It turns out Seattle isn’t dying, contrary to popular belief. Brand new Census data shows that Seattle is once again the fastest-growing big city in the United States.
From July 2021 to July of 2022, the city had a net gain of about 17,750 people. Seattle’s total population is now 749,000.
The city’s growth rate for the year is 2.4%, which puts Seattle well in front of other metro areas around the country. The Seattle Times FYI Guy, Gene Balk, points out that this is even more remarkable because a lot of people moved from Seattle in the first year of the pandemic; the population dropped by about 9,000.
He also points out that all the other fastest-growing big cities last year have much warmer weather than we do. The rest of the top five are Fort Worth, Charlotte, Miami, and Jacksonville. They’re all in the Sunbelt. So if Seattle is so undesirable, why are so many people moving here?
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Let’s be clear. Seattle has problems. BIG problems. Homelessness, the drug crisis, a lack of affordable housing, out-of-control graffiti, a less-than-vibrant downtown, and a dysfunctional city council, just to name a few.
We talk about these issues every day on The Gee & Ursula Show. But Seattle is not dying. For everyone who’s leaving here because they think the city is a h***-hole, run by crazy socialists who want to burn Seattle to the ground, there are even more people who see the beauty of this city, the opportunities that it offers, and they are more than willing to move here.
For the last few years, many conservative politicians and media personalities work themselves into a frenzy, almost rooting for Seattle to fail so they can say “We told you so! It’s all the Democrat’s fault.” I see that sentiment shared by some of our listeners on our KIRO Newsradio text line every day. I just wish they would put as much energy into finding solutions for the problems that WE ALL AGREE need to be fixed.
What happens in Seattle affects every other city and community in this region. We all have a stake in Seattle’s success! And if you think the answer is that we need a change in leadership, we have a perfect opportunity to make a change. Seven seats on the city council will be voted on in November. Four incumbents are not running, including socialist Kshama Sawant.
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This is an opportunity for the local Republican party to field candidates who could appeal to moderate Seattle voters. Or for Independents to jump into the race. And before you say that a Republican candidate could never win, talk to Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison about how she did it.
The census data shows Seattle is not dying. But it will take all of us to do our part to make it live up to its full potential as a world-class city.
Most of King County’s losses were in the South End. Federal Way, Renton, SeaTac, Des Moines, Auburn, Burien, and Kent all lost population in 2022.
On the Eastside, both Sammamish and Kirkland lost population. Redmond, which has been among the fastest-growing cities in the state in recent years, only increased by 0.4% in population last year. But Bellevue had a strong growth rate of 2.0%, and Shoreline grew even faster, at 2.8%.
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.