These 7 Washington Towns Residents Are Fleeing-Here Is Why?

Are you considering a move to the beautiful state of Washington? Before you start packing your bags, knowing which towns are experiencing an exodus of residents is crucial. From economic downturns to quality of life concerns, these 7 Washington towns are seeing a surge in people fleeing as soon as possible.
Whether looking for a new place to call home or simply curious about the shifting dynamics within the Evergreen State, understanding why residents are leaving these areas is essential for making informed decisions about where to settle down. So, please grab a cup of coffee and join us as we delve into the intriguing reasons behind this mass departure from some of Washington’s most picturesque towns.

Washington Towns Facing Exodus: Challenges and Data

Town Key Challenges Driving Exodus Data Points Highlighting Impact
Aberdeen Economic depression, drug abuse, homelessness – Poverty rate: 26.7% (U.S. Census Bureau)
Tacoma High crime rate, air pollution, high cost of living – Crime rate: 56.4 per 1,000 residents (FBI)
Yakima Poverty, segregation, high crime rate – Median household income: $46,261 (U.S. Census Bureau)
Hoquiam Loss of industries, unemployment, low education attainment – Unemployment rate: 8.9% (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Kelso High poverty rate, high crime rate, declining population – Median home value: $193,300 (Zillow)
Centralia Poverty, low education attainment, declining population – Cost of living index: 115.9 (BestPlaces)
Bremerton High cost of living, congestion, high crime rate – Median rent: $1,237 (

1. Aberdeen

Located in Grays Harbor County, Aberdeen is a coastal town that is the birthplace of grunge rock legend Kurt Cobain. Despite its musical legacy, Aberdeen is confronted with significant challenges, making it one of the most economically depressed towns in Washington.

With a poverty rate of 26.7%, a median household income of $38,740, and a median home value of $127,900, Aberdeen struggles to provide its residents with a prosperous living environment. Moreover, the town grapples with a high unemployment rate of 9.4% and a low educational attainment rate of 15.8%. Additionally, drug abuse, homelessness, and crime further compound the issues faced by Aberdeen, rendering it an unattractive place of residence for many individuals.

2. Tacoma

Tacoma, a port city in Pierce County, lies south of Seattle. With a population exceeding 200,000, Tacoma ranks as the third-largest city in Washington. However, Tacoma has gained notoriety for its reputation as a dangerous and polluted city. The crime rate is 56.4 per 1,000 residents, a staggering 95% higher than the national average.

Additionally, the cost of living in Tacoma remains high, with a median home value of $372,800 and a median rent of $1,334. The city’s air quality is also a concern, partly due to industrial pollution and its proximity to the Interstate 5 corridor.

3. Yakima

Yakima, a city in Yakima County, is situated in the central part of Washington. Renowned for its agricultural production, particularly apples, hops, and wine, Yakima also faces significant challenges. Despite its agricultural success, Yakima ranks as one of Washington’s poorest and most segregated cities. Its poverty rate is 22.9%, with a median household income of $46,261 and a median home value of $189,500.

Yakima has a substantial Hispanic population, accounting for 49.4% of the total population. However, this community also experiences discrimination and marginalization from the white majority. Moreover, Yakima contends with a high crime rate of 45.9 per 1,000 residents, which surpasses the national average by 76%. These factors contribute to the complex social dynamics and challenges the city faces.

4. Hoquiam

Hoquiam, a coastal town in Grays Harbor County, is near Aberdeen. Once a thriving logging and fishing town, Hoquiam has experienced a decline since the 1980s, primarily due to the loss of industries and employment opportunities.

Hoquiam has a poverty rate of 23.8%, with a median household income of $37,500 and a median home value of $115,600. The town also grapples with a high unemployment rate of 8.9% and a low educational attainment rate of 14.9%. Hoquiam’s population has decreased by 7.4% since 2010, indicating many individuals seeking better prospects elsewhere.

5. Kelso

Kelso, a city in Cowlitz County, is located in southwestern Washington. Situated along the Columbia River, it is adjacent to the larger city of Longview. With a poverty rate of 23.1%, a median household income of $43,028, and a median home value of $193,300, Kelso faces economic challenges.

Moreover, the city experiences a high crime rate of 51.9 per 1,000 residents, 88% higher than the national average. In recent years, Kelso has seen a decline in its population by 2.9% since 2010, indicating a trend of people moving away from the city.

6. Centralia

Centralia, a city in Lewis County, is in the southwestern part of Washington. Its historic downtown is renowned for its many antique shops and well-preserved buildings. However, despite its charm, Centralia faces economic distress, making it one of the most impoverished cities in Washington. The poverty rate is 24.9%, with a median household income of $40,057 and a median home value of $184,200.

Furthermore, Centralia grapples with an 8.2% unemployment rate and a low educational attainment rate of 15.5%. The city’s population has declined by 1.8% since 2010, suggesting that many individuals are relocating in search of better opportunities.

7. Bremerton

Bremerton, a city in Kitsap County, lies across the Puget Sound from Seattle. Notably, Bremerton is home to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, making it the largest employer within the city. However, it’s important to note that Bremerton also faces some challenges, as it is considered one of the most expensive and congested cities in Washington.

Bremerton’s median home value is $339,900, while the median rent amounts to $1,237. Furthermore, the cost of living in Bremerton is relatively high, with a cost of living index of 115.9, surpassing the national average by 15.9%. Additionally, Bremerton grapples with a relatively high crime rate of 46.4 per 1,000 residents, 78% higher than the national average.

Why Residents Are Fleeing These Washington Cities?

Economic Challenges:

  • High Poverty Rates: Across these towns, there is a prevalent struggle with high poverty rates, limiting residents’ economic well-being.
  • Unemployment Issues: Many towns face elevated unemployment rates, contributing to financial difficulties for the local population.

Crime Concerns:

  • Elevated Crime Rates: A common thread is the higher-than-average crime rates, creating safety concerns for residents.

Cost of Living Strain:

  • High Living Costs: The cost of living, including home values and rents, is a shared challenge, making these areas less financially accessible for residents.

Limited Opportunities:

  • Economic Decline: Several towns experience economic decline, marked by the loss of industries and job opportunities, reducing prospects for residents.

Population Decline:

  • Decreasing Population: A consistent trend is the decline in population, indicating a broader pattern of residents seeking better prospects elsewhere.

Educational and Social Challenges:

  • Limited Educational Opportunities: Some towns grapple with low educational attainment rates, impacting residents’ overall skill set and opportunities.
  • Social Issues: Drug abuse, homelessness, and other social problems contribute to an undesirable living environment.

Environmental and Quality of Life Concerns:

  • Environmental Threats: In certain areas, environmental issues such as air quality concerns and industrial pollution add to the challenges.
  • Congestion and Safety: Factors like congestion and high crime rates affect the overall quality of life, pushing residents to explore alternative locations.


In conclusion, the departure from these 7 Washington towns is driven by various factors, including economic downturn, lack of job opportunities, and high living costs. The declining population in these areas raises concerns about their long-term viability and sustainability. As residents continue to seek greener pastures elsewhere, local authorities must address the root causes of this trend to prevent further decline.

It is essential for both local and state governments to collaborate on strategies that can revitalize these communities and make them more attractive for current and prospective residents. Ultimately, proactive measures are needed to reverse this trend and ensure a brighter future for these Washington towns.

FAQs about Washington’s Towns Facing Exodus

Why are residents leaving Aberdeen, Washington?

Aberdeen faces economic challenges, including a poverty rate of 26.7%, a high unemployment rate of 9.4%, and issues like drug abuse and homelessness, making it unattractive for residents.

What reputation does Tacoma, Washington, have, and why are people leaving?

Tacoma is known for being dangerous and polluted. Residents are leaving due to a high crime rate, expensive living costs, and concerns about air quality.

What challenges does Yakima, Washington, face despite its agricultural success?

Despite being an agricultural hub, Yakima is one of Washington’s poorest and most segregated cities. It grapples with a high poverty rate, discrimination, and a significant crime rate.

Why has Hoquiam, Washington, experienced a decline since the 1980s?

Once a thriving logging and fishing town, Hoquiam declined due to the loss of industries and employment opportunities. It faces economic challenges, including a high poverty rate and unemployment.


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MBS Staff
Articles: 3475

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