FYI Guy Gene Balk is back with another interesting insight into how Seattle lives.
In looking through the census data, he found a curious anomaly. While Seattle’s renter population has boomed to the point where the majority of households live in rentals (58 percent), the number of those rentals with children under 18 living in them has remained stagnant. In fact, that number has barely moved in the last decade, which gives Seattle the second-lowest percentage of rental households with children under 18, trailing Portland.
Seattle has approximately 60,000 households with children under 18 and only around 20,000 of them are rentals. Specifically, we’re at 33 percent overall. Portland is currently at 31 percent.
So what’s going on?
Well on one hand you can look to the way Seattle has been developing it’s rental properties. Developers have been churning out buildings that are geared toward single living with most units no bigger than one-bedroom and many offered as studios or SEDUs. As Balk notes, for every two- or three-bedroom that is added to the mix, there are four studios or one-bedrooms. That’s not exactly a lot of space for families.
There’s also the possibility that people just do things differently here than Miami, where 75 percent of children live in rentals. Seattleites have a tendency to start families later. There’s also a good chance that families were able to find more affordable homes outside of the city. Also, those that are arriving now might be part of the tech boom and can afford to buy a house.