This Rural County is Getting Rich Manufacturing Drones for the US Military

By Bryan Lufkin on at

Los Angeles = cinema, San Francisco = tech. And it looks like Klickitat County, Washington = unmanned aerial vehicles.

According to Quartz, median income in the outdoorsy pear-growing county rose 23% between 2010 and 2013, thanks to the drone industry. Only five other US counties saw faster growth, all gas-rich fracking hotspots.

But Klickitat? Its biggest employer in the region—the Columbia River Gorge region, an 80-mile stretch linking Washington and Oregon—is Insitu Group, a Boeing-owned drone maker. The drones made and tested there are mostly for the military, but as the tech continues to grow at breakneck pace, it’s likely the region will produce more drones for non-military use.

Postcards of county’s pear trees and sweeping vistas of the Cascades could soon be filled with flocks of drones.


Image credit: Wikimedia Commons