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Prosperity Can Be Found Around Seattle (And the Eastside, Of Course)

Move to the suburbs! But don't go too far.

Seattle is prosperous. It's a newsworthy item, but the prosperity isn't uniform and it may be happening in unexpected places.

The Economic Innovation Group measured every zip code in the country against seven criteria: education, housing, poverty, income, employment, and the number of businesses to see which parts of the country were prospering and which were distressed. The Seattle area is one of the greenest in the nation, but our prosperity is mostly in a ring around downtown. North Seattle and the Eastside are doing particularly well, at least according to those criteria.

Every neighborhood has something going for it, and general measurements ignore a person's individual specific needs and wants; but a few trends pop out. Downtown Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma must all be missing some key element, or have too much of something else, like poverty. The suburbs that are so easy to make jokes about, evidently have a nice balance. Maybe it isn't one thing in particular, but having the right mix. Go too far out though, and the apparent prosperity fades. Fewer folks, fewer businesses, fewer jobs, and less for schools - maybe.

Of course, for some folks a tiny condo in Belltown is the ultimate experience, and for others it is a few acres of farmland in Snohomish. But, in general, it is good to see the area is prosperous, and there are lots of choices available. No wonder our housing market is booming.

· The Distressed Communities Index [EIG]