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Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

October 17, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Seattle: Don’t get too attached to your neighbors

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Click to enlarge

When was the last time you moved?

If you live in Seattle, chances are it wasn’t too long ago.

According to the most recent census data, nearly half of us — 46 percent, to be exact — moved into our current home in 2010 or later.

Even in New York City — famous for its constant flux — less than a third of the inhabitants have relocated that recently.

Seattle’s having its second Gold Rush, only with tech jobs replacing gold. It’s helped turn us into a city of newcomers, a city of young people on the move. There’s not much moss gathering in this town, despite all the rain.

The trend is especially pronounced among those under 35 — Seattle’s numerous millennials. Two out of 5 of them were living at a different address just one year ago.

You feel like a rarity if you’ve been here long enough to have shopped at The Bon, watched the Sonics at KeyArena or voted on the never-built monorail (any of the first five times).

In this newly transitory Seattle, what’s a latter-day Emmett Watson to do? Don’t despair just yet. You can still find pockets of the city where the locals have institutional memory to spare.

If you’re new in town — and you probably are — you might have a hard time pinpointing neighborhoods like Broadview, Matthews Beach or Fauntleroy on a map. They’re on the watery edges of the city, and they don’t make the news too often. But amid Seattle’s constant demographic churn, these are the places where folks tend to stay put.

Perhaps the most stable of Seattle neighborhoods, Broadview is nestled in the northwest corner of the city. The average length of residence exceeds 20 years. Data show that nearly 1 out of 3 neighbors here have lived in their current home since the 1980s or earlier.

That couldn’t be more different from the city’s core. If you’ve lived that long in, say, Belltown or Pike/Pine — congratulations, you’re one-in-a-hundred among your neighbors.

And nowhere in Seattle is the population more peripatetic than in South Lake Union. This neighborhood hardly existed a decade ago, so it’s unsurprising that nearly 9 out of 10 residents settled in more recently than 2005. That’s a lot of apartments in need of furnishing — no wonder nest-feathering mart West Elm set up shop on Westlake.

Curious to see how many folks in your neighborhood are newly arrived and how many have been there longer than you? Explore the data for yourself on interactive map of King County census tracts.


In Green Lake, one longtime resident watches the neighborhood change


[do action=”custom_iframe” url=”” width=”630″ height=”700″ scrolling=””/]Source: Nielsen


Comments | More in Demographics | Topics: demographics, migration, neighborhoods


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