Windermere Professional Partners

25 Interesting Facts About Pierce County, Washington

August 31, 2023

Pierce County, Washington is a dynamic county in the South Puget Sound area of Western Washington, and we are lucky enough to call this beautiful region home! Here are 25 interesting facts about Pierce County, Washington:

1. As of July 1, 2022, Pierce County’s population was at 927,380. In 2012, the population was at 815,772.

There are 23 cities and towns in Pierce County, and many additional census designated places and unincorporated communities. You can learn about many of Pierce County’s cities and neighborhoods in our neighborhood spotlights here.

Pierce County comprises 1,675 square miles, placing it 23rd in size among Washington's 39 counties. Learn more.

Pierce County was created on December 22, 1952. Learn more.

Pierce County is named after President Franklin Pierce who was the President of the U.S. from 1853-1857.

Pierce County is home to present day Native American tribes including Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin, Steilacoom, and Muckleshoot. Learn more.

Pierce County averages 39.9 inches of rainfall per year. We have a temperate climate here in the Pacific Northwest and are known for our rainfall, but there are plenty of cities that receive more rain each year. For example, Houston averages 55.6 inches per year, Orlando averages 51.5 inches per year, and New York City averages 49.5 inches per year.

Four rivers (the Nisqually, Carbon, White, and Puyallup) flow through Pierce County on their way from the Cascade Mountains to Puget Sound. Learn more.

Pierce County is home to many lakes, and the largest lakes include Lake Tapps, Gravelly Lake, Bonney Lake, Lake Steilacoom, and American Lake. Learn more.

There are many opportunities for waterfront living in Pierce County. In addition to lakefront properties, there are many homes that are on the water in the Puget Sound. For all of the details, check out our blog “Neighborhoods Where You Can Buy Waterfront Property in Pierce County.”

The first permanent European settlement on the Puget Sound was at Fort Nisqually in Pierce County. It was located in DuPont, and now you can visit the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Point Defiance Park, Tacoma. Learn more.

Pierce County is home to an active volcano, Mt. Rainier, which is 14,410 feet tall. Learn more.

13. Mount Rainier National Park was established by Congress in 1899 and includes 235,635 acres of land. Learn more.

Puyallup in Pierce County is home to the Washington State Fair. Each year, approximately 1.3 million people attend the 20-day fair that covers 165 acres. Learn more.

The largest employer in Pierce County is the military. Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Pierce County has over 25,000 soldiers and civilian workers. Learn more.

Pierce County is home to several businesses that are 100+ years old. Some of the oldest businesses include Brown & Haley (makers of Almond Roca) established in 1912; Johnson Candy Company established in 1925; The Valley established in 1926; and more. Read more in our blog “9 of the Oldest Businesses in Pierce County.”

Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place is one of the top public courses in the country, and it was also the first golf course in the Pacific Northwest to hold the Men’s U.S. Open in the 115-year history of the championship.

There are about 1,500 farms in Pierce County! They produce everything from seafood and poultry to rhubarb and daffodils. Learn more.

Pierce County is home to Sumner, which is the Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World. Sumner has more than 275 acres dedicated to the commercial production of rhubarb. Learn more.

There are 17 school districts, 300 schools, and 7 colleges and universities in Pierce County. Learn more.

Pierce County is home to a huge variety of museums. These museums include Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Children's Museum of Tacoma, Dupont Historical Museum, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, Hands On Children's Museum, Lakewood History Museum, LeMay Car Museum, LeMay Collections at Marymount, Meeker Mansion, Museum of Glass, Pioneer Farm Museum, Shanaman Sports Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Washington State History Museum.

Pierce County has its own zoo and aquarium! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home to polar bears, tigers, sharks, penguins, and so much more.

The 725-acre Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is in Pierce County, and is home to 40+ species of native Northwest animals including bison, elk, bears, and wolves.

Several movies have been filmed in Pierce County over the years, including favorites like 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Prefontaine (1997), The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992), I Love You to Death (1990), Three Fugitives (1989), Say Anything (1989). Learn more here.

Washington State Ferries is the most extensive ferry system in the continental U.S., and a few of these ferries are in Pierce County. The Point Defiance–Tahlequah ferry and Steilacoom–Anderson Island ferry are both publicly operated ferries, and there is also a private ferry that runs between the Key Peninsula and Herron Island. Learn more.