Washington is nicknamed “The Evergreen State” because of the contribution of the forest to the state’s economy and the region's ecosystems. Several large rivers run through the forests creating excellent habitat for steelhead trout and an abundance of energy. The Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River provides 30% of the nation’s hydroelectric power. Washington covers 66,544 square miles, with a 2012 estimated population of 6,897,012 people – 710,781 living in rural Washington (USDA-ERS). Olympia, the capital, is located in the western region of the state. The state’s largest cities are Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 81.6% of the state’s population is white, 7.7% is Asian, 3.9% is Black/African American, 1.8% is American Indian and Alaska Native, and 11.7% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (2012).
There are 85 hospitals in Washington (Kaiser, 2011), 35 of which are located in rural areas (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, Dec. 2008). The state has 39 hospitals identified as Critical Access Hospitals (June 2013). According to the Washington State Office of Community Health Systems/Rural Health there are 129 Rural Health Clinics in Washington, and 25 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 212 sites in the state (Kaiser, 2011).
Most Washingtonians have some form of health insurance coverage, although 14.0% of its residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2011). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Washingtonians in 2012 was $46,045, although rural per-capita income lagged at $36,103. Estimates from 2012 indicate a poverty rate of 17.4% exists in rural Washington, compared to an 13.1% level in urban areas of the state. 2012 ACS data reports that 12.4% of the rural population has not completed high school, compared to 9.7% of urban populations. The unemployment rate in rural Washington is at 9.6%, while in urban Washington it is at 8.0% (USDA-ERS, 2012).For a national comparison, please see an overview of the United States.
U.S. Census Bureau: State & County QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List; Washington Office of Community and Rural Health
Directory of Rural Health
Contact information for people and organizations in Washington with an interest in rural health.
There are more organizations related to Washington in the organizations section.
Last Reviewed: 6/13/2013