Benton County, Washington

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Benton County, Washington
Prosser Court House.jpg
Benton County Courthouse
Logo of Benton County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting Benton County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the United States highlighting Washington
Washington's location in the U.S.
Founded March 8, 1905
Named for Thomas Hart Benton
Senator from Missouri
Seat Prosser
Largest city Kennewick
 • Total 1,760 sq mi (4,558 km2)
 • Land 1,700 sq mi (4,403 km2)
 • Water 60 sq mi (155 km2), 3.4%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013) 184,486
 • Density 103/sq mi (39.7/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Benton County, Washington

Benton County is a county located in the south-central portion of the State of Washington. As of the 2010 census, its population was 175,177.[1] The county seat is Prosser,[2] and its largest city is Kennewick. The Columbia River demarcates the north, south, and east boundaries of the county.

Benton County was created from what were then larger versions of Klickitat County and Yakima County on 8 March 1905.[3] and was named after Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,760 square miles (4,600 km2), of which 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2) is land and 60 square miles (160 km2) (3.4%) is water.[4]



Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Sites of interest[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 7,937
1920 10,903 37.4%
1930 10,952 0.4%
1940 12,053 10.1%
1950 51,370 326.2%
1960 62,070 20.8%
1970 67,540 8.8%
1980 109,444 62.0%
1990 112,560 2.8%
2000 142,475 26.6%
2010 175,177 23.0%
Est. 2013 184,486 5.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1790-1960[6] 1900-1990[7]
1990-2000[8] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 175,177 people residing in the county. 82.4% were White, 2.7% Asian, 1.3% Black or African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 9.0% of some other race and 3.6% of two or more races. 18.7% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 142,475 people, 52,866 households, and 38,063 families residing in the county. The population density was 84 people per square mile (32/km²). There were 55,963 housing units at an average density of 33 per square mile (13/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 86.25% White, 0.93% Black or African American, 0.82% Native American, 2.20% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 7.01% from other races, and 2.69% from two or more races. 12.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.1% were of German, 11.0% English, 9.1% United States or American and 8.4% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 86.4% spoke English and 10.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 52,866 households out of which 38.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.60% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.00% were non-families. 23.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the county, the population was spread out with 29.70% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 28.50% from 25 to 44, 22.90% from 45 to 64, and 10.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 98.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $47,044, and the median income for a family was $54,146. Males had a median income of $45,556 versus $27,232 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,301. About 7.80% of families and 10.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.30% of those under age 18 and 6.90% of those age 65 or over.


Kiona Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA looking northwest toward Rattlesnake Mountain. Two varieties of grapes are evident on a crisp autumn day.

The area of south-central Washington occupied by Benton County has been known primarily as an agricultural hub since its settlement by white Americans. The rise of viticulture has had a profound impact on the agricultural and tourism industries over the past two decades, and has in many ways reshaped the reputation of the region.

The Yakima Valley AVA, part of which is located in Benton County, was the first American Viticultural Area established within Washington State, gaining the recognition in 1983. As the Washington wine industry began to focus more on terroir, three sub-appellations have been created for areas within the Yakima Valley AVA that demonstrate unique microclimates and soil conditions which crafted different wines from their neighboring areas. The Red Mountain AVA, which lies in its entirety on Benton County, was created in 2001. The county also includes part of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA which is part of the larger Columbia Valley AVA.



  1. 75,971 - Kennewick
  2. 51,440 - Richland
  3. 12,663 - West Richland
  4. 5,799 - Prosser
  5. 3,142 - Benton City

2012 Estimate population[10]

Census-designated places[edit]

Other communities[edit]

Ghost towns[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  9. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions: Washington". Population Census. United States Census Bureau. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 

Further reading[edit]

  • William Denison Lyman, History of the Yakima Valley, Washington: Comprising Yakima, Kittitas, and Benton Counties. In Two Volumes. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1919. Volume 1 | Volume 2

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°15′N 119°30′W / 46.25°N 119.50°W / 46.25; -119.50