After being incorporated into Washington as a city in 1996, Lakewood became the state's eighth-largest city. Over the years, the town has been called Prairie, Lakes District and Lakewood Center. Lakewood's population, which is spread out over 19 square miles, is estimated to be more than 58,000. The town ranks in the top 4 percent of the state when it comes to racial diversity.
America's Promise voted Lakewood and Pierce County among the 100 Best Places for Young People. This annual competition seeks to find communities that work toward addressing the various challenges of a particular area. Some of the challenges facing Lakewood include a transient population, due to the four nearby military bases, and the fact that 55 percent of Lakewood's students come from low-income homes. To help address some of these issues, Lakewood's Communities in Schools recruits volunteers to work in school and afterschool programs. In addition, Lakewood's Reclaiming Our Youth is an organization established to help deter crime.
Clover Park School District, the fourth-largest district in the county, oversees all of the public schools in the city of Lakewood, which include 19 elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools and one alternative high school.
Due to the close proximity to Fort Lewis Army Base and McChord Air Force Base, there has been a large military impact on the educational environment of Lakewood. The city's two high schools offer Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and an estimated 28 percent of students in the Clover Park School District live on a military base.
When it comes to higher education in the area, Clover Park Technical College is committed to providing adults and youths with quality job training. Fifty career training programs are offered, as well as 60 certification programs. Some of the areas covered include accounting, culinary arts, horticulture, human services, nursing and welding technology. Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom is a two-year public college that offers associate's degrees in such areas as accounting, technology, alcohol and drug abuse counseling, fashion merchandising, general office services and paralegal training.
Popular industries in the city include education, health and social services, and manufacturing. Some of the noteworthy employers in these areas include:
Local economic factors are also affected by the area's strong military influence. The Fort Lewis Army Base provides more than 20,000 jobs in the county for its soldiers. Army military members, civilians and retirees earn a combined payroll of $1.2 billion. At the McChord Air Force Base, more than 7,900 service members and reserve and civilian employees are on the base's payroll of more than $336 million.
Lakewood is broken up into 13 diverse neighborhoods, including:
There are a number of recreational activities available for residents and visitors throughout the city of Lakewood and its surrounding areas:
The primary news sources available to residents of Lakewood include:
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