San Juan County, Washington
|San Juan County, Washington|
Location in the state of Washington
Washington's location in the U.S.
|Founded||October 31, 1873|
|Largest city||Friday Harbor|
|• Total||621 sq mi (1,608 km2)|
|• Land||175 sq mi (453 km2)|
|• Water||446 sq mi (1,155 km2), 71.84%|
|• Density||90/sq mi (34.8/km²)|
|Time zone||Pacific: UTC-8/-7|
San Juan County is a county located in the Salish Sea in the far northwestern corner of the State of Washington. It comprises most of the San Juan Islands. The county is named after San Juan Island, which was named in 1791 by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza for his patron, the Viceroy of New Spain, Juan Vicente de Güemes, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo.1 The area that now constitutes San Juan County was part of Whatcom County until October 31, 1873.2 The county seat and the county's only incorporated city is Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island. As of the 2010 census, its population was 15,769.3 It is the smallest of Washington's 39 counties in land area. It is the only county in Washington not to have state highways.
San Juan County is a cluster of more than 400 islands and rocks with elevations above mean high tide. 128 of these islands and rocks are named. The county has rugged, rocky shoreline and several mountains. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 621 square miles (1,610 km2). Of this, 175 square miles (453 km2) is land and 446 square miles (1,160 km2) is water. Among Washington counties, it is the smallest by land area and has the highest ratio of water-to-land area; the adjacent Island County is the only other county in the state to have greater water area than land area. The highest point in the county is Mount Constitution on Orcas Island at 2,407 feet (734 m) above sea level.
There are approximately 743 islands and rocks in the San Juan Island chain. Most of the county's population lives on the largest four islands, which are the only county islands served by the Washington State Ferries. The four largest islands are:
- Orcas Island (149.43 km²/57.7 sq mi)
- San Juan Island (143.62 km²/55.5 sq mi)
- Lopez Island (76.57 km²/29.6 sq mi)
- Shaw Island (19.64 km²/7.6 sq mi)
- Whatcom County, Washington - northeast
- Skagit County, Washington - east
- Island County, Washington - southeast
- Jefferson County, Washington - south
- Clallam County, Washington - south/southwest
|Capital Regional District, British Columbia, Canada||Skagit County|
|Clallam County||Jefferson County||Island County|
As of the census of 2000 reported 14,077 people living in the county in 6,466 households and 4,015 families, resulting in a population density of 80 people per square mile (31/km²). The census reported 9,752 housing units at an average density of 56 per square mile (22/km²). The residents of the county reported their race as 94.99% White, 0.26% Black or African American, 0.83% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.91% from other races, and 2.04% from two or more races. 2.40% of the population identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino of any race. In response to the census question concerning ancestry, 16.7% reported English ancestry; 15.0%, German; 11.6%, Irish; 5.7%, United States or American; 5.4%, French; and 5.0%, Norwegian.
Of the 6,466 households, 22.90% had children under the age of 18; 51.80% were married couples living together; 6.90% had a female householder with no husband present; 37.90% were not families; 30.60% were individuals; and 10.70% were individuals 65 years of age or older, living alone. The average household size was 2.16 persons and the average family size was 2.65.
19.10% of the county's population was under the age of 18; 4.50% ranged in age from 18-24; 21.70%, 25-44; 35.70%, 45-64; and 19.00%, 65 or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $43,491, and the median income for a family was $51,835. Males had a median income of $36,250 versus $26,516 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,603. About 6.00% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.40% of those under age 18 and 3.10% of those age 65 or over.
San Juan county has the highest per capita income in the state of Washington. Deer Harbor, located in the county, has a per capita income exceeding $100,000. Waldron Island, with a population of 104 in the 2000 census, is considered one of the most impoverished areas in Washington, with about 56% of the people living in poverty.
In a survey by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, San Juan County was ranked the healthiest in the state of Washington.6
This county is usually even more liberal than the famously liberal King County, but does not have the reputation King County does because its population is so much smaller, and therefore its effect on elections much weaker. The only area of the county won by George W. Bush in 2004 was the Decatur Island/Blakely Island precinct, with just over 50 votes. Waldron Island's precinct voted 96.5% of the vote to John Kerry. In 2006, Maria Cantwell, the Democrat running for re-election to the U.S. Senate, won all precincts.7
- The San Juan Islands were the subject of a territorial dispute between Great Britain and the United States from 1846–1872, leading to the Pig War in 1859.
- Hayes, Derek (1999). Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest: Maps of Exploration and Discovery ; British Columbia, Washington, Oregaon, Alaska, Yukon. Sasquatch Books. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-1-57061-215-2. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- United States Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved September 26, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved September 26, 2013.
- The News Tribune, February 17, 2010 - Tacoma, WA.,
- Leip, David (2005). "2006 Senatorial General Election Results - San Juan County, WA".
- San Juan County official website
- The Island Guardian, online news
- San Juan Island Update, online news
- San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, local website with tourist information
- High quality interactive map of the San Juan Islands
- Live images of the San Juan Islands
- San Juan Family website