2010 Census

In 2010, The Census estimated over 600,000 people living in Seattle, more than a third of which are persons of color. OIRA was created to empower this growing population, in particular, to understand and work with immigrant and refugee communities across all city departments and in the community.

Washington has been termed a "new growth" state for its rapid growth in immigrant and refugee populations. Between 2000 and 2011, Washington has experienced an increase of 48% in its foreign born inhabitants, compared with the national statistic of 29.8%.  In 2011, 13.3 % of Washington's total population were immigrants, of these 40% arrived on or after 2000.

Figure 1 shows that as of 2011, the largest share of the foreign born population in Washington State came from Asia. Of the total foreign-born population in Washington, 39.8 percent arrived from Asia, 5.4 percent were from Africa, 17.2 percent from Europe, 30.7 percent from Latin America, 5.4 percent from Northern America, and 1.5 percent from Oceania. These results mirrored the top three countries of birthplace for foreign-born residents in Washington as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Mexico.

On average, household size for immigrant populations in Washington in 2011 were 3.29 persons for those who owned their own homes, and 3.06 persons for those who rented, higher than that of the native-born population, which was 2.52 persons and 2.27 persons, respectively.

Of the immigrant population in Washington, 9.2% were in the 18-24 age bracket, while 59.4% were of working age (25-54).

Figure 1 Percentage of the foreign-born population in Washington (2011) 
Percentage of the foreign-born population in Washington

The 2011 American Community Survey reported that:

  • 45.9% of the foreign-born population in Washington were citizens, which parallels the national average of 44.9%.
  • Women made up 52.6% of the total foreign-born population in Washington.
  • 7.7% of immigrant women in Washington  had given birth in the previous year, slightly higher than the national level at 6.8%.
  • Children of immigrants - 76.4% of whom U.S-born - made up for 7.2% of young children and youth in Washington. 
  • Children of immigrants also accounted for 35.3% of all children in low-income families, in households with income below 200% of the federal poverty threshold in Washington.


Migration Policy Institute Data Hub. (2011). Washington Social & Demographic Characteristics.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/state.cfm?ID=WA.