FACTS & FIGURES FOR BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON
Washington is the county
seat of Whatcom
County in the U.S. state of Washington.
It is the largest city in Whatcom County and tenth largest in Washington.
It is situated on Bellingham Bay, which is
protected by Lummi Island, Portage Island, and the
and opens onto the Strait of Georgia. It
lies west of Mount Baker and Lake
Whatcom (from which it gets its drinking water) and north of the Chuckanut Mountains
and Skagit Valley. Whatcom
Creek runs through the center of the city.
The boundaries of the city
encompass the former towns of Fairhaven (now home to the southern
ferry terminus of the Alaska Marine Highway System), New
Whatcom, and others. Bellingham is home to Whatcom Community
College, Bellingham Technical College, Evergreen Team
Western, and Western Washington University, which includes, among others Fairhaven College, Huxley
College; and the Woodring College of
The name of Bellingham is
derived from the bay on which the city is situated. George Vancouver, who visited the area
in June 1792, named the bay for Sir
William Bellingham, the controller of the storekeeper's account of the Royal Navy.
In 1858, the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush caused
thousands of miners, storekeepers, and scalawags to head north from California. Whatcom grew overnight
from a small northwest mill town to a bustling seaport, the basetown for the
Whatcom Trail, which led to the
Canyon goldfields, used in open defiance of
colonial Governor James Douglas's
edict that all entry to the gold colony be made via Victoria, British Columbia.
Bellingham was officially
incorporated on November
4, 1903. It was the result of the
consolidation of four towns initially situated around Bellingham Bay: Whatcom,
Sehome, Bellingham, and Fairhaven. A fictionalized account of the history of
Bellingham in this era is "The Living" by Annie
can generally be described as "mild." The average yearly high and low
temperatures are 57 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit (14 and 5 °C), respectively.
Although the rainy season can last as long as eight months or more, it is
usually about six months long, leaving Bellingham with a picturesque late spring
and mild, pleasant summer. Bellingham receives an average annual rainfall of
34.8 inches (884 mm).
In March 2005, Kiplinger's Personal Finance named Bellingham one of the top retirement cities in the
nation. Purchase price of homes has risen, however
rent has remained relatively stable. Many of the condominiums recently built as
a result of the demand for affordable housing have subsequently become rental
Bellingham has seen a
resurgence of real-estate development as house prices climb, caused in part by
new residents moving in to the community. In order to accommodate this growth,
new properties have sprung up all over the city, including the Downtown,
Fairhaven, Happy Valley, Cordata, and Barkley neighborhoods. The city has
reiterated their commitment to developing a wide range of housing options for
all income categories, while retaining the integrity of existing communities.
surrounding farmland and county wilderness has been kept to a minimum due to
public concern for environmental preservation, but several controversies have
risen over the city's decisions to counteract the loss of land by allowing
taller buildings in the city core, major new development on previously
undeveloped land, and a lack of parks and open spaces in some of the more
recently developed areas.
Population (year 2000): 67,171. Estimated population in July 2006: 75,150
Ancestries: German (19.2%),
English (13.0%), Irish (12.3%), Norwegian (7.5%), Scottish (4.6%), United States
Races in Bellingham:
- White Non-Hispanic (85.9%)
- Hispanic (4.6%)
- Two or more races (3.1%)
- American Indian (2.5%)
- Other race (2.2%)
- Black (1.0%)
- Vietnamese (0.9%)
- Chinese (0.7%)
- Asian Indian (0.6%)
- Korean (0.6%)
Income & Housing Costs Numbers:
median household income in 2005: $35,612 (it was $32,530 in 2000)
median house/condo value in 2005: $252,100 (it was $156,100 in 2000)
Land area: 25.6 square miles.
Population density--2905 per
In-Depth Facts and Figures
as listed below, plus other information:
Wind Speed (MPH)
Tornado Activity History
Hospitals & Medical
Locations of Interest
Housing Costs Information
Radio Stations AM/FM
TV Broadcast Stations
For the above information and photos, click this
Total Tax Burden--Data for Calculation
Sales Tax: 6.5% (food and
prescription drugs exempt) Local taxes may increase total tax to 8.9%. Tax
is 6.8% on sales and leases of motor vehicles.
Cigarette Tax: $2.03/pack of 20
No state personal income tax
Income: Not taxed.
Property taxes account for about 30% of
Washington's total state and local taxes. Properties are appraised at 100%
of fair market value. A property tax exemption program is available for
persons age 61 or older, or persons unable to work due to a physical
disability. The property, which can include up to an acre of land, must be
owner/buyer occupied. The state offers a property tax exemption program for those whose household
income does not exceed $35,000. If your income is between $35,000 and
$40,000, you may qualify for the tax deferral program. If your annual
income for the application year does not exceed $35,000 your home will be exempt
from all excess and special levies approved by voters. If your household
income is between $25,001 and $30,000, you are exempt from regular levies on
$50,000 or 35% of the assessed value, whichever is greater (but not more than
70,000 of the assessed value.
tax deferral program works in conjunction with the exemption program. A
senior citizen or disabled person may defer property taxes or special
assessments on their residence if they meet certain age, disability, ownership,
occupancy and income requirements. The state pays the taxes on behalf of
the claimant and files a lien on the property to indicate the state has an
interest in the property. The deferred taxes must be repaid to the state
plus 5% interest when the owner dies, sells or moves from the home, or doesn't
have sufficient equity in the property. Qualified people may participate
in both or one of these programs.
For more details on property taxes, click
here or call 800-647-7706.
Inheritance and Estate
Washington replaced the inheritance tax in 1982 with an estate
tax. A new Washington estate tax took effect May 17, 2005. Estates
of decedents who die on or after May 17th are subject to the estate tax.
This is a stand-alone tax that incorporates some provisions of the Internal
Revenue Code as of January 1, 2005. However, the Washington estate tax is
not affected by the termination of the federal estate tax in 2010. The new
law allows an exemption of $1.5 million for decedents dying in 2005 and $2
million for decedents dying on or after January 1, 2006. These exemptions
match the estate tax exemptions under the federal estate tax law for 2005, 2006,
2007 and 2008. The exemption increases to $3.5 million in 2009. The
estate tax rates start at 10% on values in excess of $1.5 million and increase
gradually to 19% on amounts in excess of $9 million.
information, visit the Washington
Department of Revenue site or call 800-647-7706.
Cost of Living Calculators Links:
Wikipedia Information Link: