|Nickname(s): Wine Country, Atomic Town|
|Elevation||550 ft (170 m)|
|Population (2010 results)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|ZIP code||99301, 99302, 99323, 99336, 99337, 99338, 99352, 99353, 99354|
|Area code(s)||Area code 509|
The Tri-Cities is a mid-sized metropolitan area in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Washington, consisting of three neighboring cities: Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland. The cities are located at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia rivers in the semi-arid region of Southeastern Washington. A fourth neighboring city, West Richland, is generally included as part of the Tri-City area and region. Each city either borders another or one of the area's rivers, making the Tri-Cities seem as one uninterrupted mid-sized community.
The population of the "city" was 193,567 whereas the population of the metropolitan area was 253,340 at the 2010 Census. As of April 1, 2012, the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Forecasting Division estimates the "city" having a population of 219,322 and the metropolitan area having a population of 266,523, thus making it the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Washington State, after Seattle-Tacoma, Spokane, and Portland metropolitan area.
In 2010, Kiplinger rated the Tri-Cities among the Top 10 best places to raise a family, and CNN/Money ranked the Tri-Cities one of the top 10 best bets for gains in housing value, due to its relatively stable economic conditions since the early 2000s.
Area history 
Pasco was the first of the Tri-Cities to be incorporated, in 1891. Kennewick was incorporated in 1904, and Richland followed in 1910. West Richland was founded by dissatisfied residents of Richland, who wished to be home owners rather than renters of government-owned houses, after the arrival of Hanford. Despite attempts by Richland to annex the community, they remained separate and eventually became incorporated in 1955.
Early history 
Pasco was the largest city in the Tri-Cities, mostly due to its railroad station. It also had the most land for easy irrigation and farming and was still the largest up until the founding of Hanford near Richland.
Farming was the basis of virtually every sector of the economy in the early years. Even today, agriculture is a big part of the Tri-Cities, Pasco in particular.
1940s – 1970s 
After the founding of the Hanford Site in 1943, Richland became the largest city of the three overnight. Richland's Columbia High School adopted "Bombers" as its mascot (complete with mushroom cloud logo). In 1970, Kamiakin High School (in the neighboring city of Kennewick) was founded in response to the continued influx of people. The economy continued to grow, but not without some turbulence. Every time the federal government cut funding at Hanford, thousands of talented, credentialed people would suddenly become jobless and quickly leave for other jobs. During this time, other employers slowly made their way into the area, but they too would often be forced to cut jobs in the bad times. During the 1970s, Kennewick overtook Richland as the largest city (population-wise) of the three and has not surrendered the title since. The Columbia Center Mall was built on land newly incorporated into Kennewick, drawing growth to western Kennewick and south Richland.
1980s – 1990s 
Completion of the Interstate 182 Bridge in 1984 made Pasco much more accessible, fueling the growth of that city. With the end of the Cold War, many in the area feared a shutdown of Hanford, followed by the Tri-Cities quickly becoming a ghost town. These fears were allayed after the United States Department of Energy switched the facility's purpose from the creation of nuclear weapons to the effective sealing and disposal of radioactive waste. During the 1990s, several major corporations entered the Tri-Cities, which helped to begin diversifying the economy apart from the Hanford sector. In 1995, a sixth public high school, Southridge High, was founded in south Kennewick.
2000s – present 
The 2000s saw continued rapid growth as the Hanford site hired hundreds of workers to help with the cleanup effort. Additionally, the Tri-Cities saw a large influx of retirees from various areas of the Northwest. During this time, and the corresponding nationwide housing boom, all three cities flourished and grew significantly. Pasco became the fastest growing city in Washington State (in terms of both percent increase and number of new residents). In 2005, the Census Bureau reported that Pasco's population had surpassed Richland's for the first time since pre-Hanford days.
Despite the economic recession of the late 2000s, the Tri-Cities area continued to maintain steady growth and a stable economic climate due in large part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which directed funding and jobs to the Hanford site and its various cleanup efforts.
Climate and geography 
The Tri-Cities are in a semi-arid climate, receiving an average of 5 to 7 inches (130 to 180 mm) of precipitation every year. Winds periodically exceed 30 mph (48 km/h) when Chinook wind conditions exist. While there are an average 225 clear days every year, these are mainly between April 1 and November 1. Temperatures range from as low as −10 °F (−23 °C) in the winter to as high as 110 °F (43 °C) in the summer, and even reached 123 °F (51 °C) in July 2006. The region receives a yearly average of seven inches of snow but has received as much as 50 inches. Due to the semi-arid climate and subsequent large amounts of sand, a perpetual annoyance to residents is the amount of dust blown about by the frequent winds. Thanks to the aforementioned rivers, a large amount of cheap irrigation is available.
Washington is the most northwest of the lower 48 states—consequently, the area is in the Pacific Standard Time Zone. The Tri-Cities makes up the largest metropolitan area in the southeastern quadrant of Washington. The large Cascade Mountain Range to the west contributes to the semi-arid climate, which is far drier than the famously wet western side of the state. See rain shadow for more information on this phenomenon. The region's climate results in a shrub-steppe ecosystem which has 18 endemic plant species. Just west of Richland, the Fitzner/Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve was established to study the unique plants and animals found in the local shrub steppe ecosystem. It is the largest tract of shrub-steppe ecosystem remaining in the U.S. state of Washington.
Colleges and universities 
Current higher education opportunities in the Tri-Cities include:
- Washington State University Tri-Cities, a four-year branch campus of Washington State University located in Richland (2000 students).
- Columbia Basin College, a mid-sized two-year institution now offering a four-year Bachelor of Applied Science program in Applied Management (8,000 students). The main campus is located in Pasco while a branch campus and a large nursing school are located in Richland.
- Tri-Tech Skills Center, a smaller vocational school run by the Kennewick School District and located in Kennewick. FM radio station, 88.1 The Edge, is located at the Tri-Tech Skills Center.
- Charter College, located in Pasco offering technical and medical programs such as Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting and HVAC.
In 2005, the State of Washington approved the transition of the existing Washington State University branch campus in Richland from a two-year to a four-year campus. In the fall of 2007 the campus admitted its first undergraduate students. Offering a wide range of programs, the campus focuses heavily on biotechnology, computer science, and engineering, due to the nearby Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Hanford site. The university is beginning to acquire a significant number of quality teachers and offers a fairly broad range of majors, including English, history, and other liberal arts and sciences.
Columbia Basin College also offers higher education opportunities for residents of the Tri-Cities, as well as the Columbia Basin from Mattawa, Washington (50 miles away) to Umatilla, Oregon (30 miles away).
Primary and secondary schools 
Public High Schools:
- Kennewick High School
- Kamiakin High School
- Southridge High School
- River View High School
- Tri-Tech Skills Center
The area also boasts two regional high schools, Tri-Tech and Delta High. Tri-Tech is a technical/vocational high school in the Kennewick School District that is attended by students from all over the Tri-Cities area. Just a few of the technical programs included in the curriculum are television/video production, automotive, and dental. Delta High is a science and technology focused high school located in Richland. It is sponsored by Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland's school districts, Battelle, Washington State University Tri-Cities, and Columbia Basin College.
There are also several private and faith-based schools in the area.
- Tri-Cities Prep Highschool (Pasco, Washington)
- Kingspoint Christian K-12 (Pasco, Washington)
- Liberty Christian K-12 (Richland, Washington)
- Bethlehem Lutheran K-12 (Kennewick, Washington)
The Tri-Cities economy has historically been based on farming and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. From Pasco's incorporation in 1891 on, the Tri-Cities have had a large degree of farming thanks to irrigation by the three nearby rivers. Wheat is the most commonly grown product; however, large amounts of apples, corn, grapes are also grown, along with potatoes, and other products including asparagus. Cherries are also grown in the region.
Since the 1940s, the Hanford site has employed a majority of residents. The United States government built a top-secret facility to produce and separate plutonium for nuclear weapons, and decided on an area just north of then-tiny Richland. The government built temporary quarters for the more than 45,000 workers and built permanent homes and infrastructure for other personnel in Richland. The city had an overnight population explosion, yet virtually no one knew what the purpose of Hanford was until the destruction of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 by an atomic weapon containing Hanford-produced plutonium. After World War II Hanford continued work on creating material for nuclear weapons during the Cold War. After the fall of the USSR in 1991, Hanford, the site of severe nuclear contamination, changed its mission from plutonium production to environmental cleanup and restoration.
In sharp contrast to Seattle, the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, and the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula, the Columbia Valley enjoys long, warm, summer days, and crisp cool nights. The mild weather combined with rich volcanic soils and controlled irrigation produce near-perfect conditions for premium wine grapes.
The wide range of varietals grown throughout the region includes the noble Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, and Pinot Noir, among others. Unlike large established vineyards in other parts of the United States and Europe, the growers and winemakers of Washington will often devote personal attention to visitors, offering tastings and discussing their craft.
With more than 160 wineries within an hour’s drive, the Tri-Cities of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland is truly at the heart of the Columbia Valley which includes the Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, and Wahluke Slope appellations (areas with a distinctive growing climate that influences wine production). It is easy to conceive that Columbia Valley wineries would produce high-end, premium wines since the Tri-Cities area lies on the same latitude as the world-famous Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France. The region’s wonderful weather combines with the Columbia Valley’s volcanic soil, producing hot summer days and crisp, cool evening breezes which naturally stress the vines, creating conditions for making great wine.
Other major corporations that have facilities in (or are based in) the Tri-Cities include:
- Battelle Memorial Institute (operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science)
- ConAgra Foods (Lamb Weston)
- Fluor Corp.
- Lampson Cranes
- Lockheed Martin
- Reser's Fine Foods
- Twin City Foods
- Tyson Foods
- URS Corp.
- US Cellular
The Tri-Cities is also the setting of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.
Health systems 
- Kadlec Regional Medical Center (Richland)
- Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital|Lourdes Medical Center (Downtown Pasco, Richland, West Pasco)
- Kennewick General Hospital (Downtown Kennewick and West Kennewick)
Mid-Columbia Libraries, an intercounty library system serving Benton, Franklin, and Adams Counties, is based in Kennewick, Washington, and operates four public branch libraries in the Tri-Cities, and seven branch libraries in the surrounding area. A fifth Tri-Cities branch library is planned to open in West Pasco in 2013. Customers of Mid-Columbia Libraries have access to nearly 400,000 books, movies, magazines, and downloadable eBooks and audiobooks; the library system spends nearly $1 million annually on new materials and has the highest expenditure per capita for materials of any public library in Southeastern Washington. Richland Public Library is a single library operated by the City of Richland and is not part of the much larger library system.
Public libraries in the Tri-Cities include:
- Mid-Columbia Libraries: Keewaydin Park Branch (Kennewick, Washington)
- Mid-Columbia Libraries: Kennewick Branch (Kennewick, Washington) - Main Library
- Mid-Columbia Libraries: Pasco Branch (Pasco, Washington)
- Mid-Columbia Libraries: West Pasco Branch (Pasco, Washington) - Opening 2013
- Mid-Columbia Libraries: West Richland Branch (West Richland, WA)
- Richland Public Library (Richland, Washington)
Other libraries in the Tri-Cities include:
- Benton-Franklin County Law Library (Pasco, Washington)
- Columbia Basin College Library (Pasco)
- Columbia Basin Regional Medical Library (Richland, Washington)
- Hanford Technical Library (Richland, Washington)
- Neurological Resource Center Library (Richland, Washington)
- Washington State University Tri-Cities Library (Richland, Washington)
- Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco. (IATA: PSC, ICAO: KPSC)
- Richland Airport (General Aviation) in Richland. (IATA: RLD, ICAO: KRLD)
- Vista Field (General Aviation) in Kennewick. (IATA: S98)
Interstates and major highways 
- Interstate 82 runs along the southern edge of Kennewick connecting the Tri-Cities with major cities like Seattle via Interstate 90 (I-90), Portland, Oregon via Interstate 84 (I-84), and Salt Lake City, Utah also via I-84.
- Interstate 182 follows the Yakima River through Richland, crosses the Columbia River on the Interstate 182 Bridge, and continues through Pasco to its terminus with U.S. Route 395
- US 395 runs north through Kennewick, crosses the Columbia River on the Blue Bridge and continues through Pasco and then north to Interstate 90 in Ritzville, Washington.
- SR 397 runs from Finley up to Pasco, crossing the Columbia River through the Cable Bridge continuing northbound to I-90 and Spokane.
- US 12 is cosigned with Interstate 182 through the Tri-Cities and continues past U.S. Route 395 across the Snake River towards Burbank, Walla Walla, and Lewiston, Idaho.
- State Route 240 runs through Kennewick and Richland, around the Hanford Nuclear Reservation then north to Interstate 90 at Vantage, Washington. It has a major junction with Washington State Route 24, which leads west to Yakima, Washington.
Local transit 
Passenger rail 
- Benton County P.U.D.
- Franklin County P.U.D.
- City of Richland
- City of Pasco
- City of Kennewick
- City of West Richland
- Cascade Natural Gas
- Waste Management
- Charter Communications
- Frontier Communications
Due to the dry climate, hot summers, and mild winters, the Tri-Cities offers a variety of outdoor actitivies.
The area is home to 9 golf courses which can be played nearly year-round.
- Canyon Lakes Golf Course - Kennewick
- Columbia Park Golf Course - Kennewick
- Tri-City Country Club - Kennewick
- Sun Willows Golf Course - Pasco
- Pasco Golfland - Pasco
- Columbia Point Golf Course - Richland
- Horn Rapids Golf Club - Richland
- West Richland Golf Course - West Richland
- Meadow Springs Country Club - Richland
Trail System 
The Tri-Cities is linked by a system of 67 miles of paved pedestrian and bike trails that run through the various cities and along the rivers. The 23-mile Sacagawea Heritage Trail forms a loop that crosses two bridges and runs along the Columbia River through both Kennewick and Pasco. Sacagawea Heritage Trail also connects with the Richland Riverfront Trail, a marked hiking trail that focuses on the state of Washington's contribution to the nuclear history of the United States.
The confluence of the Snake, Yakima, and Columbia rivers provides ample opportunity for boating, fishing, and swimming. Free boat launches can be found throughout all of the cities.
The Tri-Cities is home to seven river-front parks and various other parks and playgrounds. Three skate parks are located in the area; two in Kennewick and one in Richland.
Professional sports 
The Tri-Cities is home to two professional sports franchises and one major junior hockey club:
- Tri-City Americans (Western Hockey League)
- Tri-Cities Fever (Indoor Football League)
- Tri-City Dust Devils (Colorado Rockies Short-Season A - Northwestern League)
Major annual events in the Tri-Cities are varied and occur throughout the year:
- Cool Desert Nights - classic car show held in Richland in June. Attracts visitors from throughout the northwest.
- Tri-Cities Waterfollies - annual unlimited hydroplane racing and air shows including the Columbia Cup, held on the Columbia River in July.
- Allied Arts Show - annual art show held Richland's Howard Amon Park, in July.
- Benton/Franklin Fair - annual, regional fair held at Kennewick fairgrounds in late August.
- Hogs and Dogs- annual car & motorcycle event in West Richland
Richland also holds an annual renaissance fair the last weekend of June along the Columbia River at Howard Amon Park. Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire features historically accurate costumes and Elizabethan English, as well as many vendors. Every November, Food Network Stars, World Class Wines, and local restaurants come together for Savor the Flavor, a 2-Day Bite and Sip event at TRAC in Pasco. The event is produced by TASTE Tri-Cities magazine as a benefit for Modern Living Services.
Culture and demographics 
The Tri-Cities gets most of its culture from its Cold War past, as well as agriculture and Native American culture. The Hanford Nuclear Site is home to many area landmarks and history, including the world's first full scale nuclear reactor.
Additionally, the people of the area are proud of the fact that the area hasn't changed much over time and that it is hard to find a $50 dinner and that Rolex watches are no longer sold in the TriCities.
As of April 1, 2012, the population of Kennewick was estimated at 75,160 according to the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Forecasting Division.
As of the 2010 census, there were 73,917 people, and by census estimates of 2000, 20,786 households, and 14,176 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,384.9 people per square mile (920.9/km²). There were 22,043 housing units at an average density of 961.2 per square mile (371.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.93% White, 1.14% Black or African American, 0.93% Native American, 2.12% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 9.4% from other races, and 3.37% from two or more races. 15.55% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 20,786 households out of which 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.6 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.6% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,213, and the median income for a family was $50,011. Males had a median income of $41,589 versus $26,022 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,152. About 9.7% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.8% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.
As of April 1, 2012, the population of Pasco was estimated at 62,670, according to the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Forecasting Division.
As of the census of 2010, there were 59,781 people, and according to the 2000 census results, 9,619 households, and 7,262 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,141.9 people per square mile (440.9/km²). There were 10,341 housing units at an average density of 368.2 per square mile (142.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.76% White, 3.22% African American, 0.77% Native American, 1.77% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 37.44% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 56.26% of the population.
There were 9,619 households out of which 45.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.30 and the average family size was 3.79.
In the city the population was spread out with 35.5% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 15.5% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,540, and the median income for a family was $37,342. Males had a median income of $29,016 versus $22,186 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,404. About 19.5% of families and 23.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.4% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.
As of April 1, 2012, the population of Richland was estimated at 49,890, according to the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Forecasting Division.
As of the census of 2010, there were 48,058 people, and according to the 2000 census, 15,549 households, and 10,682 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,111.8 people per square mile (429.2/km²). There were 16,458 housing units at an average density of 472.7 per square mile (182.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.55% White, 1.37% African American, 0.76% Native American, 4.06% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.85% from other races, and 2.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 4.72% of the population.
There were 15,549 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.2% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 96 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $53,092, and the median income for a family was $61,482. Males had a median income of $52,648 versus $30,472 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,494. About 5.7% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.8% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.
Based on per capita income, one of the more reliable measures of affluence, Richland ranks 83rd of 522 areas ranked in the state of Washington—the highest rank achieved in Benton County.
||This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (May 2008)|
Print media 
- Official Tri-Cities Visitor Guide
- Our Community Greetings reaching the community
- Tri-City Herald
- The Mid-Columbian
- La Voz
- Tri-City Citizen
- tú Decides Media
- tú Decides
- Taste Tri-Cities
- Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business
The Tri-Cities is part of the Yakima television market.
- 15.1 - Univision
- KEPR (semi-satellite of KIMA-TV, Yakima)
- KNDU (semi-satellite of KNDO, Yakima)
- KTNW (satellite of KWSU-TV, Pullman)
- KVEW (semi-satellite of KAPP, Yakima)
Radio AM 
- 610 - KONA - Newstalk
- 870 - KFLD - Newstalk
- 960 - KALE - Fox Sports Radio
- 1340 - KTCR - Newstalk
Radio FM 
- 106.5 - KEGX - Eagle - Classic Rock
- 105.3 - KONA-FM - Mix - Adult Hits
- 104.3 - KMBI (Spokane) - Moody Broadcasting
- 102.7 - KORD - Country
- 101.9 - KUJJ - Smooth Jazz
- 99.1 - KUJ-FM - Power 99 - Top 40
- 98.3 - KEYW - The Key - Adult Contemporary
- 97.9 - KZTB - La Que Buena - Mexican
- 97.5 - KOLW - Kool - Superhits of the 60's and 70's
- 97.1 - KXRX - 97 Rock - Mainstream Rock
- 96.3 - KRCW - La Campesina - Mexican
- 95.7 - KKSR - Star FM
- 94.9 - KIOK - The Wolf - Country
- 94.3 - Slavic Christian Mount Vernon Radio
- 93.7 - KGSG - 93.7 - The Rockin' River!
- 93.3 - KRKL - KLove - Contemporary Christian Radio
- 92.5 - KZHR - Mi Favorita - Mexican
- 91.7 - KBLD - CSN Religious
- 91.3 - KGTS - "Positive Life Radio" - Contemporary Christian
- 90.1 - KOLU - Christian Family Radio
- 89.1 - KFAE - Northwest Public Radio - NPR - Classical Music
- 89.7 - KWWS - Northwest Public Radio - NPR - News and Talk
- 88.7 - KEFX - "The Effect" - Christian Rock
- 88.1 - KTCV - The Edge (Student Run Radio)
Consolidation issues 
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Consolidation vs. staying "The Tri-Cities" 
Over the years, the cities have had difficulty establishing and projecting an identity that would attract and sustain business, tourism, and growth beyond the Hanford-related business sector. Much of this stems from the fact that the individual cities each have populations less than 75,000, and do not have much of a presence on their own. Additionally, the cities must compete independently to draw business, tourism, and establish an identity. In an effort to address this concern, there have been repeated efforts to consolidate all four cities into one united incorporated area. The idea driving this movement is that one larger city would create the presence needed to draw increased attention and focus to the region. As noted above, if the Tri-Cities were to consolidate into one city, it would become the fourth largest in the state, behind Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. To date, motions to consolidate have repeatedly failed.
Residents of West Richland and newcomers to the area often suggest that the area rename itself, since there are obviously four cities in the Tri-Cities. This suggestion is usually shunned by residents of the other cities, for the simple reason that "Quad-Cities" doesn't sound as good (as well as the fact that West Richland has a much smaller presence compared to the three major cities) as well as the fact that there is already a Quad Cities on the Mississippi River with Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, Rock Island and Moline in Illinois. The name "Three Rivers" has recently come to be used more for the area (from the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers), yet is rarely mentioned beyond professional settings.
West Richland is particularly struggling with a regional identity: it had recently considered renaming itself "Red Mountain" in an attempt to distinguish itself from Richland, as well as considering consolidating with the city of Richland. Additionally, the western half of the city of Pasco (locally referred to as West Pasco) has considered secession, in order to distinguish itself from the older, poorer part of town to the East. These considerations provide further complications with respect to consolidation and the "Tri-Cities" name.
Small town vs. big city 
One of the current debates in the Tri-City area is whether to try to maintain a small-town-feel or to embrace its growth and become a larger metropolitan area. One of the biggest parts of this debate is to allow the surrounding Horse Heaven Hills to be subdivided into residential areas or to leave them alone. Although many of the mid to older generations would like to maintain the hills' natural beauty, housing is already starting to cover the hills.
Cities in the metro area 
The Tri-Cities Metro Area has a population of over 262,500 people.
10,000+ people 
- Kennewick, Washington (75,160)
- Pasco, Washington (62,670)
- Richland, Washington (49,890)
- West Richland, Washington (12,570)
1,000 - 9,999 people 
- Finley, Washington (5,770)
- Prosser, Washington (5,110)
- West Pasco, Washington (4,629)
- Connell, Washington (3,430)
- Highland, Washington (3,388)
- Burbank, Washington (3,303)
- Benton City, Washington (2,955)
Fewer than 999 people 
Notable residents 
Arts and literature 
- Patricia Briggs, urban fantasy author
- Orson Scott Card, Science fiction writer
- Chuck Palahniuk, novelist - Fight Club
- Joseph Santos, artist and painter
- Kevin Sampsell, writer, publisher Future Tense Books
- Ron Silliman, poet (born in Pasco, resident of Kennewick 1946-47)
Business and science and other 
- James (Jim) F. Albaugh - Executive Vice President, The Boeing Company
- James N. Mattis - General, United States Marine Corps
- John Archibald Wheeler - theoretical physicist, collaborator with Albert Einstein
- Westley Allan Dodd - Serial killer and child molester, hanged January 5, 1993
Entertainers and musicians 
- James Otto, Country Singer and Songwriter
- James Wong Howe, Academy Award winning cinematographer
- Keith A. Moore, rapper
- Kevin T. O'Connor, musician, Talkdemonic
- Kristine W, (Weitz) singer and songwriter, former Miss Washington
- Larry Coryell - Jazz guitarist, RHS class of 1961
- Nate Mendel - Foo Fighters bassist
- Rick Emerson - Radio & TV Personality - Currently on 101 KUFO in Portland Oregon
- Santino Fontana, stage actor, director, and composer
- Sharon Tate - Actress, victim of the Manson Family murders
- Shauna O'Brien, actress and model
- Adam Carriker — Washington Redskins
- Brian Urlacher — Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker
- Bruce Kison — Pittsburgh Pirates World Series pitcher
- Damon Lusk — NASCAR driver
- Gene Conley — Major League Basketball and Baseball player, RHS
- Hope Solo — United States women's national soccer team goalkeeper
- Jason Repko — Minnesota Twins outfielder
- Jeremy Bonderman — Seattle Mariners All-Star pitcher
- Kimo von Oelhoffen — former Defensive Tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Michael Jackson — Seattle Seahawks linebacker
- Ray Mansfield — National Football League player, center, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Ray Washburn — former Major League Baseball pitcher
- Travis Buck — Oakland Athletics outfielder
- Tyler Brayton — Carolina Panthers
See also 
- Kennewick, Washington
- Pasco, Washington
- Richland, Washington
- West Richland, Washington
- Burbank, Washington
- Finley, Washington
- Benton County, Washington
- Franklin County, Washington
- List of cities in Washington
- Connelly, Joel (2005-10-17). "We have to live with our transit decisions". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Hearst Newspapers). Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- "Columbia Plateau Ecoregion: Biodiversity". Washington Biodiversity Project. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "Climatic and Geographic Design Criteria". Benton County [Washington]. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
- "Shrub Steppe Ecology". Washington State University Tri-Cities. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "Fitzner/Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve Fact Sheet" (pdf). U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Hanford Reach National Monument. August 2002. Archived from the original on 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "Tri Cities Student Resource Center". University of Phoenix, Inc. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
- "Richland Operations Office Cleanup Progress". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "Publications". Washington State Library. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
- "Richland Riverfront Trail". Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
- Peterson, Brenda Taylor. "All's Faire at Greenwood". Tri-City Herald. p. E1. July 7, 1989. Archive copy from Google News Archive Search retrieved March 29, 2010.
- Trumbo, John (January 28, 2009). "Should the Tri-Cities consolidate?". Tri-City Herald (McClatchy). Retrieved December 25, 2012.
- Kennewick website
- Richland website
- Pasco website
- Kennewick School District website
- Richland School District website
- Pasco School District website
- Pasco Chamber of Commerce site
- Tri-Cities Visitors and Convention Bureau website
- Tri-Cities Airport website
- WSU Tri-Cities website
- Hanford website
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) website
- Tri-City Development Council