The last 20 years, by the numbers

Region has added nearly a million people since 2000

The Regional Data Profile is an easy way to find statistics about central Puget Sound. Here's a snapshot of where we are now—and where we were 20 years ago:

  • The four-county region now has 4,203,400 people. In 2000, we had 3,275,800. To put that in perspective, the region has added the equivalent of a Seattle and Tacoma in the last two decades.
  • The region’s density is 671 people per square mile, up from 528 in 2000.
  • With all of the new rental construction around the region and the high cost of homeownership, one might expect more people are renters today than in the past. But numbers show the region’s homes are currently 56.9% owner-occupied and 37.3% renter-occupied (5.7% are vacant), compared to 35.7% renter-occupied in 2000.
  • It's no surprise that employment has boomed in the last 20 years. In 2000, total employment, which includes uniformed military personnel, was 1.9 million. By the end of 2018, the region had 2.3 million jobs.
  • All counties except Pierce have higher poverty rates now than they did in 2000. The most recent estimate of people living in poverty ranges from 7.5% for Snohomish County to 9.3% in King County.
  • Daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has increased since 2000. That makes sense, since the population has also gone up. But we’re not driving at the rate we used to. As reported in a recent Puget Sound Trend, the latest estimate of 21.4 miles driven per person daily VMT is well below the peak of 24 miles per person in the late 1990s.
  • Driving alone to work has dropped steadily in the region since the millennium started. It was 71% in 2000; now 66% of workers are solo drivers. You can click on the chart bars below to see how commute methods have changed over time.
    • Data sources for these facts are noted in the Regional Data Profile.

      The Regional Data Profile covers demographics, economy, housing, and transportation. It has dozens of colorful infographics you’re free to re-use.

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