King County report highlights inequities among non-whites

These pie charts can be found in King County
These pie charts can be found in King County's Equity and Social Justice Report at
— image credit: Courtesy of King County

King County released its first Equity and Social Justice Report this week, with the findings of the report showing that inequities exist along the lines of place, race and income in the county.

The report found that King County is increasingly diverse, with the non-white population of the county growing 13 percent from 1980 to 2010, with non-white residents making up 35 percent of the total population.

That trend is only expected to continue upward because of the fact that 50 percent of King County residents under age 18 are now non-white.

More than 100 languages are spoken throughout King County and 11 percent of county residents over age 5 have limited English proficiency, according to the county.

The report looked at the 14 "determinants" of equity, which are described as "the conditions in which county residents are born, grow, live, work and age."

Baselines were established and areas where improvement could be achieved were generated from those baselines. Some of the more startling statistics compiled by the report include:

• Life expectancy varies from a high of 86 years in one neighborhood, to a low of 77 years in another neighborhood.

• South King County and South Seattle have the greatest concentration of households below the median income. In 2010, African American and Native American households earned just over half of the median income of white households.

• The largest decline in home values has occurred in South King County communities, low-income areas and more racially diverse communities.

• The incarceration rate for African Americans in King County is roughly eight times the rate of incarceration for whites

• Food hardship has increased by half since 2007 in King County, and varies significantly by race. Nearly two in five Latino adults and more than one in five African American adults report food hardship.

"As the report shows, dramatic disparities continue to exist in King County, particularly in South King County," said King County Council member Julia Patterson, who represents parts of South King County, in a news release. "These findings will direct us in identifying solutions that increase the quality of life for all people regardless of your zip code, the size of your bank account or your ethnicity."

To read the full report, visit


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