Benton County Spotlight

Benton County

Home to the bustling technology and manufacturing industries of the Tri-Cities’ Kennewick and Richland, Benton County has undergone many shifts in its economy. Originally a hub for agriculture due to its superior irrigation systems, Benton County experienced an influx of technological growth in the latter half of World War II with the implementation of the Manhattan Project, a secret government operation to develop nuclear weapons. While agriculture remains an important component of Benton County’s economy, the Manhattan Project, which was located in the northern town of Hanford, marked a shift towards the development of technology and manufacturing as key industries within the county.

To this day, Benton County hosts a wide array of technological industries—including nuclear power—in addition to agricultural industries, ensuring a diverse and flourishing economy. The west side of the county, including Prosser, has enjoyed the growth of Benton County’s wine industry, attracting tourists to the Yakima River.


County Seat: Prosser

Incorporation Date: March 8, 1905

Form of Government: General Law

Area: 1,703 sq mi (4,411 km2)

Population: 201,800 (2019)

Etymology: Thomas Hart Benton (1782–1858), a U.S. Senator from Missouri