If Microsoft’s sprawling, 125-building campus in Redmond seems like a city unto itself, that’s because it almost is.
As the cubicle-dwellers arrive each morning, Redmond’s population bulges to more than twice its size. In fact, newly-released Census data show that Redmond has the greatest spike in daytime population due to commuters, measured by percent increase, among all U.S. places with at least 50,000 residents.
During peak business hours, Redmond’s population jumps by 111 percent to about 110,000; that makes it, from 9 to 5, the seventh largest city in Washington. But come nightfall, Redmond shrinks back down to about 52,000, or the state’s 19th largest city.
Just 26 percent of Redmond’s massive workforce live there. Everybody else is commuting from somewhere else. Is it any wonder the traffic is such a nightmare? But take heart — light rail to Redmond should be up and running in a mere decade.
Among the nation’s 50 largest cities, Seattle ranks ninth for the percent change in its daytime population. The city grows by 27 percent, or about 158,000 people, during the day. Washington, D.C. is No. 1 among big cities with a 79 percent spike in its daytime population. In terms of gross numbers, New York City gains the most — more than 600,000 commuters.
Daytime population estimates are important numbers for city governments for a variety of reasons, including transportation planning and emergency/disaster preparedness.