A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Rainier, Washington

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Census Data for Rainier ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2019 and it gave Rainier a population of 2,285 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, which gave Rainier a population of 1,794 people.

The town of Rainier is located in Thurston County. The 2010 Census gave Thurston County; a population of 252,264 people. This means that Rainier had 0.71% of the county's total population, making it Thurston's 5th most populous community.

At the same time, Washington had a population of 6,724,540 people, meaning that Rainier had 0.03% of the total population of Washington - making it the state's 165th most populous community.

Area ...

The 2010 Census shows that the sampling area for Rainier has a total area of 1.73 square miles [4.5 km²].

Thurston County has a land area of 721 square miles [1,869.9 km²]. At 1.73 square miles [4.5 km²], Rainier has 0.24% of the county's total land area.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a town like Rainier, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this defines the sampling area (usually a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the town.
    • Things like population, area and housing for Rainier reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Rainier might be different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau to resolve any difference between the two.
    • Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually the center of the polygon, known as the centroid). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:
    • Lat:   46° 53' 30"   (or 46.89°)
    • Lon:   -122° 41' 11"   (or -122.69°)
    • More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Rainier had 717 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 1,794 people, this averages 2.5 people per Housing Unit.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • The 2010 Census shows Rainier had a land area of 1.73 square miles [4.5 km²]. This translates to 414.5 Housing Units per square mile [160 housing units/km²].
    • From the Census of 2000: Rainier had 551 Housing Units, a population of 1,492 people and a land area of 1.62 square miles [4.2 km²]. This gives a density of 2.71 people per Housing Unit and 340.8 Housing Units per square mile [131.6 housing units/km²].
    • Note: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2010 Census and the 2000 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Rainier and you need to be careful when comparing values between the censuses. More information about the nature of these the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Thurston County ...

The community of Rainier is located in Thurston County<4>.

The county had a population of 252,264 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 1,794 people, Rainier represented 0.71% of the county's total.

In addition, where the town of Rainier has a population density of 1,036 people per square mile [400.4 people/km²], Thurston County averages 349.4 people per square mile [134.9 people/km²].

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Thurston County.

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Rainier, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Rainier. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • Although we don't have specific information about the shape of the polygon for Rainier or how it changed has over time, there is some information that can give us some hints. For example, since the shape of the sampling area is directly related to the shape of the polygon, any change to area probably indicates a new shape for the polygon.
    • If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Rainier, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Rainier.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:
    • Lat:   46.891669°   (or 46°53'30" N)
    • Lon:   -122.686601°   (or -122°41'11" W)
    • For the 2000 Census, the location given was:
    • Lat:   46.890938°   (or 46°53'27" N)
    • Lon:   -122.689619°   (or -122°41'22" W)
    • The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 797 feet to the east<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.
    • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#2412521) to Rainier. This identifier also marks a GPS point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Rainier. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:
    • Lat:   46.891299°   (or 46°53'28" N)
    • Lon:   -122.686380°   (or -122°41'10" W)
    • The GPS location given for the 2010 Census lies 145.7 feet to the northwest<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Rainier. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Rainier.

Miscellaneous Information for Rainier ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has used one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Thurston County or the town of Rainier:

  • The GNIS Codes ...
    • The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Rainier:
    • GNIS ID for Rainier: 2412521
    • GNIS ID for Thurston County: 1529226
    • GNIS ID for State of Washington: 1779804
  • Misc. Census Codes ...
    • Rainier is located in Census Region #4 (the West Region) and Division #9 (the Pacific Division).
  • The US Postal Service ZIP Code ...
    • While some people have used a ZIP code to identify a community, the purpose of the ZIP code was to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although the ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a town like Rainier, it does identify addresses that are in (or near) Rainier. It's important to remember that the boundaries of a ZIP Code can be changed, re-assigned or overlapped with other ZIP Codes.
    • The ZIP code for Rainier:98576<7>
  • Census ZCTA Codes ...
    • The US Census Bureau created statistical entities that they call ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) and these ZCTAs are frequently confused with the ZIP codes that come from the US Postal Service (USPS).
    • ZCTAs were first created for the 2000 Census and at that time, they were based upon the USPS ZIP codes. While largely covering the same areas, the boundaries of a ZCTA do not necessarily match the boundaries of a postal ZIP code with the same number. For example, while a postal ZIP code can cross a county or state line, a Census ZCTA can not. They should be treated as separate entities with no correlation between them.

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Rainier.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Visit our Community Index for Washington

About Thurston County

About Washington

Off-the-Road Links ...

Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for Rainier. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

The official website for Thurston County:

The official website for State of Washington:

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2019.
<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.
<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).
<4>If you're interested in how the shape of Washington's counties, including Thurston, have changed over time, we recommend the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.
<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 289 degrees and a distance of 797 feet.
<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 22 degrees and a distance of 145.7 feet.
<7>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Rainier or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).






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This page was last modified: 23 Nov 2021