Census-to-Census Observations ...
When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Washington, 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 Washington. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change.
If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.
The sampling area (or polygon) given for the 2010 Census is 9.21% larger than the 2000 Census.
The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Washington was 137 square miles [354.9 km²]. Of this total, 25.49 square miles [66 km²] is land, with the balance (81.4%) being water (111.6 square miles [288.9 km²]).
The 2000 Census shows a total area of 125.5 square miles [325 km²]. Of this total, 25.49 square miles [66 km²] is land, with the balance (73%) being water (100 square miles [259 km²]).
While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Washington, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Washington.
For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:
Lat: 45.385775° (or 45°23'8" N) [Map]
Lon: -86.915305° (or -86°54'55" W)
For the 2000 Census, the location given was:
Lat: 45.365984° (or 45°21'57" N) [Map]
Lon: -86.899468° (or -86°53'58" W)
The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 8,277 feet to the northwest<4> 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 (#1584352) to Washington. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Washington. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:
Lat: 45.385815° (or 45°23'8" N) [Map]
Lon: -86.925953° (or -86°55'33" W)
The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 2,726 feet to the east<5> of the point given by the GNIS for Washington. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Washington.