The Health of Jefferson County


How people live – the sociodemographic context of their lives – influences their health. People who have lower incomes may not have the resources to meet basic needs including food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare. Insufficient resources can lead to negative health outcomes. Those with higher incomes may have adequate resources to meet basic needs, which in turn leads to improved heath outcomes.

Communities with concentrations of low-income populations often have higher levels of health-related problems than more affluent communities. Identifying these patterns is important because differences between a community’s demographic characteristics can help explain differences in health indicators for these communities. Therefore, understanding variations in community characteristics is an important part of community assessment.

This section summarizes data on the County population’s gender, age, race, ethnicity, education, income, migration, disability, and housing.

Population Growth

Between 1980 and 2002, the population of Jefferson County increased by two-thirds, from 15,965 in 1980 to 25,953 in 2000. The projected 2002 population is 26,600. Since 1980, the county’s population growth rate generally exceeded that of Washington State, except for the 2000-2002 period, when it fell below the state average (2.5%) to 1.1% (Figure 1).

Population growth chart


Virtually all of Jefferson County’s growth in the past 20 years comes from net in-migration (i.e. more people have been moving into the county than leaving through death or out-migration). In both 1990 and 2000, 71% of residents reported that they had lived in the county for at least five years.

Among residents who moved to Jefferson County within the past five years, about 13% had lived elsewhere in Washington in the previous 5 years, and 16% had lived outside of the state or out of the country. Within Jefferson County, Brinnon had the largest proportion of stable population, with almost 95% of residents having lived in the Brinnon area during the previous 5 years (Table 1). Conversely, nearly one third of Port Ludlow CDP residents moved to the area within the previous 5 years.


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