevated crime rates, inadequate infrastructure, environmental concerns, and economic downturns, prompting some locals to seek better prospects elsewhere. Here, we highlight five Washington towns experiencing significant population decline.

1. Aberdeen

Situated on the coast in Grays Harbor County, Aberdeen, recognized as the birthplace of grunge rock legend Kurt Cobain, grapples with issues such as high poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, and homelessness. U.S.

Census Bureau data reveals a 3.4% decline in Aberdeen’s population from 2010 to 2019, with a median household income of only $41,213—well below the state average of $78,687. In 2019, Aberdeen earned the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous city in Washington, recording a violent crime rate of 14.6 per 1,000 residents, according to the FBI.

2. Centralia

Located in Lewis County, midway between Seattle and Portland, Centralia was once a thriving coal mining and railroad hub. However, a series of unfortunate events, including the Centralia Massacre of 1919, the Centralia Mine Fire of 1962, and the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, changed its fortunes.

The town has witnessed a continuous decline in population and businesses, facing ongoing environmental and health risks from an underground fire. Census data indicates a 2.6% population decrease in Centralia from 2010 to 2019, with a median household income of only $40,905.

3. Hoquiam

Adjacent to Aberdeen in Grays Harbor County, Hoquiam, once a thriving lumber and fishing town, has seen economic decline with the collapse of the timber industry and diminishing fish stocks. Similar to Aberdeen, Hoquiam struggles with crime, poverty, and drug-related issues.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports a 4.4% drop in Hoquiam’s population from 2010 to 2019, accompanied by a median household income of only $37,795.

4. Kelso

Situated along the Columbia River in Cowlitz County, Kelso was initially established as a trading post in the 1840s, later becoming a hub for logging, manufacturing, and transportation. In recent years, Kelso has faced economic stagnation, unemployment, and social challenges, coupled with a susceptibility to flooding due to its low-lying location.

Census data reveals a 2.9% population decrease in Kelso from 2010 to 2019, with a median household income of only $46,615.

5. Toppenish

Found in Yakima County within the Yakama Indian Reservation, Toppenish is renowned for its murals depicting the region’s history and culture, along with its casino and rodeo events.

However, the town grapples with issues such as low education, high poverty, and gang violence. U.S. Census Bureau statistics show a 4.1% decline in Toppenish’s population from 2010 to 2019, with a median household income of only $33,750.


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