Region becoming more diverse

Seven cities have majority-minority population

The racial and ethnic diversity of the central Puget Sound has been steadily increasing over the last two and a half decades.

People of color today comprise 35% of the region’s total population, more than double the share in 1990 (15%). The region has been diversifying at a far faster pace than the nation as a whole.

Growth among people of color represents three-fourths (76%) of the region’s population increase since 1990 (92% in King, 52% in Kitsap, 66% in Pierce, and 60% in Snohomish).

Hispanics/Latinos are the region’s fastest growing minority group, more than quadrupling in size between 1990 and 2016 (382% increase) to comprise 10% of the region’s population today.

Asian/Pacific Islanders were the second fastest growing minority group (221% increase since 1990) and now represent 13% of the region’s population.

Note: Some portion of the increase may be attributable to a change made in how the Census Bureau tracks race, with the addition of a “2 or more races” category beginning with the 2000 Census.

People of color are far more broadly dispersed throughout the region today compared to 1990, in both urban and suburban areas.

This includes significant increases in diversity across wide areas of south King and Pierce counties, along with many other centers and neighborhoods in east King County, southwest Snohomish County, and other parts of the region. There are now seven cities in the region – Tukwila, SeaTac, Fife, Renton, Kent, Federal Way, and Bellevue – with majority-minority populations.

Racial and Ethnic Distribution

Click on the maps to view larger versions.
Map of Race and Ethnicity in the Central Puget Sound Region 1990 Map of Race and Ethnicity in the Central Puget Sound Region 2012-2016

At the same time, geographic patterns of racial and ethnic segregation are still apparent with numerous census tracts showing very small or very large shares of minority population.

Historical communities of color in the region’s urban cores have experienced significant displacement pressures.

With the update of PSRC’s VISION 2050, data on the changing demographic makeup of communities will be important in addressing social equity impacts and benefits now and in the future as the region grows.