December 5, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Today is the one-year anniversary of Washington’s same-sex marriage law. To mark the occasion, the state Department of Health has released marriage statistics gathered from the date the law took effect — Dec. 6, 2012 — through the end of September, date of most recent available numbers.
In that time, 7,071 gay couples tied the knot. That’s 17 percent of the total 42,408 new marriages, or one out of six.
Of the same-sex marriages, 62 percent were between two women. No surprise, King County had the most same-sex weddings — 3,452 — followed, in order, by Clark, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties. (more…)
November 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Capitol Hill is so five-years-ago. Ballard? Over. No, the skinny-jeans crowd has moved on to…Bellevue.
That’s if we’re to believe the real-estate data firm RealtyTrac, which placed Bellevue’s 98007 — home to Bellevue College — among the top-10 up-and-coming hipster ZIP codes in the U.S.
The data crunchers at RealtyTrac went looking for nascent hipster neighborhoods in order to identify the best areas for real-estate investment. Apparently, hipsters are great for property values: “Thanks to an influx of trendy restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other amenities,” RealtyTrac’s news release says, “a neighborhood branded as hipster is likely to see property values and rental rates rise while vacancies and foreclosures decline.” (more…)
November 19, 2013 at 4:35 PM
Unless you’re a parent or medical professional, you may not know that all newborn babies in Washington and across the country have their blood screened to detect rare diseases.
The timing of blood screenings is critically important because newborns afflicted with certain rare disorders can fall sick within just a few days of leaving the hospital. Early detection through these screenings saves 12,000 babies each year in the United States from death or irreversible harm.
Unfortunately, nine hospitals in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties did not screen all newborn babies for dangerous genetic disorders within an acceptable window of time, according to a new investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (more…)
November 15, 2013 at 12:50 PM
If you had to pick one U.S. state that has the least in common with Seattle, Utah would be as good a choice as any.
And Utah is famously religious — second only to Mississippi for the percentage of pious residents, according to a Gallup poll. Seattle, in contrast, ranks in the top-three most secular U.S. places in a recent survey of religious affiliation.
Utah is also a bastion of traditional values. For example, the state has the lowest rate of births to unwed mothers in the country. Census data show in 2012, just 15 percent of Utah women who had given birth in the past 12 months were unmarried — less than half the U.S. average.
And here in progressive Seattle? Well, actually, this is one thing we do have in common with Utah.
Of the 75 largest U.S. cities, Seattle has the smallest percentage of births to unmarried women. According to the most recent census data, Seattle’s rate of non-marital births is, in fact, even lower than Utah’s – just 14 percent.
It may not be as surprising as it first sounds. When it comes to outside-of-marriage motherhood, other factors come into play beside old-fashioned religious values. For example, a Census Bureau report found that non-marital birth rates correlate strongly with education and income. In more affluent, well-educated places (like Seattle), the rate of non-marital births tends to be lower.
Nevertheless, it is still striking just how low Seattle’s non-marital birth rate is — even compared to cities we think of as our demographic peers.
Seattle is five percentage points lower than San Francisco, and 12 lower than Portland. Minneapolis, Denver, and Austin have more than double the percentage of out-of-marriage births than Seattle. In Boston and Washington, it’s more than triple.
So if we can’t chalk it all up to demographics, what other reasons may be behind our remarkably low rate of out-of-wedlock motherhood? Are we more conventional in Seattle than we let on, at least when it comes to marriage and family? Feel free to weigh in on the comments.
November 6, 2013 at 6:33 PM
For Seattle, just being a walkable city isn’t good enough. We want to be No. 1, the most walkable city in the nation. At least that’s the goal plainly stated in the Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan.
But we may be falling farther behind on that lofty goal than we thought.
Seattle’s walkability score actually declined this past year, according to the 2014 rankings of America’s most walkable cities, released on Wednesday by Walk Score.
The Seattle-based company, which scores thousands of cities and neighborhoods based on how convenient they are for someone on foot, releases new scores each year and ranks America’s top cities for pedestrians. Last year, Seattle placed sixth with a score of 73.7 out of a possible 100. We’re still in the top 10 this year, but we dropped down to eighth with a score of just 70.8. Miami and Washington, D.C., leapfrogged over Seattle in the rankings. (more…)
November 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM
Here’s some sobering news for new parents:
In Washington, putting two kids through day care — one infant and one 4-year-old — will cost about the same as a typical home-mortgage payment.
In fact, according to a new report, Washington is among the nation’s 10 least-affordable states for child care.
Child Care Aware of America, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, found that one year of infant care in Washington costs, on average, $12,108. That pencils out to 14.3 percent of the median income for a married couple, and ranks Washington as the ninth least-affordable state for infant care.
The average cost of day care for a 4-year-old here ($9,240) amounts to 10.9 percent of a married couple’s income, ranking Washington as the eighth least-affordable among the states.
The situation is worse for a couple with kids in the Seattle area than it is in many other parts of the state. Compared with rural areas, the cost of infant care in urban parts of the state is 42 percent higher. For 4-year-old care, it’s 31 percent higher. Washington’s urban-rural cost gaps are among the 10 widest in the nation.
Bad as it is in Washington, Oregon is even worse. The Beaver State ranks No. 1 as the least affordable state for care of both infants and 4-year-olds.
October 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM
A new study says otherwise–at least in the realm of social media.
According to researchers at Indiana University, Seattle is the source of more trending topics on Twitter than any other U.S. city.
Take, for example, #ICanAdmit. This ”hashtag” is used when tweeting something confessional. First popularized in Seattle, it went on to trend globally.
Or how about #YouWillNotBeTakenSeriouslyIf? Used when calling out foolishness in others, it too is a Seattle gift to the Twittersphere.
October 16, 2013 at 6:05 PM
Bellevue placed twelfth on a list of the “Top 100 Best Places To Live,” a ranking of small to mid-sized U.S. cities compiled by the website Livability.com.
The rankings, released on Wednesday, were developed for Livability.com by the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute.
Researchers studied 1,200 U.S. cities with populations of 20,000 to 350,000. The cities were evaluated in eight categories: economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and healthcare.
Bellevue’s highest score, 86 out of a possible 100, was in the amenities category, which includes cultural, entertainment, and recreational offerings as well as access to parks and nature.
Washington had a strong showing in this year’s rankings. Five other Evergreen State cities placed in the top-100 behind Bellevue: Bellingham (25th), Tacoma (41st), Redmond (62nd), Everett (73rd) and Vancouver (96th).
Only two other states–California and Florida–can boast of six or more cities on the list.
Palo Alto, Calif., ranked first, one of 27 California cities to make the top-100.
October 14, 2013 at 3:27 PM
Have you seen our beautifully restored King Street Station yet? With such a stunning gateway to our city, you might think folks are clamoring to take Amtrak more than ever.
You’d be wrong.
Ridership on Amtrak’s Cascade route dropped 4 percent in the 2013 fiscal year, according to numbers released Monday by the company.
In 2013, 811,692 passengers boarded a train along the Cascades route, which runs between Vancouver, B.C., and Eugene, Ore. That’s a decline of more than 33,000 passengers from 2012.
It’s not like Amtrak is doing badly everywhere. Nationally, ridership rose by 1 percent, or more than 300,000 passengers, for a total of nearly 31.6 million. That breaks the record of 31.2 million set in 2012. Twenty of Amtrak’s routes set records this year.
Not surprisingly, the Amtrak folks are in a celebratory mood. “Amtrak moves people, the economy and the nation forward everywhere the trains go,” President and CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement Monday.
But in this corner of the country, we’re bucking the trend. The Cascades line’s 4 percent drop was the sixth biggest decline of any of Amtrak’s routes.
It represents a reversal from previous years.
In 2011, Cascades ridership grew by 1.9 percent, and in 2012 it had only a slight drop of .8 percent. A report published by the Brookings Institution showed that from 1997 to 2012, Amtrak ridership in the Seattle metropolitan area increased by 59 percent, and in the Portland metro area by 90 percent.
So why a big decline all of a sudden?
An Amtrak official thought a bad winter for mudslides was to blame. But according to data from the state Department of Transportation, Amtrak had 23 fewer service disruptions last winter than in the winter of 2010-2011, a year when the Cascade line’s ridership increased by nearly 16,000 trips.
A more likely explanation:
Amtrak saw its first real competition in mid-2012. Bolt Bus, owned by Greyhound, began service between Seattle, Portland and Vancouver at significantly lower fares than Amtrak. While the company would not disclose ridership numbers, a Bolt Bus spokesperson did confirm that customer response in the Northwest has exceeded expectations. The company has increased the frequency of service to meet the demand, and added new routes; Bolt Bus now serves Bellingham, Eugene and Albany, Ore.
What do you think? Have you been taking Bolt Bus instead of Amtrak? Can that explain the drop in Amtrak ridership numbers here? Take our poll, and feel free to sound off in the comments.
October 11, 2013 at 3:05 PM
Multiple offers, bidding wars, waived inspections–this is the reality for many house hunters in Seattle’s hot real-estate market.
With the King County median home price now at $420,000–a 12 percent jump in the past year–the American dream of home ownership may seem increasingly out of reach for middle-class folks in the Seattle area.
But it could be worse.
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