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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

October 23, 2014 at 5:00 AM

King County outscores state, nation in opportunity for kids

Seattle-area students enjoy more opportunity than their peers in the rest of the state and nation, a new national report card suggests.

The study, compiled by two nonprofit research groups, measured economic, educational and other factors that affect the learning environment for children such as household income, violent crime and the proportion of students enrolled in preschool.

King County outscored the state in nearly every area, most notably the economic ones.

Median household income is higher and poverty and unemployment is lower in the Seattle area than statewide and nationally. In King County, a median family makes $67,587 a year and 11 percent of residents fall below the national poverty line. Statewide, an average family makes close to $55,000 and 14 percent of the population is living in poverty. In the U.S., average household income is $48,781 and the poverty rate is 16 percent.

The study gave King County a B grade overall and ranked Washington 22nd out of all states.

Vermont, with its 93 percent on-time high school graduation rate and low levels of crime, topped the list. Neighboring Oregon, where unemployment and poverty are slightly above the national averages, and 40 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool, finished 32nd.

King County scored below the state average on the community portion of the groups’ index. The city’s violent crime rate — at 352 crimes per 100,000 people — was above the state rate of 296 crimes per 100,000. Still, both Washington and King County were well below the national average of 387 violent crimes per 100,000.

The index also showed that since last year, the Seattle area has lost ground in some areas, including high school graduation rate, and the number of children enrolled in preschool. In 2013, for example, 50.4 percent of the King County’s 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled in pre-K. This year, just 49.7 percent are.

But the area also had some gains, too, in areas such as unemployment and the number of doctors and banks.

The Opportunity Nation index is an annual study sponsored by Be The Change, Inc., and the Social Science Research Council.

opportunityscores

Comments | More in News | Topics: early learning, graduation rates, higher education

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