Whatcom County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, the population was 201,140. It is bordered by Canada on the north, Okanogan County on the east, Skagit County on the south, and the Strait of Georgia on the west. The county seat and largest city is Bellingham.
The county was created from Island County by the Washington Territorial Legislature on March 9, 1854. It originally included the territory of present-day San Juan and Skagit Counties, which were later organized after additional settlement. Its name derives from the Lummi word Xwotʼqom, meaning "noisy water."
Whatcom County comprises the Bellingham, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,503 square miles (6,480 km²), of which 2,107 square miles (5,460 km²) is land and 397 square miles (1,030 km²) (16%) is covered by water.
The county includes Lake Whatcom, which empties into Bellingham Bay by way of Whatcom Creek. Physiographically, Whatcom County is an extension of the Fraser Valley or "Lower Mainland" area of British Columbia. This is essentially the lowland delta plain of the Fraser River. At some periods in the past, one of the Fraser River's lower arms entered Bellingham Bay near Bellingham via what is now the mouth of the Nooksack River.
A very small part of the county, Point Roberts, about 5 square miles (13 km²), is an extension of the Tsawwassen Peninsula, which is bisected by the Canada–US border along the 49th parallel. The highest point in the county is the peak of the active volcano Mount Baker at 10,778 feet (3,285 m) above sea level. The lowest points are at sea level along the Pacific Ocean.
As of the 2010 United States Census, 201,140 people, 80,370 households, and 48,862 families resided in the county. The population density was 95.5 inhabitants per square mile (36.9/km²). The 90,665 housing units averaged 43.0 per square mile (16.6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 85.4% White, 3.5% Asian, 2.8% American Indian, 1.0% Black or African American, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 3.3% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 7.8% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 20.8% were German, 12.8% were Irish, 12.6% were English, 8.0% were Dutch, 6.9% were Norwegian, and 4.4% were American.
Of the 80,370 households, 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.0% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 39.2% were not families, and 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.43, and the average family size was 2.97. The median age was 36.6 years.
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