Bellingham is the largest city in and the county seat of Whatcom County in the U.S. state of Washington. It is the thirteenth-largest city in the state, with 86,720 residents as of April 1, 2017, per the Washington State Office of Financial Management, and is part of the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the state. The boundaries of the city encompass the former towns of Fairhaven, Whatcom, Sehome, and Bellingham.
Bellingham is the northernmost city with a population of almost 100,000 residents in the contiguous United States. The city is known for its easy access to outdoor recreation in the San Juan Islands and North Cascades as well as proximity to the cities of Vancouver and Seattle.
A waterfront redevelopment is underway on more than 100 acres of former industrial land. with a hotel, conference center, condos, retirement living, retail and commercial development on the site.
The city is located at 48°45′N 122°29′W (48.75, −122.48). The city is situated on Bellingham Bay which is protected by Lummi Island, Portage Island, and the Lummi Peninsula, 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 the Skagit Valley. Whatcom Creek runs through the center of the city. Bellingham is 18 miles (29 km) south of the US-Canada border and 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Vancouver.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.90 square miles (74.85 km²), of which, 27.08 square miles (70.14 km²) is land and 1.82 square miles (4.71 km²) is water. The lowest elevations are at sea level along the waterfront. Alabama Hill is one of the higher points in the city at about 500 feet (150 m). Elevations of 800 feet (240 m) are found near Yew Street Hill north of Lake Padden and near Galbraith Mountain. South and eastward of the city limits are taller foothills of the North Cascades mountains. Mount Baker is the largest peak in the local area, with a summit elevation of 10,778 feet (3,285 m) that is only 31 miles (50 km) from Bellingham Bay. Mount Baker is visible from many parts of the city and western Whatcom County. Lake Whatcom forms part of the eastern boundary of the city, while many smaller lakes and wetland areas are found around the region.
As of the census of 2010, there were 80,885 people, 34,671 households, and 16,129 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,986.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,153.2/km²). There were 36,760 housing units at an average density of 1,357.5 per square mile (524.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.9% White, 1.3% African American, 1.3% Native American, 5.1% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 2.8% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.0% of the population.
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