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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

October 24, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Gay and black Washington: the interesting case of Bryn Mawr-Skyway

Arial view of Bryn Mawr-Skyway from Google maps (Click to enlarge)

In The Seattle Times, Lornet Turnbull reports on the conflicting views within Washington’s black community over the issue of gay-marriage, which is currently on the ballot as Referendum 74.  Turnbull notes that compared to Maryland, where gay-marriage is also being put up to a vote, Washington has a small black population.

This could be described as an understatement.

Maryland’s population is close to 30 percent black.  Washington’s?  About 3.6 percent.  Only in King and Pierce counties does the black population even exceed 5 percent.

But there is one place in Washington state that stands out in terms of its black demographics: Bryn Mawr-Skyway in King County, just south of Seattle. Bryn Mawr-Skyway is unique in that it is the only plurality black city, town or place in the Pacific Northwest.  A plurality black place is one where African Americans make up the largest racial group, and Bryn Mawr-Skyway is the only such place on the West Coast outside of California.

This table shows the 2010 Census numbers for the racial/ethnic breakdown of this highly diverse area:

RACE/ETHNICITY

PERCENT

Black/African-American

30.7

Asian/Hawaiian/Pacifc Isl.

27.5

White

27.1

Hispanic/Latino

7.7

Multiple race

6.1

Other

0.9

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

I didn’t decide to blog about Bryn Mawr-Skyway demographics only because of its distinction as the Nortwest’s sole plurality black place.  As it happens, Bryn Mawr-Skyway also came up in a previous blog post I wrote about the gay population in Washington (see “Just how gay is Seattle?“).  That blog post was about a report that showed Bryn Mawr-Skyway having the third-highest percentage of gay couple households in Washington.  Here are the top three places in the state for that statistic:

PLACE

GAY COUPLE HOUSEHOLDS

Vashon Island

3.3%

Seattle

2.3%

Bryn Mawr-Skyway

1.4%

Source:The Williams Institute, UCLA

And not only does Bryn Mawr-Skyway rank third in the state for the percentage of gay couple households; among all cities, towns, and places in the United States, it ranks 97th.

So in light of Turnbull’s article on Washington’s black community and Ref. 74,  I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight Bryn Mawr-Skyway.  It’s not a place you hear much about, but, in terms of its demographics, it’s surprisingly interesting.

Comments | More in Demographics | Topics: politics; race; sexualtiy

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