Posted on July 6, 2015

Whitest Big County in the U.S.? It’s Us

Gene Balk, Seattle Times, July 3, 2015

Among the 20 most-populous U.S. counties, King County is the whitest–by a ways. According to new data released by the Census Bureau, King is 62.4 percent non-Hispanic white. Nearly all the 19 other counties are “majority minority.” Miami-Dade County, Fla.–the least white–is only 14.8 percent white.

This may come as a surprise, considering that for a 20-year stretch King County’s white population didn’t grow at all. From 1990 to 2010, non-Hispanic whites flatlined at about 1.26 million people. The county’s population growth, which was substantial in that period, came entirely from people of color.

But that trend appears to be officially over.

Census data released last week also shows that from 2010 to 2014, King County’s white population grew along with everyone else, with a net gain of about 41,000 people–bringing the number of whites in the county to nearly 1.3 million, the largest it’s ever been.


Even though the white population is increasing again, the county is still diversifying rapidly because all the other groups are growing at a much faster pace. In 2014, non-Hispanic whites made up 62.4 percent of the county population, a drop of 2.5 percentage points from 2010.

We’re still a long way off from becoming a “majority minority” county, though. At the current rate of change, that won’t happen until 2035.