Decennial Census

See also: 

2010 Census

The 2010 decennial census was composed of the 100% count “short-form” sent to all households. Summary File 1 is the 100% data that corresponds to a limited number of questions asked of every person and housing unit in the United States. These included sex, age, household relationship, race and Hispanic origin, and ownership versus rental status.

In 2010 the Census Bureau did not conduct the sample or “long-form” to collect data on social and economic characteristics of the population, or physical and financial characteristics of housing units. The data that in the past was collected by the “long-form” is now part of the American Community Survey.

Demographic Highlights


Population Growth

The 2010 Census measured Seattle’s population at 608,660. This was an increase of about 56,000 persons, or 8 percent since the 2000 Census. While somewhat slower than the 9 percent population growth Seattle experienced in the 1990s, this was still a healthy rate of growth for a major U.S. city.

While Seattle did not grow as quickly as King County as a whole, Seattle remains, by far, the most populous city in the King County. Seattle is the 23rd most populous city in the nation, and is the hub of Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metro Area, which is the 15th most populous metro area in the nation.

Race and Ethnicity

The 2010 Census results indicate that more than a third (34 percent) of Seattle residents are persons of color. This is up from 32 percent in 2000. The Census collects information on Hispanic / Latino ethnicity in a separate question from race. “Persons of color” encompass Hispanics and Latinos of any race as well as persons who are any race other than White alone.

The largest non-White racial group in Seattle is Asian (14 percent of the city’s population), followed by Black or African American (8 percent). Five percent of Seattle residents indicated two or more races on their Census form in 2010.

Seven percent of Seattle’s residents are of Hispanics or Latino ethnicity.

Race and ethnic groups that grew the most quickly in Seattle were Asians, persons who are two or more races, and persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.

Selected Age Groups

Results from the 2010 Census indicate that children under 18 make up 15 percent of the city’s population. Between the 2000 Census and 2010 Census, the number of children in Seattle increased, but at a pace slightly slower than the overall population growth rate. However, the number of young children (under age 5) increased much more quickly.

Young adults between 18 and 34 years of age comprise one-third of Seattle’s population.

Seniors are 11 percent of Seattle’s population. The number of seniors in Seattle declined between 2000 and 2010, but may increase in the next decades as the cohort of baby boomers living in the city reach their senior years.

Households and Household Characteristics

The 2010 Census tallied 283,510 households in Seattle. This represents an increase of roughly 25,000 households, or 9.7 percent, since the 2000 Census. This is slightly higher than the 9.2 percent increase seen in the 1990s.

Between 2000 and 2010, the average number of persons per household in Seattle declined from 2.08 to 2.06. This slight decline continues a long term trend toward smaller household sizes, both locally and nationally.

About 13 percent of Seattle’s households are husband-wife married couples with children. Another 6 percent of Seattle households are other families with children. These figures on family households with children refer to households in which there is at least one child under 18 years of age who is related to the householder.

Husband-wife married couples without related children make up 19 percent of all households in Seattle. About 5 percent of households are other families without children.

One-person households comprise 41 percent of Seattle’s households. The increasing number of one-person households has been a key driver contributing to the city’s declining household size. Non-relatives living together comprise another 16 percent of the households in Seattle.


Number of Housing Units
The 2010 Census counted a total of 308,516 housing units in Seattle, for an increase of approximately 38,000 units — or 14 percent since the 2000 Census. This is substantially greater than the 8.6 percent growth in housing units seen in the 1990s.

Growth between 2000 and 2010 in Seattle’s housing stock far outpaced the 9.7 percent increase in the number of Seattle households that decade. At the same time, vacant housing units in Seattle more than doubled in number, from 12,025 in 2000 to 25,006 such units in 2010. The number of occupied housing units is equivalent to the number of households given that the Census Bureau defines households as a group of people who occupy a housing unit together.

Tenure: Owner-Occupied and Renter-Occupied Housing Units
In Seattle, renter-occupied housing units somewhat outnumber owner-occupied units: 51.9 percent are renter occupied and 48.1 percent are owner-occupied. The trend in recent decades has been one of gradually declining homeownership rates. The slight reduction in the homeownership rate from 48.4 percent in 2000 to 48.1 percent in 2010 continued this trend. Annual estimates from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey indicate that the downward trend in homeownership rates was interrupted temporarily during the housing bubble that occurred in the later half the last decade. However, estimated homeownership rates in the city began to decline toward the end of the decade after the housing bubble burst.

Population in Group Quarters

In 2010, one in twenty Seattle residents lived in group quarters such as college or university student housing (with about 11,800 persons), nursing facilities (2,600 persons), and correctional facilities (2,000 persons).

Redistricting Data

Redistricting data (also referred to as Public Law 94-171) includes counts of the total population by race and ethnicity and the total population over age 18 years old. Information on occupied and vacant housing units is also included. Data is available at multiple geographic summary levels down to the block level.

General Demographic Data

Summary File 1 data tables provide the most detailed information available from the 2010 Census. Tables includes cross-tabulations of age, sex, households, families, relationship to householder, housing units, detailed race and Hispanic or Latino origin groups, and group quarters. Data is available at multiple geographic summary levels down to the block level.

Neighborhood Areas

To report census data for neighborhood areas, the City uses different combinations of census tracts, block groups and blocks to best approximate the various neighborhoods and sub-areas of the City. If the neighborhood-area boundaries split a block group or tract, the block group or tract was included if more than 50-percent of its population lived within the neighborhood area.

Community Reporting Areas

Community Reporting Areas (CRAs) were adopted in 2004 as a standard, consistent, citywide geography for reporting purposes. There are 53 CRAs derived from census tract geography.

Census Community Reporting Areas Small Reference Map

Neighborhood Districts

The Community Reporting Areas have been grouped into 13 Neighborhood Districts to approximate the Neighborhood Districts represented on the City Neighborhood Council.

Census Neighborhood District Small Reference Map

Urban Centers and Villages

Urban Centers and Villages are areas designated in Seattle's Comprehensive Plan to accommodate future population and job growth.

Census Urban Centers and Villages Small Reference Map

Technical Documentation

More Information

For a description of the full range of available decennial Census data products, visit the Census Bureau’s 2010 Census Data Product Descriptions.

For access to all 2010 Census data, visit the Census Bureaus American FactFinder data portal.

For geographic reference files, maps, and GIS shapefiles of census geographies please see Geographic Files and Maps.

For a more detailed discussion of the differences in the way questions were asked in the 2000 and 2010 censuses as well as geographic changes that may affect comparability between decennial censuses please see Data Issues.

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