Multiracial/Ethnic Households Growing in the Region

Research shows disparities for households of various racial groups

More than a quarter of a million households in the region are comprised of people from different racial or ethnic groups.

PSRC researched multiracial/ethnic households for the latest Puget Sound Trend.

Although multiracial/ethnic households make up 16% of the region’s total, they aren’t represented in the Census Bureau’s most common products. Standard Census Bureau data on households often relies on the race/ethnicity of just one person (the “householder”), who may be any adult within the household.

Why is it worth looking at how multiracial/ethnic households compare to other racial/ethnic groups?

First, we believe that representation matters. While nearly 270,000 households in our region are made up of members who self-identify as different races or ethnicities from each other, that’s often not reflected in the data reported.

Second, teasing out the multiracial/ethnic households helps us more accurately see the unique barriers and disparities households experience, which can equip us with information to close these gaps.

Many key data characteristics published by the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) and PSRC’s Household Travel Survey—such as income, vehicle ownership and housing costs—are available only at the household level.

The growth rate for this group over the last two decades has been faster than for the region’s households overall, growing from 11% of the region’s households in 2000 to 16% in 2019.

Of the racial/ethnic groups with the largest number of households, only Asian households grew more during the 2010s.

PSRC also looked at how median incomes have changed for racial/ethnic groups over the last decade.

Median incomes for multiracial/ethnic households and Black households grew at a rate similar to all households from 2010 to 2019. But incomes for Black and Hispanic/Latinx households remain well below the median for all households.

When the race/ethnicity of all household members is considered, the median income of households with only Black or African American members is even lower than it is in commonly used ACS data for households with a Black householder. For households with only Black members, it’s 56% of the region’s median income; for households with a Black householder, it’s 60%.

The same is true for Hispanic or Latinx households. The median income of households with only Hispanic or Latinx people is 67% of the median for all households, whereas the median income of households with a Hispanic or Latinx householder is 80%. Here we see how failing to account for multiracial households in our region, and the race/ethnicity of all household members, can mask the severity of these disparities.

It is important to note that the multiracial/ethnic households, by definition, have two or more people, while all other groups include single-person households, which are likely to have lower household incomes.

Understanding household composition helps us see a complete picture of the economic and social well-being of people around the region. Households make many decisions together that shape the landscape of our region: where to live, how many cars we own, and even where household members will go to work and school.

Visit psrc.org/equity to learn more about how we’re incorporating racial equity in our work and addressing the needs of marginalized communities in our region.