Washingtonians are making way for newcomers in King County

The census data says non-Washingtonians are driving population growth now

Have you been noticing that more people you know in Seattle, Bellevue, or Renton are from someplace outside of Washington State? That would fit with the census data as FYI Guy Gene Balk’s latest article digs into the numbers to find out that Washington-born residents are leaving King County as out-of-towners fill in the space left behind.

Last year, for the first time in at least a decade, the number of native-born Washingtonians in King County declined.

Between 2014 and 2015, their number fell by more than 17,000 — a 2 percent drop. There are now 850,000 Washington-born residents in the county, or 40 percent of its total population.

In general, the influx of people born elsewhere coming to King County has drastically shifted the demographics in the past five years. Between 2010 and 2015, the net population growth of people born outside the U.S. or born elsewhere in the U.S. has jumped from around 45K each in the previous five years to around 68K each. Meanwhile, net population growth of those born in Washington State has dropped from 70K to 43K.

There are some pretty obvious reasons for all of this. Housing prices have skyrocketed in the region over the same time period, driving out longtime residents and scaring off other Washingtonians who can’t keep pace. Meanwhile, tech jobs are bringing in new workers in droves and they’re bringing their families with them.

As Balk points out, many Washingtonians are finally looking to other parts of the country and seeing a more affordable lifestyle that makes sense for them. He says it’s too soon to say this is an out-and-out trends, but it’s clear that there is a fundamental shift going on when it comes to who is choosing to live around Seattle…and who is choosing not to.

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