Moving to Pierce County means you’re most likely making a lot of decisions, and one of those decisions is where to live. You want to choose the best community for your lifestyle. However, Pierce County has 21 cities and towns to choose from, so the decision is not an easy one to make! We’ve compiled a list of Pierce County’s top cities, towns, and villages, and gathered everything you need to know about them to help you narrow your choice down.
Of course, every county has other types of communities, like census-designated places, also known as CDPs. We won’t be covering CDPs in this guide, however, because they are not incorporated, independent municipalities. CDPs differ from entities like cities or towns in that they are not independently governed. They are geographic entities designated for census-gathering purposes. Let’s get to the list of the largest cities in Pierce County!
Pierce County is the second-most populous county in Washington, located at the southern tip of Puget Sound. Tacoma is the county seat and the largest city in Pierce County. The Hudson Bay Company established a fort in the area in 1832 and developed a cattle and sheep ranch. Lumber become the dominant industry In 1852 when the first sawmill was built along Commencement Bay, and Pierce County was dominated by the lumber industry throughout the 1800s. The county was formed in 1852 and named for U.S. President Franklin Pierce. Pierce County is home to Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range at over 14,000 feet.
Today, Pierce County is home to world-class healthcare, excellent schools, theaters, and great museums. The county is also known for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, camping, fishing, snowboarding, and skiing. No trip to Pierce County is complete without experiencing Mount Rainier and the 130 trails that meander through the Mount Rainier National Forest. Pierce County has 21 incorporated entities (cities, towns, villages, or hamlets), and Tacoma is its largest. The county is not very diverse, with a demographic breakdown of 65.6% White, 7.84% Mixed or Other races, 6.51% Black or African American, 6.23% Asian, and 6.15% Hispanic. About 95% of Pierce County’s population are US citizens and 17.6% are foreign-born. Business is booming in Pierce County, where employment has risen 5.09% in the last year. The most common occupations in the county are office & administrative support, management, and sales. Pierce County offers communities that are attractive to many lifestyles, whether you are a retiree, young family, single, or a professional.
Median Age: 36.4 years
Median Household Income: $79,243
Median Price of Housing: $362,100
Area of County: 1,806 square miles
Population Density: 525 people per square mile
Educational Attainment: 91.5% of the population has a high school diploma or higher
Cities in Pierce County
1. Tacoma, WA
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Tacoma is the largest city in Pierce County and sits on the banks of Puget Sound, about 32 miles south of Seattle. The city became the western terminal of the Northern Pacific Railroad in the late 1800s. The Port of Tacoma is Washington’s largest and busiest port. Tacoma was incorporated in 1875. The city was part of the garage rock sound of the mid-1960s with bands like The Wailers and The Sonics. Downtown Tacoma is alive with culture, featuring the Washington State History Museum, the Museum of Glass, and the Tacoma Art Museum, as well as many unique boutiques and shops. Tacoma also has a stunning waterfront and plenty of parks, gardens and wildlife. The summers are dry and warm here, and the winters mild and wet.
- Tacoma Population: 212,869
- Tacoma Area: 62.42 sq miles
- Tacoma Median Age: 35,7 years
- Tacoma Median Household Income: $62,358
- Tacoma Median House Price: $277,900
- Tacoma Density: 4,381.60 people per square mile
- Tacoma City Map
2. Auburn, WA
The city of Auburn was established in 1886 as Slaughter, WA, and incorporated in 1891. The name was changed to Auburn in 1893. Auburn is located about 18 miles east of Tacoma, situated in the Green River valley. Auburn has 28 parks, over 23 miles of trails for bikers, walkers, runners, and skaters, and about 247 acres of open space, making Auburn a recreational dream location. Auburn is home to the White River Amphitheater, a premier outdoor concert venue, Emerald Downs, Washington State’s only thoroughbred racing track, and Muckleshoot Casino, the biggest and best casino in the Northwest.
- Auburn Population: 80,134
- Auburn Area: 29.87 square miles
- Auburn Median Age: 35.5 years
- Auburn Median Household Income: $72,822
- Auburn Median House Price: $327,200
- Auburn Density: 2,754.30 people per square mile
- Auburn City Map
3. Lakewood, WA
About 10 miles southeast of Tacoma is the quiet city of Lakewood. The city is fairly new, having been incorporated in 1996. Lakewood is home to beautiful parks, stunning tree-lined neighborhoods, lively commercial districts, and a colorful and diverse population. True to its name, Lakewood has many picturesque lakes where you can enjoy hiking, kayaking, fishing, and scenic nature views. You’ll find lots of green spaces in Lakewood. Thornewood Castle is one of only a few standing castles in the US. Explore the 10-acre European Lakewood Gardens, shop at the Lakewood Towne Center, or check out one of the many Asian restaurants in Lakewood.
- Lakewood Population: 60,111
- Lakewood Area: 18.89 square miles
- Lakewood Median Age: 35.7 years
- Lakewood Median Household Income: $51,972
- Lakewood Median House Price: $269,200
- Lakewood Density: 3,577.78 people per square mile
- Lakewood City Map
4. Puyallup, WA
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Puyallup is about a 20-minute drive southeast of Tacoma in the Puyallup Valley and sits at the foot of scenic Mount Rainier. The name of the city comes from the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans, the original inhabitants of the Puyallup Valley, and means “the generous people.” European settlers arrived in the 1850s, and Puyallup was incorporated in 1890. Puyallup is home to the Washington State Fair, the state’s largest fair, which attracts over one million people every year. The city hosts an annual Daffodil Parade and is known for its many antique stores. Puyallup is an environmentally friendly city, incorporating solar panels, green roofs, and rain gardens. Puyallup is also home to arts and culture, with an annual Art & Wine Walk, the Meeker Days Art and Music Festival, and the popular Farmer’s Market.
- Puyallup Population: 40,991
- Puyallup Area: 14.24 square miles
- Puyallup Median Age: 39.9 years
- Puyallup Median Household Income: $73,248
- Puyallup Median House Price: $329,000
- Puyallup Density: 2,996.89 people per square mile
- Puyallup City Map
5. University Place, WA
University Place got its name in the 1800s from the University of Puget Sound, a liberal arts college in Tacoma that opened a campus there. The city was incorporated in 1995 and boasts a friendly atmosphere and an emphasis on the outdoors. Only 6 miles west of Tacoma, University Place sits on the banks of Puget Sound and offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier. University Place features a Scottish links-style golf course, award-winning schools, and great neighborhoods to live in. You’ll find lots of parks and many families and young professionals in University Place.
- University Place Population: 33,326
- University Place Area: 8.51 square miles
- University Place Median Age: 37.3 years
- University Place Median Household Income: $71,697
- University Place Median House Price: $367,200
- University Place Density: 4,076.86 people per square mile
- University Place City Map
6. Bonney Lake, WA
Nestled between the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Mountain range, Bonney Lake sits atop the Puyallup Valley, offering stunning views of Mount Rainier. Bonney Lake is about 16 miles southeast of Tacoma. In 2014, the city was listed as one of the top Ten Washington Cities to purchase a home. Bonney Lake has lots of families and is known for friendly community living. Bonney Lake sits along the Naches Trail, a former Native American path from the Puget Sound to the Cascade Mountains and beyond. Pioneer families first arrived in Bonney Lake in 1853. The town wasn’t incorporated until 1949. Bonney Lake has plenty of outdoor activities, including swimming and boating on Lake Tapps, hiking and biking on its many forest trails, lots of parks offering sports, play areas, and community events.
- Bonney Lake Population: 20,707
- Bonney Lake Area: 8.29 square feet
- Bonney Lake Median Age: 35.3 years
- Bonney Lake Median Household Income: $97,055
- Bonney Lake Median House Price: $331,200
- Bonney Lake Density: 2,573.38 people per square mile
- Bonney Lake City Map
7. Enumclaw, WA
Enumclaw derives its name from a Salish term that translates as “place of evil spirits,” referring to Enumclaw Mountain, which is about 6 miles north. Settlers first arrived in Enumclaw in 1853. In 1885, the Northern Pacific Railroad routed their transcontinental mainline through town, and Enumclaw became a farming town. The city was incorporated in 1913. It lies in eastern Pierce County in the east Puget Sound lowlands. The city is the gateway to Mount Rainier National Park and the Crystal Mountain ski area where outdoor lovers can enjoy mountain biking, camping, hiking, horseback riding, backpacking, and boating in the lakes. For winter fun, there are miles of snowmobile, downhill, and cross-country areas that await you.
- Enumclaw Population: 11,879
- Enumclaw Area: 5.17 square miles
- Enumclaw Median Age: 39.2 years
- Enumclaw Median Household Income $61,010
- Enumclaw Median House Price: $299,000
- Enumclaw Density: 2,356.92 people per square mile
- Enumclaw City Map
8. Edgewood, WA
Edgewood is only about 8 miles east of Tacoma. The Puyallup Indian tribe first inhabited the area along the Puyallup River. Traders from the Hudson’s Bay Company passed through in 1833 and the city was settled in the 1850s, but Edgewood wasn’t incorporated until 1996. Edgewood has lots of open space, and the average residential lot size is about 1/2 acre. The city is home to picturesque farms, beautiful homes with large gardens, and friendly people. Although Edgewood has a small town rural feel, it also has many restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many of the residents are young professionals, and the public schools there are above average. The Nyholm Windmill, located on Nyholm Ranch, is a famous landmark and the symbol for Edgewood.
- Edgewood Population: 11,264
- Edgewood Area: 8.39 square miles
- Edgewood Median Age: 41.7 years
- Edgewood Median Household Income: $100,110
- Edgewood Median House Price: $409,100
- Edgewood Density: 1,556.71 people per square mile
- Edgewood City Map
9. Fife, WA
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Fife is a short 10 minutes east of Tacoma and is part of the Puyallup Indian Reservation. The city was incorporated in 1957. The source of its name is unclear. Some say Fife was named for William J. Fife, a prominent Tacoma lawyer and Yukon prospector. Others say it was named for the Scottish town of Fife. The town is mostly made up of car dealerships, warehouses, industrial facilities, motels, quick-dining restaurants, and an Indian casino. Although a small city, Fife has lots of parks where residents enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and an annual Harvest Festival in October. Fife also has a Public Art Program that supports tourism, artists, and arts organizations. The Fife History Museum and Cultural Center is free, and the exhibits change regularly.
- Fife Population: 10,096
- Fife Area: 5.89 square miles
- Fife Median Age: 31.9 years
- Fife Median Household Income: $66,144
- Fife Median House Price: $288,500
- Fife Density: 1,768.67 people per square mile
- Fife City Map
10. Sumner, WA
Just 24 minutes southeast of Tacoma sits the city of Sumner. The city was founded in 1853 as Stuck Junction in anticipation of a stop on the Northern Pacific Railway. The name changed to Franklin and then Sumner. From shopping on Main Street to strolling through Heritage Park and the historic downtown area, this small city has plenty of interesting things to see. Sumner is known as the Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World, and you can sample their world-famous rhubarb pie in many main street cafés.
- Sumner Population: 10,053
- Sumner Area: 7.65 square miles
- Sumner Median Age: 34.8 years
- Sumner Median Household Income: $63,043
- Sumner Median House Price: $333,000
- Sumner Density: 1,384.36 people per square mile
- Sumner City Map
List of Cities in Pierce County(Table)
Here is a complete list of cities in Pirece County, sorted first by population, then other metrics from the US Census. Education Level is the % of the population that has finished high school. The Population Growth is from 2010 to 2019. If they exist, under Type, we have included cities, towns, villages, census designated places and more.
WA Pierce County
|wdt_ID||Name||Population||Med. Home Price||Med. HH Income||Median Age||Education Level||Area (miles)||Pop. Growth %||Type|
Map of Pierce County Cities
List of Cities in Pierce County
Pierce County FAQ’s
Q: What’s the most affordable city in Pierce County?
A: Of Pierce County’s biggest cities, Auburn is the most affordable.
Q: How many cities are there in Pierce County?
A: Pierce County has 21 incorporated cities, towns, villages, and hamlets.
Q: What’s the most expensive city in Pierce County?
A: Out of the top Pierce County’s cities, Sumner is the most expensive.
Now that you’ve learned about the top cities in Pierce County, you can decide which one is right for you! When it comes time for you to relocate to Pierce County, make sure you’re working with the top movers to help get you there. All Ready Moving is the best professional moving company in all of Pierce County. Call us today at 360-507-2447 to get started on your free quote!