About Seattle

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Prosperity Quick Statistics

About People Living in Seattle

  • Share of population (25 years and older) with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 56%
  • Most common occupation: 54% work in management, business, science, and arts
  • Household median income: $67,100
  • Family median income: $91,279
  • Per capita income: $39,886
  • Poverty rate: 15%

About Jobs in Seattle

2012 Puget Sound Regional Council

  • Number of jobs in Seattle covered by state unemployment insurance: 483,318

Employment Growth

  • Target for net new jobs between 2005 and 2024: 84,000
  • Net new jobs added between 2005 and 2011: 9,467 (about 11% of the 20-year target)


  • Educational attainment: Seattleites as a group are highly educated. In 2011, 56 percent of Seattle residents 25 years and older had a bachelor's degree or higher and 23 percent had a graduate or professional degree. In the broader Seattle metro area, 37 percent of people in this age group had at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Labor force and occupations: Seattle has a high concentration of people in prime working-age groups and a high labor force participation rate. A large share of Seattle’s residents work in management, business, science, and arts occupations. In 2011, 54 percent of Seattle’s civilian employed population 16 and older worked in this broad category of occupations. This compares to 42 percent in the broader metro area and 36 percent in the nation as a whole.
  • Median incomes: The 2011 American Community Survey (ACS) estimated the Seattle median household income to be about $61,000. This was well above the national median household income. However, this was somewhat lower than the median household income for the Seattle metro area, reflecting the high concentrations of one-person households, students, and young adults who live in Seattle. The ACS estimated the Seattle median family income to be roughly $91,000, which is markedly higher than median family income in the broader Seattle metro area.

Almost half of the jobs in Seattle are in the services sector.

The median family income in Seattle is higher than in the metro area and in the United States.

  • Poverty: The 2011 ACS estimated that 15 percent of Seattle residents had incomes below the poverty threshold. This compares to 12 percent in the broader metro area, and 16 percent in the United States. Poverty rates captured in the 2011 ACS are significantly higher than those captured in the 2007 ACS which was done before the Great Recession. (The poverty threshold in 2011 for a family of three with one child under 18 was roughly $18,000.)
  • Covered Jobs in Seattle: As of March of 2011, the Puget Sound Regional Council estimated that there were 473,921 covered jobs in Seattle. Covered jobs are those covered by the Washington state Unemployment Insurance Act. (Covered jobs are typically about 85 to 90 percent of the total employment in an area). A rough estimate of total jobs in Seattle comes to 542,000 when we factor up for non-covered jobs.
  • Growth Targets in Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan: In the Puget Sound Region, jurisdictions adopt growth targets for jobs as well as housing. The Seattle Comprehensive Plan growth target is to accommodate 84,000 net new jobs in the city from 2005 until 2024.

    Roughly 9,500 net covered jobs were added in Seattle from 2005 to 2011. These six years spanned a turbulent time in the city’s and the nation’s economy.
  • New Growth Targets: Seattle's new growth targets, due by 2015, will need to align with targets assigned to Seattle in the King County Countywide Planning Policies: 146,700 net new jobs over a 25-year period.

Featured Products

Census Reports for Seattle

Jobs and Employment Report

Key Data Sources

U.S. Census Bureau Data
Census Bureau programs that provide data on housing at a community and neighborhood level include:

The Census Bureau operates two major programs that provide data on people and households based on place of residence down to the city level and neighborhood levels:

  • The decennial census is done every 10 years to count the population and gather basic information about population demographics, households, and housing units. Census topics include age, sex, race, Hispanic ethnicity, household composition, owner / renter status, and group quarters populations.
  • The American Community Survey is a continuous survey that produces estimates on a broad set of population, social, economic, and housing characteristics. Examples of survey topics include education, labor force participation, incomes, earnings, commutes to work, and the occupations and industries in which residents are employed. The survey also asks about housing values and rents. The American Community Survey has replaced the long form that used to be part of the decennial census.

Puget Sound Regional Council
Puget Sound Regional Council provides estimates of covered employment and produces forecasts at a wide range of geographic scales as part of their work to support planning in the region.

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