Posted on October 6, 2023

Seattle Grew More Racially Diverse in 2022, Census Data Shows

Gene Balk, Seattle Times, September 19, 2023

A significant increase in Seattle’s Asian population helped the city grow more racially diverse in 2022, according to census data released last week. And while Seattle remained a majority-white city, the white non-Hispanic population dipped below 60% for the first time.

The data, which comes from the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, shows Seattle’s Asian population hit an estimated 135,300 people last year, an increase of around 13,000 from 2021. Asian people accounted for 18.1% of the city’s total population last year, which was nearly 750,000.

An earlier release of census data showed immigration to King County rebounded in 2022 from the pandemic. Immigration has been the primary driver of growth for the county’s Asian population.

Another earlier release of census data showed a decline in the county’s white population in 2022. In Seattle, though, the white population was effectively unchanged from 2021, estimated at about 444,900. Even so, that number has dipped from a high of 473,200 in 2019. White people made up 59.4% of Seattle’s population in 2022, down from 60.1% the year before.

Throughout the previous decade, Seattle had the fifth-highest percentage of white residents among the 50 largest cities in the nation. But Seattle has diversified at a faster rate than some other large cities, and as of 2022, Seattle ranked seventh for the share of the population that is white. Portland had the highest percentage of white residents, at 65.8%, and was nearly tied with Colorado Springs, Colo., at 65.4%.

Among the nation’s 50 biggest cities, exactly half did not have a single racial or ethnic majority group. Seattle was in the other half that did have a majority group, and was among the 17 major cities with a white majority. {snip}