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Seattle’s high-poverty neighborhoods have more than doubled since 2000, report says

Poverty is spreading

Joe Wolf/Flickr

Another week, another statistic that shows what many already know too well: People are struggling all over Seattle. A report this week from rental-listing site Apartment List using data from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies shows that Seattle neighborhoods with a high concentration of poverty doubled in 15 years.

In the year 2000, census data showed 45 Seattle neighborhoods had a high concentration of households—that’s 20 percent or higher—living in poverty. By the year 2015, that had spread to 95.

More sobering: Poverty, in this case, means the federal poverty line—at the time, less than $12,000 of income a year.

Nationwide, concentration poverty in dense, urban areas has fallen 9 percent—while the number of people living in poverty in dense areas remains roughly the same, increasingly people are experiencing poverty in lower-density areas.

But it’s different in Seattle. Here, while poverty has spread dramatically, it remains concentrated in denser areas, for the most part. In 15 years, it’s only fallen from 67 percent to 65.

The concentration just remains about the same across the board: Low-density neighborhoods’ share remained mostly steady over the past 15 years, also dropping 2 percent. Medium-density neighborhoods just saw a 3 percent increase in share.

It’s hard to tell where exactly where the highest concentration is without knowing which neighborhoods are affected, and Apartment List couldn’t provide us with that data. Still, it would imply that while poverty is spreading throughout the city, it’s not spreading as quickly to the single-family zones that cover 65 percent of the city.

See Apartment Lists’s Seattle data breakdown for yourself below.

Seattle high-poverty neighborhoods: number of neighborhoods

Density Type 2000 2015 Percent Change
Density Type 2000 2015 Percent Change
Dense Urban 30 62 106.67%
Medium Dense Urban 12 28 133.33%
Least Dense Urban 3 5 66.67%
Total 45 95 111.11%
Apartment List, JCHS

Seattle high-poverty neighborhood: share by density

Density Type 2000 2015 Change
Density Type 2000 2015 Change
Dense Urban 66.67% 65.26% -1.40%
Medium Dense Urban 26.67% 29.47% 2.81%
Least Dense Urban 6.67% 5.26% -1.40%
Total 100.00% 100.00% 0.00%
Apartment List, JCHS