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Kitsap County, Washington

Kitsap County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting Kitsap County
Location in the state of Washington
Map of the United States highlighting Washington
Washington's location in the U.S.
Founded January 16, 1857
Named for Chief Kitsap
Seat Port Orchard
Largest city Bremerton
 • Total 566 sq mi (1,466 km2)
 • Land 395 sq mi (1,023 km2)
 • Water 171 sq mi (443 km2), 30%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 254,183
 • Density 644/sq mi (249/km²)
Congressional district 6th
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Website .com.kitsapgovwww

Kitsap County is located in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, its population was 251,133.[1] Its county seat is Port Orchard,[2] and its largest city is Bremerton. The county was formed out of King County, Washington, and Jefferson County, Washington on January 16, 1857 and is named for Chief Kitsap of the Suquamish tribe. Originally named Slaughter County, it was soon renamed.[3]

Kitsap County comprises the Bremerton-Silverdale, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Seattle-Tacoma, WA Combined Statistical Area.

The United States Navy is the largest employer in the county, with installations at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport, and Naval Base Kitsap (which comprises former NSB Bangor, and NS Bremerton).

Kitsap County is connected to the eastern shore of Puget Sound by Washington State Ferries routes, including the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry, Southworth to West Seattle via Vashon Island, Bainbridge Island to Downtown Seattle, and from Kingston to Edmonds, Washington.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Geographic features 2.1
    • Adjacent counties 2.2
  • Demographics 3
  • Politics 4
  • Government 5
    • Board of County Commissioners 5.1
    • State legislators 5.2
      • 23rd Legislative District 5.2.1
      • 26th Legislative District 5.2.2
      • 35th Legislative District 5.2.3
  • Education 6
    • Post-secondary education 6.1
    • Public schools 6.2
  • Communities 7
    • Cities 7.1
    • Census-designated places 7.2
    • Unincorporated communities 7.3
  • Notable people 8
  • In popular culture 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
    • Bibliography 11.1
  • External links 12


When the William Renton supported the candidacies to the Territorial Legislature of two employees from their respective mills: Timothy Duane Hinckley from that of Meigs and S.B. Wilson from Renton's.

Upon arrival in Olympia, the two men introduced bills to create a new county, to be named "Madison". Representative Abernathy from Wahkiakum County proposed an amendment to name it "Slaughter", in recognition of Lt. William Alloway Slaughter, who had been killed in 1855 in the Yakima War. The bill passed as amended. It was signed by Governor Isaac Stevens on January 16, 1857. The county seat would be located in Meigs's mill town at Port Madison.[4]

In Slaughter County's first election on July 13, 1857, voters were given the opportunity to rename the county. The options were "Mill", "Madison" or "Kitsap". Slaughter was not one of the options. Kitsap won by an overwhelming majority.[5]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 566 square miles (1,470 km2), of which 395 square miles (1,020 km2) is land and 171 square miles (440 km2) (30%) is water.[6] It is the fourth-smallest county in Washington by land area and third-smallest by total area.

In addition to occupying most of the Kitsap Peninsula, Kitsap County includes both Bainbridge Island and Blake Island. According to Puget Sound Partnership, Kitsap county has over 250 miles (400 km) of saltwater shoreline.

The portion of the county north of Silverdale is often referred to as North Kitsap, and the portion south of Bremerton as South Kitsap.

Geographic features

Adjacent counties


Kitsap County as seen from Whidbey Island

As of the census[12] of 2010, there were 251,133 people, 86,416 households, and 61,355 families residing in the county. The population density was 586 people per square mile (226/km²). There were 92,644 housing units at an average density of 234 per square mile (90/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.27% White, 2.87% Black or African American, 1.62% Native American, 4.39% Asian, 0.78% Pacific Islander, 1.43% from other races, and 4.64% from two or more races. 4.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.6% were of German, 10.4% English, 9.8% Irish, 7.2% United States or American and 7.0% Norwegian ancestry. 92.2% spoke English, 2.5% Spanish and 2.2% Tagalog as their first language.

There were 86,416 households out of which 36.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.70% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.00% were non-families. 22.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.80% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 29.60% from 25 to 44, 23.80% from 45 to 64, and 10.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 102.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $46,840, and the median income for a family was $53,878. Males had a median income of $39,889 versus $28,586 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,317. About 6.30% of families and 8.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.90% of those under age 18 and 6.00% of those age 65 or over.


Kitsap County had generally been considered to be a relatively Democratic area. In the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 54.21% of the vote to Republican Mitt Romney's 42.58%.[13]

On mainland Kitsap County, politics are dominated by working-class Bremerton, which casts moderate margins for Democratic candidates. However, population shifts have resulted in Bremerton playing less of a role in politics, and unincorporated Kitsap County is a mix of battleground areas and staunchly Republican areas. Non-Bremerton parts of incorporated mainland Kitsap County vary, with Silverdale having become a Republican stronghold, Poulsbo marginally Democratic, and Port Orchard consistently election Republican candidates over democrats.

Democrats normally carry the Indian reservations of the area by wide margins; the area around Little Boston (part of the S'Klallam Indian Reservation) regularly gives Democratic candidates landslides of 10-to-1. The heavily white Port Madison Indian Reservation (across from Bainbridge Island) also gives Democrats victories of upwards of 3-to-1.

Democratic electoral control of Kitsap County is partly due to Bainbridge Island, which casts a significant number of votes and is almost 4-to-1 Democratic. Bainbridge Island's growth and Democratic trend offsets population losses of Bremerton, generally resulting in the county as a whole being stable but very close.

The Kitsap County Auditor Website has detailed election results from 1998 to the present. County area political trends can be tracked by analyzing the election precinct data.


Board of County Commissioners

Robert Gelder (D) - District #1, North Kitsap Gelder was appointed to replace Steve Bauer, who resigned in March 2011.

Charlotte Garrido (D) - District #2, South Kitsap Garrido was re-elected in Nov. 2012, when she defeated Linda Simpson. Commissioner Garrido previously served on the county commission from 1997 to 2000 and again from 2009 to 2012[14]

Ed Wolfe (R) - District #3, Central Kitsap

Wolfe became the first elected Republican county commissioner since Jan Angel was elected South Kitsap Commissioner in 2004. Wolfe replaced Linda Streissguth (D), who had been appointed in January 2014 to replace Josh Brown (D).[15] Prior to his election, he was a well-known local attorney with years of successful litigation and business law experience. Commissioner Wolfe served with the U.S. State Department during the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and Fisheries Affairs with the rank of ambassador.

State legislators

23rd Legislative District

Bainbridge Island, East Bremerton, Poulsbo and Silverdale

  • Sen. Christine Rolfes (D) - Elected Nov 2012.
  • Rep. Sherry Appletion (D) - First elected Nov. 2004
  • Rep. Drew Hansen (D) - Appointed Sept. 2011 to replace Christine Rolfes who had been appointed to the Senate. First elected in Nov. 2012

26th Legislative District

Bremerton, Gig Harbor and Port Orchard

35th Legislative District

Bremerton, Shelton and Mason County


Post-secondary education

Public schools


map of Kitsap County and surrounding area


Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Beach Cottages in Fragaria along Colvos Passage in Kitsap County.

Notable people

In popular culture

Walking Tall with The Rock and Johnny Knoxville was based in Kitsap County, and the City of Port Orchard is the basis for the fictional community of Cedar Cove in the books by Debbie Macomber.

See also


  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. ^ (1981)et al.Bowen , p. 11.
  4. ^ (1981)et al.Bowen , p. 12.
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  12. ^ "General Election Official Final". Kitsap County Auditor. 
  13. ^ Kitsap's ‘New' Electeds Sworn In Amid Familiar Surroundings - Story
  14. ^ Streissguth picked for vacant Kitsap County commissioner post - Story


  • Bowen, Evelyn T.; Kvelstad, Rangvald; Parfitt, Elnora; Perry, Fredi; Stott, Virginia (1977). Kitsap County: A History: A Story of Kitsap County and its Pioneers (Second Edition, 1981 ed.). Seattle: Dinner & Klein. 

External links

  • Kitsap County official website
  • Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau
  • Kitsap Economic Development Alliance
  • Kitsap Historical Society and Museum
  • Kitsap County, Washington at DMOZ

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