This article is about the city.
For other uses, see Seattle (disambiguation).
|Incorporated||December 2, 1869|
|Named for||Chief Si'ahl|
|Body||Seattle City Council|
|Mayor||Jenny Durkan (D)|
|Deputy mayors||Michael Fong and Shefali Ranganathan|
|City||142.07 sq mi (367.97 km)|
|Land||83.99 sq mi (217.54 km)|
|Water||58.08 sq mi (150.43 km)|
|Metro||8,186 sq mi (21,202 km)|
|Elevation||175 ft (53 m)|
|Highest elevation||520 ft (158 m)|
|Lowest elevation||0 ft (0 m)|
|Density||8,973.18/sq mi (3,464.55/km)|
|Urban||3,059,393 (US: 14th)|
|Metro||3,979,845 (US: 15th)|
|CSA||4,903,675 (US: 14th)|
|Demonym(s)||Seattleite or Seattlite|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (PST)|
|Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (PDT)|
|ZIP Codes||ZIP Codes|
|GNIS feature ID||1512650|
In July 2013, Seattle was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the top five in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%.
In July 2016, Seattle ranked as the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate.
It is the northernmost large city in the United States, located about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canadian border.
A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the fourth-largest port in North America in terms of container handling as of 2015.
The Seattle area was inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent European settlers.
Internet retailer Amazon was founded in Seattle in 1994, and major airline Alaska Airlines is based in SeaTac, Washington, serving Seattle's international airport, Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.
The stream of new software, biotechnology, and Internet companies led to an economic revival, which increased the city's population by almost 50,000 between 1990 and 2000.
Seattle has a noteworthy musical history.
From 1918 to 1951, nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs existed along Jackson Street, from the current Chinatown/International District to the Central District.
Seattle is also the birthplace of rock musician Jimi Hendrix, as well as the origin of the bands Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters and the alternative rock movement grunge.
Archaeological excavations suggest that Native Americans have inhabited the Seattle area for at least 4,000 years.
Thirteen days later, members of the Collins Party on the way to their claim passed three scouts of the Denny Party.
Members of the Denny Party claimed land on Alki Point on September 28, 1851.
The rest of the Denny Party set sail from Portland, Oregon, and landed on Alki point during a rainstorm on November 13, 1851.
After a difficult winter, most of the Denny Party relocated across Elliott Bay and claimed land a second time at the site of present-day Pioneer Square, naming this new settlement Duwamps.
Charles Terry and John Low remained at the original landing location, reestablished their old land claim and called it "New York", but renamed "New York Alki" in April 1853, from a Chinook word meaning, roughly, "by and by" or "someday".
For the next few years, New York Alki and Duwamps competed for dominance, but in time Alki was abandoned and its residents moved across the bay to join the rest of the settlers.
David Swinson "Doc" Maynard, one of the founders of Duwamps, was the primary advocate to name the settlement Seattle after Chief Si'ahl (Lushootseed: siʔaɫ, anglicized as "Seattle") of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes.
A modern transliteration of the original Coast Salish settlements around Elliott Bay is rendered in Lushootseed as dᶻidᶻəlal̓ič.
In 1855, nominal land settlements were established.
On January 14, 1865, the Legislature of Territorial Washington incorporated the Town of Seattle with a board of trustees managing the city.
The Town of Seattle was disincorporated on January 18, 1867, and remained a mere precinct of King County until late 1869, when a new petition was filed and the city was re-incorporated December 2, 1869, with a mayor–council government.
The corporate seal of the City of Seattle carries the date "1869" and a likeness of Chief Si'ahl in left profile.
Seattle has a history of boom-and-bust cycles, like many other cities near areas of extensive natural and mineral resources.
Seattle has risen several times economically, then gone into precipitous decline, but it has typically used those periods to rebuild solid infrastructure.
The first such boom, covering the early years of the city, rode on the lumber industry.
The later dereliction of the area may be a possible origin for the term which later entered the wider American lexicon as Skid Row.
This violence originated with unemployed whites who were determined to drive the Chinese from Seattle (anti-Chinese riots also occurred in Tacoma).
In 1900, Asians were 4.2% of the population.
Authorities declared martial law and federal troops arrived to put down the disorder.
Seattle had achieved sufficient economic success that when the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 destroyed the central business district, a far grander city-center rapidly emerged in its place.
Finance company Washington Mutual, for example, was founded in the immediate wake of the fire.
However, the Panic of 1893 hit Seattle hard.
Gold Rush, World War I, and the Great Depression
In a short time, Seattle became a major transportation center.
Few of those working men found lasting wealth.
However, it was Seattle's business of clothing the miners and feeding them salmon that panned out in the long run.
Along with Seattle, other cities like Everett, Tacoma, Port Townsend, Bremerton, and Olympia, all in the Puget Sound region, became competitors for exchange, rather than mother lodes for extraction, of precious metals.
The boom lasted well into the early part of the 20th century, and funded many new Seattle companies and products.
Seattle brought in the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm to design a system of parks and boulevards.
A shipbuilding boom in the early part of the 20th century became massive during World War I, making Seattle somewhat of a company town.
A 1912 city development plan by Virgil Bogue went largely unused.
Seattle was mildly prosperous in the 1920s but was particularly hard hit in the Great Depression, experiencing some of the country's harshest labor strife in that era.
The Great Depression in Seattle affected many minority groups, one being the Asian Pacific Americans; they were subject to racism, loss of property, and failed claims of unemployment due to citizenship status.
The workers, mostly men, built roads, parks, dams, schools, railroads, bridges, docks, and even historical and archival record sites and buildings.
However, Seattle faced massive unemployment, loss of lumber and construction industries as Los Angeles prevailed as the bigger West Coast city.
The famous Hooverville arose during the Depression, leading to Seattle's growing homeless population.
Stationed outside Seattle, the Hooverville housed thousands of men but very very few children and no women.
With work projects close to the city, Hooverville grew and the WPA settled into the city.
A movement by women arose from Seattle during the Depression.
Fueled by Eleanor Roosevelt's book It's Up to the Women, women pushed for recognition, not just as housewives, but as the backbone to family.
Using newspapers and journals Working Woman and The Woman Today, women pushed to be seen as equal and receive some recognition.
Seattle's University of Washington was greatly affected during the Depression era.
As schools across Washington lost funding and attendance, the UW actually prospered during the time period.
While Seattle public schools were influenced by Washington's superintendent Worth McClure, they still struggled to pay teachers and maintain attendance.
The UW, despite academic challenges that plagued the college due to differing views on teaching and learning, focused on growth in student enrollment rather than improving the existing school.
His activities soon expanded, and the thrifty Greek went on and became one of America's greatest theater and movie tycoons.
Between Pantages and his rival John Considine, Seattle was for a while the western United States' vaudeville mecca.
The theaters he built for Pantages in Seattle have been either demolished or converted to other uses, but many other theaters survive in other cities of the U.S., often retaining the Pantages name.
Seattle's surviving Paramount Theatre, on which he collaborated, was not a Pantages theater.
Post-war years: aircraft and software
War work again brought local prosperity during World War II, this time centered on Boeing aircraft.
The war dispersed the city's numerous Japanese-American businessmen due to the Japanese American internment.
After the war, the local economy dipped.
It rose again with Boeing's growing dominance in the commercial airliner market.
Another major local economic downturn was in the late 1960s and early 1970s, at a time when Boeing was heavily affected by the oil crises, loss of government contracts, and costs and delays associated with the Boeing 747.
Many people left the area to look for work elsewhere, and two local real estate agents put up a billboard reading "Will the last person leaving Seattle – Turn out the lights."
Seattle remained the corporate headquarters of Boeing until 2001, when the company separated its headquarters from its major production facilities; the headquarters were moved to Chicago.
The Seattle area is still home to Boeing's Renton narrow-body plant (where the 707, 720, 727, and 757 were assembled, and the 737 is assembled today) and Everett wide-body plant (assembly plant for the 747, 767, 777, and 787).
On 20 March 1970, twenty-eight people were killed when the Ozark Hotel was burned by an unknown arsonist.
As prosperity began to return in the 1980s, the city was stunned by the Wah Mee massacre in 1983, when thirteen people were killed in an illegal gambling club in the Seattle Chinatown-International District.
Beginning with Microsoft's 1979 move from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to nearby Bellevue, Washington, Seattle and its suburbs became home to a number of technology companies including Amazon.com, F5 Networks, RealNetworks, Nintendo of America, McCaw Cellular (now part of AT&T Mobility), VoiceStream (now T-Mobile), and biomedical corporations such as HeartStream (later purchased by Philips), Heart Technologies (later purchased by Boston Scientific), Physio-Control (later purchased by Medtronic), ZymoGenetics, ICOS (later purchased by Eli Lilly and Company) and Immunex (later purchased by Amgen).
This success brought an influx of new residents with a population increase within city limits of almost 50,000 between 1990 and 2000, and saw Seattle's real estate become some of the most expensive in the country.
The dot-com boom caused a great frenzy among the technology companies in Seattle but the bubble ended in early 2001.
Seattle in this period attracted widespread attention as home to these many companies, but also by hosting the 1990 Goodwill Games and the APEC leaders conference in 1993, as well as through the worldwide popularity of grunge, a sound that had developed in Seattle's independent music scene.
Another bid for worldwide attention—hosting the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999—garnered visibility, but not in the way its sponsors desired, as related protest activity and police reactions to those protests overshadowed the conference itself.
This initiated a historic construction boom which resulted in the completion of almost 10,000 apartments in Seattle in 2017, which is more than any previous year and nearly twice as many as were built in 2016.
Beginning in 2010, and for the next five years, Seattle gained an average of 14,511 residents per year, with the growth strongly skewed toward the center of the city, as unemployment dropped from roughly 9 percent to 3.6 percent.
The city has found itself "bursting at the seams", with over 45,000 households spending more than half their income on housing and at least 2,800 people homeless, and with the country's sixth-worst rush hour traffic.
Situated at latitude 47°36'35"N, Seattle is the northernmost U.S. city with at least 500,000 people, farther north than Canadian cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, and at about the same latitude as Salzburg, Austria.
It has a land area of 83.9 square miles (217.3 km).
The topography of Seattle is hilly.
The city lies on several hills, including Capitol Hill, First Hill, West Seattle, Beacon Hill, Magnolia, Denny Hill, and Queen Anne.
The Kitsap and the Olympic peninsulas along with the Olympic mountains lie to the west of Puget Sound, while the Cascade Range and Lake Sammamish lie to the east of Lake Washington.
The city has over 5,540 acres (2,242 ha) of parkland.
Seattle is located between the saltwater Puget Sound (an arm of the Pacific Ocean) to the west and Lake Washington to the east.
The city's chief harbor, Elliott Bay, is part of Puget Sound, which makes the city an oceanic port.
To the west, beyond Puget Sound, are the Kitsap Peninsula and Olympic Mountains on the Olympic Peninsula; to the east, beyond Lake Washington and the Eastside suburbs, are Lake Sammamish and the Cascade Range.
Lake Washington's waters flow to Puget Sound through the Lake Washington Ship Canal (consisting of two man-made canals, Lake Union, and the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks at Salmon Bay, ending in Shilshole Bay on Puget Sound).
The sea, rivers, forests, lakes, and fields surrounding Seattle were once rich enough to support one of the world's few sedentary hunter-gatherer societies.
The surrounding area lends itself well to sailing, skiing, bicycling, camping, and hiking year-round.
The city itself is hilly, though not uniformly so.
Like Rome, the city is said to lie on seven hills; the lists vary but typically include Capitol Hill, First Hill, West Seattle, Beacon Hill, Queen Anne, Magnolia, and the former Denny Hill.
The Wallingford, Delridge, Mount Baker, Seward Park, Washington Park, Broadmoor, Madrona, Phinney Ridge, Sunset Hill, Blue Ridge, Broadview, Laurelhurst, Hawthorne Hills, Maple Leaf, and Crown Hill neighborhoods are all located on hills as well.
Many of the hilliest areas are near the city center, with Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Beacon Hill collectively constituting something of a ridge along an isthmus between Elliott Bay and Lake Washington.
The break in the ridge between First Hill and Beacon Hill is man-made, the result of two of the many regrading projects that reshaped the topography of the city center.
The topography of the city center was also changed by the construction of a seawall and the artificial Harbor Island (completed 1909) at the mouth of the city's industrial Duwamish Waterway, the terminus of the Green River.
The highest point within city limits is at High Point in West Seattle, which is roughly located near 35th Ave SW and SW Myrtle St. Other notable hills include Crown Hill, View Ridge/Wedgwood/Bryant, Maple Leaf, Phinney Ridge, Mt.
Baker Ridge, and Highlands/Carkeek/Bitterlake.
North of the city center, Lake Washington Ship Canal connects Puget Sound to Lake Washington.
Due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Seattle is in a major earthquake zone.
On February 28, 2001, the magnitude 6.8 Nisqually earthquake did significant architectural damage, especially in the Pioneer Square area (built on reclaimed land, as are the Industrial District and part of the city center), but caused only one fatality.
The 1965 quake caused three deaths in Seattle directly and one more by heart failure.
The Cascadia subduction zone poses the threat of an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 or greater, capable of seriously damaging the city and collapsing many buildings, especially in zones built on fill.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 142.5 square miles (369 km), 83.9 square miles (217 km) of which is land and 58.7 square miles (152 km), water (41.16% of the total area).
It has cool, wet winters and mild, relatively dry summers, covering characteristics of both.
The climate is sometimes characterized as a "modified Mediterranean" climate because it is cooler and wetter than a "true" Mediterranean climate, but shares the characteristic dry summer (which has a strong influence on the region's vegetation).
Thus extreme heat waves are rare in the Seattle area, as are very cold temperatures (below about 15 °F (−9 °C)).
The Seattle area is the cloudiest region of the United States, due in part to frequent storms and lows moving in from the adjacent Pacific Ocean.
With many more "rain days" than other major American cities, Seattle has a well-earned reputation for frequent rain.
In an average year, at least 0.01 inches (0.25 mm) of precipitation falls on 150 days, more than nearly all U.S. cities east of the Rocky Mountains.
However, due to the fact that Seattle often has merely a light drizzle falling from the sky for many days, Seattle actually receives significantly less rainfall (or other precipitation) overall than many other U.S. cities like New York City, Miami, or Houston.
Seattle is cloudy 201 days out of the year and partly cloudy 93 days.
(Official weather and climatic data is collected at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, located about 19 km (12 mi) south of downtown in the city of SeaTac, which is at a higher elevation, and records more cloudy days and fewer partly cloudy days per year.)
From 1981 to 2010, the average annual precipitation measured at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport was 37.49 inches (952 mm).
Annual precipitation has ranged from 23.78 in (604 mm) in 1952 to 55.14 in (1,401 mm) in 1950; for water year (October 1 – September 30) precipitation, the range is 23.16 in (588 mm) in 1976–77 to 51.82 in (1,316 mm) in 1996–97.
Due to local variations in microclimate, Seattle also receives significantly lower precipitation than some other locations west of the Cascades.
Sixty miles (95 km) to the south of Seattle, the state capital Olympia, which is out of the Olympic Mountains' rain shadow, receives an annual average precipitation of 50 in (1,270 mm).
The city of Bremerton, about 15 mi (24 km) west of downtown Seattle on the other side of the Puget Sound, receives 56.4 in (1,430 mm) of precipitation annually.
Conversely, the northeastern portion of the Olympic Peninsula, which lies east of the Olympic Mountains is located within the Olympic rain shadow and receives significantly less precipitation than its surrounding areas.
Prevailing airflow from the west expands and cools as it goes over the mountain range, resulting in high levels of precipitation within the mountains and its western slopes.
Once the airflow reaches the leeward side of the mountains, it then compresses and warms, and is significantly dryer.
Sequim, Washington, nicknamed "Sunny Sequim," is located approximately 40 mi (64 km) northwest of downtown Seattle and receives just 16.51 inches (419 mm) of annual precipitation, more comparable to that of Los Angeles.
Often an area devoid of cloud cover can be seen extending out over the Puget Sound to the north and east of Sequim.
On average Sequim observes 127 sunny days per year in addition to 127 days with partial cloud cover.
In November, Seattle averages more rainfall than any other U.S. city of more than 250,000 people; it also ranks highly in winter precipitation.
Conversely, the city receives some of the lowest precipitation amounts of any large city from June to September.
Seattle is one of the five rainiest major U.S. cities as measured by the number of days with precipitation, and it receives some of the lowest amounts of annual sunshine among major cities in the lower 48 states, along with some cities in the Northeast, Ohio, and Michigan.
Thunderstorms are rare, as the city reports thunder on just seven days per year.
Seattle experiences its heaviest rainfall during November, December, and January, receiving roughly half of its annual rainfall (by volume) during this period.
In late fall and early winter, atmospheric rivers (also known as "Pineapple Express" systems), strong frontal systems, and Pacific low-pressure systems are common.
Light rain and drizzle are the predominant forms of precipitation during the remainder of the year.
For instance, on average, less than 1.6 in (41 mm) of rain falls in July and August combined when rain is less common.
On occasion, Seattle experiences somewhat more significant weather events.
One such event occurred on December 2–4, 2007, when sustained hurricane-force winds and widespread heavy rainfall associated with a strong Pineapple Express event occurred in the greater Puget Sound area and the western parts of Washington and Oregon.
Precipitation totals exceeded 13.8 in (350 mm) in some areas with winds topping out at 209 km/h (130 mph) along coastal Oregon.
It became the second wettest event in Seattle history when a little over 130 mm (5.1 in) of rain fell on Seattle in a 24-hour period.
Lack of adaptation to the heavy rain contributed to five deaths, widespread flooding and damage.
Autumn, winter, and early spring are frequently characterized by rain.
Winters are cool and wet with December, the coolest month, averaging 40.6 °F (4.8 °C), with 28 annual days with lows that reach the freezing mark, and 2.0 days where the temperature stays at or below freezing all day; the temperature rarely lowers to 20 °F (−7 °C).
Summers are sunny, dry and warm, with August, the warmest month, with high temperatures averaging 76.1 °F (24.5 °C), and reaching 90 °F (32 °C) on 3.1 days per year.
In 2015 the city recorded 13 days over 90 °F.
The hottest officially recorded temperature was 103 °F (39 °C) on July 29, 2009; the coldest recorded temperature was 0 °F (−18 °C) on January 31, 1950; the record cold daily maximum is 16 °F (−9 °C) on January 14, 1950, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 71 °F (22 °C) the day the official record high was set.
The average window for freezing temperatures is November 16 through March 10, allowing a growing season of 250 days.
Seattle typically receives some snowfall on an annual basis but heavy snow is rare.
Average annual snowfall, as measured at Sea-Tac Airport, is 6.8 inches (17.3 cm).
From winter season to winter season, amounts can be extremely variable.
A single calendar-day snowfall of six inches (15 cm) or greater has occurred on only 17 days since 1948, and only three times since February 17, 1990; 6.8 in (17.3 cm) of snow officially fell at Sea-Tac airport on January 18, 2012.
This 2012 moderate snow event was officially the 12th snowiest calendar day at the airport since 1948 and snowiest since November 1985.
Locations to the south of Seattle received more, with Olympia and Chehalis receiving 14 to 18 in (36 to 46 cm).
Much of the city of Seattle proper received somewhat lesser snowfall accumulations.
Another moderate snow event occurred from December 12–25, 2008, when over one foot (30 cm) of snow fell and stuck on much of the roads over those two weeks, when temperatures remained below 32 °F (0 °C), causing widespread difficulties in a city not equipped for clearing snow.
In February 2019, Seattle experienced its snowiest month in 50 years (since January 1969), with 20.2 inches of snow, all from February 3–11, with 6.4 inches on Feb. 8 and 6.1 more inches on Feb. 11.
The largest documented snowstorm occurred from January 5–9, 1880, with snow drifting to 6 feet (1.8 m) in places at the end of the snow event.
From January 31 to February 2, 1916, another heavy snow event occurred with 29 in (74 cm) of snow on the ground by the time the event was over.
With official records dating to 1948, the largest single-day snowfall is 20.0 in (51 cm) on January 13, 1950.
Seasonal snowfall has ranged from zero in 1991–92 to 67.5 in (171 cm) in 1968–69, with trace amounts having occurred as recently as 2009–10.
The month of January 1950 was particularly severe, bringing 57.2 in (145 cm) of snow, the most of any month along with the aforementioned record cold.
The Puget Sound Convergence Zone is an important feature of Seattle's weather.
In the convergence zone, air arriving from the north meets air flowing in from the south.
Both streams of air originate over the Pacific Ocean; airflow is split by the Olympic Mountains to Seattle's west, then reunited to the east.
When the air currents meet, they are forced upward, resulting in convection.
Thunderstorms caused by this activity are usually weak and can occur north and south of town, but Seattle itself rarely receives more than occasional thunder and small hail showers.
The Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm in December 2006 is an exception that brought heavy rain and winds gusting up to 69 mph (111 km/h), an event that was not caused by the Puget Sound Convergence Zone and was widespread across the Pacific Northwest.
One of many exceptions to Seattle's reputation as a damp location occurs in El Niño years, when marine weather systems track as far south as California and less than the usual precipitation falls in the Puget Sound area.
Since the region's water comes from mountain snow packs during the dry summer months, El Niño winters can not only produce substandard skiing but can result in water rationing and a shortage of hydroelectric power the following summer.
According to the 2012-2016 American Community Survey (ACS), the racial makeup of the city was 65.7% White Non-Hispanic, 14.1% Asian, 7.0% Black or African American, 6.6% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 0.4% Native American, 0.9% Pacific Islander, 0.2% other races, and 5.6% two or more races.
Main article: Demographics of Seattle
|Black or African American||7.9%||10.1%||7.1%||1.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||6.6%||3.6%||2.0%||n/a|
|Two or more races||5.1%||n/a||n/a||n/a|
According to the 2010 United States Census, Seattle had a population of 608,660 with a racial and ethnic composition as follows:
- White: 69.5% (Non-Hispanic Whites: 66.3%)
- Asian: 13.8% (4.1% Chinese, 2.6% Filipino, 2.2% Vietnamese, 1.3% Japanese, 1.1% Korean, 0.8% Indian, 0.3% Cambodian, 0.3% Laotian, 0.2% Pakistanis, 0.2% Indonesian, 0.2% Thai)
- Black or African American: 7.9%
- Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 6.6% (4.1% Mexican, 0.3% Puerto Rican, 0.2% Guatemalan, 0.2% Salvadoran, 0.2% Cuban)
- American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.8%
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.4%
- Other race: 2.4%
- Two or more races: 5.1%
Seattle's population historically has been predominantly white.
The 2010 census showed that Seattle was one of the whitest big cities in the country, although its proportion of white residents has been gradually declining.
In 1960, whites constituted 91.6% of the city's population, while in 2010 they constituted 69.5%.
According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, approximately 78.9% of residents over the age of five spoke only English at home.
Those who spoke Asian languages other than Indo-European languages made up 10.2% of the population, Spanish was spoken by 4.5% of the population, speakers of other Indo-European languages made up 3.9%, and speakers of other languages made up 2.5%.
Seattle's foreign-born population grew 40% between the 1990 and 2000 censuses.
The earliest Chinese-Americans that came in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were almost entirely from Guangdong Province.
The Seattle-Tacoma area is also home to one of the largest Cambodian communities in the United States, numbering about 19,000 Cambodian Americans, and one of the largest Samoan communities in the mainland U.S., with over 15,000 people having Samoan ancestry.
Additionally, the Seattle area had the highest percentage of self-identified mixed-race people of any large metropolitan area in the United States, according to the 2000 United States Census Bureau.
According to a 2012 HistoryLink study, Seattle's 98118 ZIP code (in the Columbia City neighborhood) was one of the most diverse ZIP Code Tabulation Areas in the United States.
According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, the largest religious groupings are Christians (52%), followed by those of no religion (37%), Hindus (2%), Buddhists (2%), Jews (1%), Muslims (1%) and a variety of other religions have smaller followings.
According to the ACS 1-year estimates, in 2018, the median income of a city household was $93,481, and the median income for a family was $130,656.
11.0% of the population and 6.6% of families were below the poverty line.
Of people living in poverty, 11.4% were under the age of 18 and 10.9% were 65 or older.
It is estimated that King County has 8,000 homeless people on any given night, and many of those live in Seattle.
In September 2005, King County adopted a "Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness", one of the near-term results of which is a shift of funding from homeless shelter beds to permanent housing.
In recent years, the city has experienced steady population growth, and has been faced with the issue of accommodating more residents.
In 2006, after growing by 4,000 citizens per year for the previous 16 years, regional planners expected the population of Seattle to grow by 200,000 people by 2040.
However, former mayor Greg Nickels supported plans that would increase the population by 60%, or 350,000 people, by 2040 and worked on ways to accommodate this growth while keeping Seattle's single-family housing zoning laws.
The Seattle City Council later voted to relax height limits on buildings in the greater part of Downtown, partly with the aim to increase residential density in the city center.
As a sign of increasing downtown core growth, the Downtown population crested to over 60,000 in 2009, up 77% since 1990.
Seattle has a relatively high number of adults living alone.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census interim measurements of 2004, Seattle has the fifth highest proportion of single-person households nationwide among cities of 100,000 or more residents, at 40.8%.
Seattle has a notably large lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
According to a 2006 study by UCLA, 12.9% of city residents polled identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
This was the second-highest proportion of any major U.S. city, behind San Francisco.
Greater Seattle also ranked second among major U.S. metropolitan areas, with 6.5% of the population identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
According to 2012 estimates from the United States Census Bureau, Seattle has the highest percentage of same-sex households in the United States, at 2.6 percent, surpassing San Francisco (2.5 percent).
See also: List of companies based in Seattle
Seattle's economy is driven by a mix of older industrial companies, and "new economy" Internet and technology companies, service, design, and clean technology companies.
The city's gross metropolitan product (GMP) was $231 billion in 2010, making it the 11th largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
It also is the 8th largest port in the United States when measured by container capacity.
Although it was affected by the Great Recession, Seattle has retained a comparatively strong economy, and is noted for start-up businesses, especially in green building and clean technologies.
In February 2010, the city government committed Seattle to become North America's first "climate neutral" city, with a goal of reaching zero net per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Large companies continue to dominate the business landscape.
Five companies on Fortune 500's 2017 list of the United States' largest companies (based on total revenue) are headquartered in Seattle: Internet retailer Amazon.com (#12), coffee chain Starbucks (#131), department store Nordstrom (#188), forest products company Weyerhaeuser (#341) and freight forwarder Expeditors International of Washington (#429).
Other Fortune 500 companies commonly associated with Seattle are based in nearby Puget Sound cities.
Furthermore, Bellevue is home to truck manufacturer Paccar (#164).
Other major companies headquartered in the area include Nintendo of America in Redmond, T-Mobile US in Bellevue, Expedia Inc. in Bellevue, and Providence Health & Services (the state's largest health care system and fifth largest employer) in Renton.
There are also many successful independent artisanal espresso roasters and cafés.
Before moving its headquarters to Chicago, aerospace manufacturer Boeing (#24) was the largest company based in Seattle.
Its largest division, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, is still headquartered in nearby Renton.
The company also has large aircraft manufacturing plants in Everett and Renton; it remains the largest private employer in the Seattle metropolitan area.
In 2006 former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels announced a desire to spark a new economic boom driven by the biotechnology industry.
Major redevelopment of the South Lake Union neighborhood is underway in an effort to attract new and established biotech companies to the city, joining biotech companies Corixa (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline), Immunex (now part of Amgen), Trubion, and ZymoGenetics.
While some see the new development as an economic boon, others have criticized Nickels and the Seattle City Council for pandering to Allen's interests at taxpayers' expense.
In 2005, Forbes ranked Seattle as the most expensive American city for buying a house based on the local income levels.
Owing largely to the rapidly increasing cost of living, Seattle and Washington State have some of the highest minimum wages in the country, at $15 per hour for smaller businesses and $16 for the city's largest employers.
Seattle is a hub for global health with the headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, Infectious Disease Research Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
In 2015, the Washington Global Health Alliance counted 168 global health organizations in Washington state.
Many are headquartered in Seattle.
Many of Seattle's neighborhoods host one or more street fairs or parades.
From 1869 until 1982, Seattle was known as the "Queen City".
Seattle's official nickname is the "Emerald City", the result of a contest held in 1981; the reference is to the lush evergreen forests of the area.
Seattle is also referred to informally as the "Gateway to Alaska" for being the nearest major city in the contiguous U.S. to Alaska, "Rain City" for its frequent cloudy and rainy weather, and "Jet City" from the local influence of Boeing.
The city has two official slogans or mottos: "The City of Flowers", meant to encourage the planting of flowers to beautify the city, and "The City of Goodwill", adopted prior to the 1990 Goodwill Games.
Seattle residents are known as Seattleites.
Main article: Arts in Seattle
Seattle has been a regional center for the performing arts for many years.
The Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet, which perform at McCaw Hall (opened in 2003 on the site of the former Seattle Opera House at Seattle Center), are comparably distinguished, with the Opera being particularly known for its performances of the works of Richard Wagner and the PNB School (founded in 1974) ranking as one of the top three ballet training institutions in the United States.
The Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO) is the largest symphonic youth organization in the United States.
The 5th Avenue Theatre, built in 1926, stages Broadway-style musical shows featuring both local talent and international stars.
Seattle has "around 100" theatrical production companies and over two dozen live theatre venues, many of them associated with fringe theatre; Seattle is probably second only to New York for number of equity theaters (28 Seattle theater companies have some sort of Actors' Equity contract).
Between 1918 and 1951, there were nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs along Jackson Street, running from the current Chinatown/International District to the Central District.
Early popular musical acts from the Seattle/Puget Sound area include the collegiate folk group The Brothers Four, vocal group The Fleetwoods, 1960s garage rockers The Wailers and The Sonics, and instrumental surf group The Ventures, some of whom are still active.
Seattle is considered the home of grunge music, having produced artists such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Mudhoney, all of whom reached international audiences in the early 1990s.
The city is also home to such varied artists as avant-garde jazz musicians Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz, hot jazz musician Glenn Crytzer, hip hop artists Sir Mix-a-Lot, Macklemore, Blue Scholars, and Shabazz Palaces, smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G, classic rock staples Heart and Queensrÿche, and alternative rock bands such as Foo Fighters, Harvey Danger, The Presidents of the United States of America, The Posies, Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Death Cab for Cutie, and Fleet Foxes.
The Seattle-based Sub Pop record company continues to be one of the world's best-known independent/alternative music labels.
Over the years, a number of songs have been written about Seattle.
Seattle annually sends a team of spoken word slammers to the National Poetry Slam and considers itself home to such performance poets as Buddy Wakefield, two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champ; Anis Mojgani, two-time National Poetry Slam Champ; and Danny Sherrard, 2007 National Poetry Slam Champ and 2008 Individual World Poetry Slam Champ.
Seattle also hosted the 2001 national Poetry Slam Tournament.
The Seattle Poetry Festival is a biennial poetry festival that (launched first as the Poetry Circus in 1997) has featured local, regional, national, and international names in poetry.
See also: Museums and galleries of Seattle
Among Seattle's prominent annual fairs and festivals are the 24-day Seattle International Film Festival, Northwest Folklife over the Memorial Day weekend, numerous Seafair events throughout July and August (ranging from a Bon Odori celebration to the Seafair Cup hydroplane races), the Bite of Seattle, one of the largest Gay Pride festivals in the United States, and the art and music festival Bumbershoot, which programs music as well as other art and entertainment over the Labor Day weekend.
Other significant events include numerous Native American pow-wows, a Greek Festival hosted by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Montlake, and numerous ethnic festivals (many associated with Festál at Seattle Center).
There are other annual events, ranging from the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair & Book Arts Show; an anime convention, Sakura-Con; Penny Arcade Expo, a gaming convention; a two-day, 9,000-rider Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic; and specialized film festivals, such as the Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival, the Seattle Asian American Film Festival (formerly known as the Northwest Asian American Film Festival), Children's Film Festival Seattle, Translation: the Seattle Transgender Film Festival, the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Seattle Latino Film Festival, and the Seattle Polish Film Festival.
The Henry Art Gallery opened in 1927, the first public art museum in Washington.
The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) opened in 1933 and moved to their current downtown location in 1991 (expanded and reopened in 2007); since 1991, the 1933 building has been SAM's Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM).
SAM also operates the Olympic Sculpture Park (opened in 2007) on the waterfront north of the downtown piers.
Seattle has artist-run galleries, including ten-year veteran Soil Art Gallery, and the newer Crawl Space Gallery.
The city also has many community centers for recreation, including Rainier Beach, Van Asselt, Rainier, and Jefferson south of the Ship Canal and Green Lake, Laurelhurst, Loyal Heights north of the Canal, and Meadowbrook.
The Seattle Aquarium has been open on the downtown waterfront since 1977 (undergoing a renovation in 2006).
The Seattle Underground Tour is an exhibit of places that existed before the Great Fire.
Since the middle 1990s, Seattle has experienced significant growth in the cruise industry, especially as a departure point for Alaska cruises.
In 2008, a record total of 886,039 cruise passengers passed through the city, surpassing the number for Vancouver, BC, the other major departure point for Alaska cruises.
Main article: Sports in Seattle
|Seattle Seahawks||American football||NFL||Lumen Field (69,000)||1976||1||69,005|
|Seattle Mariners||Baseball||MLB||T-Mobile Park (47,574)||1977||0||46,596|
|Seattle Kraken||Ice hockey||NHL||Climate Pledge Arena (TBD)||2021||—||—|
|Seattle Sounders FC||Soccer||MLS||Lumen Field (69,000)||2007||2||69,274|
|Seattle Seawolves||Rugby||MLR||Starfire Sports (4,500)||2017||2||4,500|
|Seattle Dragons||American football||XFL||Lumen Field (69,000)||2018||—||—|
|Seattle Storm||Women's basketball||WNBA||Climate Pledge Arena (TBD)||2000||4||7,486|
Seattle has four major men's professional sports teams: the National Football League (NFL)'s Seattle Seahawks, Major League Baseball (MLB)'s Seattle Mariners, and Major League Soccer (MLS)'s Seattle Sounders FC playing currently, and the National Hockey League (NHL)'s Seattle Kraken beginning play in 2021.
Other professional sports teams include the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)'s Seattle Storm, who won the WNBA championship on four occasions in 2004, 2010, 2018, and 2020; and Major League Rugby (MLR)'s Seattle Seawolves, who won back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019.
Seahawks fans have set stadium noise records on several occasions and are collectively known as the "12th Man".
Seattle Sounders FC has played in Major League Soccer since 2009, sharing Lumen Field with the Seahawks, as a continuation of earlier teams in the lower divisions of American soccer.
The team set various attendance records in its first few seasons, averaging over 43,000 per match and placing themselves among the top 30 teams internationally.
The Sounders would play their first MLS Cup at Lumen Field in 2019, once again against Toronto FC, and won the game 3–1, earning their second MLS Cup title in front of a club-record attendance of 69,274.
The team began play in 2018 and won the league's inaugural championship.
They successfully defended the title in the 2019 season.
Seattle was awarded a Major League Baseball franchise, the Seattle Pilots, in 1969.
The city, alongside the county and state governments, sued the league and was offered a second expansion team, the Seattle Mariners, as settlement.
The Mariners began play in 1977 at the Kingdome, where the team struggled for most of its time.
The Mariners have never reached a World Series and only appeared in the MLB playoffs four times, all between 1995 and 2001, despite having Hall of Fame players and candidates like Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Ichiro Suzuki, and Alex Rodriguez.
The team tied the all-time single regular season wins record in 2001 with 116 wins.
Since 2001, the Mariners have failed to qualify for the playoffs—the longest active postseason drought in North American sports, at 18 seasons.
Following a team sale in 2006, a failed effort to replace the aging KeyArena, and settlement of a lawsuit to hold the team to the final two years of its lease with the city, the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder ahead of the 2008–09 season.
The league suspended operations five weeks into its inaugural season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, eventually filed for bankruptcy, and had its assets sold.
Though the league plans to return in 2022, it has not announced if the Dragons or any of the seven other charter teams will resume play.
The University of Washington's athletic program, nicknamed the Huskies, competes in the Pac-12 Conference, and Seattle University's athletic program, nicknamed the Redhawks, mostly competes in the Western Athletic Conference.
The two schools have basketball and soccer teams that compete against each other in non-conference games and have formed a local rivalry due to their sporting success.
A major renovation of what was KeyArena (now Climate Pledge Arena) began in 2018 to accommodate the NHL team.
The NHL ownership group reached its goal of 10,000 deposits within 12 minutes of opening a ticket drive, which later increased to 25,000 in 75 minutes.
Parks and recreation
Main article: Seattle Parks and Recreation
Seattle's mild, temperate, marine climate allows year-round outdoor recreation, including walking, cycling, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, motor boating, sailing, team sports, and swimming.
In town, many people walk around Green Lake, through the forests and along the bluffs and beaches of 535-acre (2.2 km) Discovery Park (the largest park in the city) in Magnolia, along the shores of Myrtle Edwards Park on the Downtown waterfront, along the shoreline of Lake Washington at Seward Park, along Alki Beach in West Seattle, or along the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Located across Lake Union from downtown, the park provides panoramic views of the Seattle skyline.
Government and politics
From 1911 to 2013, Seattle's nine city councillors were elected at large, rather than by geographic subdivisions.
For the 2015 election, this changed to a hybrid system of seven district members and two at-large members as a result of a ballot measure passed on November 5, 2013.
The only other elected offices are the city attorney and Municipal Court judges.
All city offices are officially non-partisan.
Like some other parts of the United States, government and laws are also run by a series of ballot initiatives (allowing citizens to pass or reject laws), referenda (allowing citizens to approve or reject legislation already passed), and propositions (allowing specific government agencies to propose new laws or tax increases directly to the people).
The mayor's office also includes two deputy mayors, appointed to advise the mayor on policies.
As of 2017, the city's deputy mayors are Michael Fong and Shefali Ranganathan.
Although local elections are nonpartisan, most of the city's elected officials are known to be Democrats.
In 1926, Seattle became the first major American city to elect a female mayor, Bertha Knight Landes.
For the first time in United States history, an openly gay black woman was elected to public office when Sherry Harris was elected as a Seattle city councillor in 1991.
The majority of the city council is female.
Federally, Seattle is split between two congressional districts.
She succeeded 28-year incumbent and fellow Democrat Jim McDermott.
Seattle is widely considered one of the most socially liberal cities in the United States, even surpassing Portland.
In the 2012 U.S. general election, a majority of Seattleites voted to approve Referendum 74 and legalize gay marriage in Washington state.
In the same election, an overwhelming majority of Seattleites also voted to approve the legalization of the recreational use of cannabis in the state.
Like much of the Pacific Northwest (which has the lowest rate of church attendance in the United States and consistently reports the highest percentage of atheism), church attendance, religious belief, and political influence of religious leaders are much lower than in other parts of America.
In July 2012, Seattle banned plastic shopping bags.
When fully implemented the $15 hourly rate will be the highest minimum wage in the nation.
On October 6, 2014, Seattle officially replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day, honoring Seattle's Native American community and acknowledging the controversies surrounding the legacy of Christopher Columbus.
On May 9, 2017, Mayor Murray announced he would not seek re-election following a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of several teenaged boys in the 1980s.
In July 2017, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved an income tax on Seattle residents, making the city the only one in the state with an income tax.
The new income tax was ruled unconstitutional by the King County Superior Court.
The Court of Appeals upheld that ruling.
The Washington Supreme Court declined to hear the case, maintaining the tax as unconstitutional and unenforceable.
Main article: Education in Seattle
A 2008 United States Census Bureau survey showed that Seattle had the highest percentage of college and university graduates of any major U.S. city.
The city was listed as the most literate of the country's 69 largest cities in 2005 and 2006, the second most literate in 2007 and the most literate in 2008 in studies conducted by Central Connecticut State University.
Seattle Public Schools desegregated without a court order but continue to struggle to achieve racial balance in a somewhat ethnically divided city (the south part of town having more ethnic minorities than the north).
In 2007, Seattle's racial tie-breaking system was struck down by the United States Supreme Court, but the ruling left the door open for desegregation formulae based on other indicators (e.g., income or socioeconomic class).
The 2017 U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Washington at No.
11 in the world, tied with Johns Hopkins University.
The UW receives more federal research and development funding than any public institution.
Over the last 10 years, it has also produced more Peace Corps volunteers than any other U.S. university.
Seattle also has a number of smaller private universities including Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University, the former a Jesuit Catholic institution, the latter a Free Methodist institution.
In 2001, Time magazine selected Seattle Central Community College as community college of the year, saying that the school "pushes diverse students to work together in small teams".
Main article: Media in Seattle
As of 2019, Seattle has one major daily newspaper, The Seattle Times.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, known as the P-I, published a daily newspaper from 1863 to March 17, 2009, before switching to a strictly on-line publication.
The weekly LGBT newspaper is the Seattle Gay News.
Seattle is also well served by television and radio, with all major U.S. networks represented, along with at least five other English-language stations and two Spanish-language stations.
Other non-commercial stations include KEXP-FM 90.3 (affiliated with the UW), community radio KBCS-FM 91.3 (affiliated with Bellevue College), and high school radio KNHC-FM 89.5, which broadcasts an electronic dance music radio format, is owned by the public school system and operated by students of Nathan Hale High School.
Many Seattle radio stations are available through Internet radio, with KEXP in particular being a pioneer of Internet radio.
Seattle also has numerous commercial radio stations.
In a March 2012 report by the consumer research firm Arbitron, the top FM stations were KRWM (adult contemporary format), KIRO-FM (news/talk), and KISW (active rock) while the top AM stations were KOMO (AM) (all news), KJR (AM) (all sports), KIRO (AM) (all sports).
Seattle also has many online news media websites.
The two largest are The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Main article: Medical facilities of Seattle
The University of Washington is consistently ranked among the country's leading institutions in medical research, earning special merits for programs in neurology and neurosurgery.
Seattle has seen local developments of modern paramedic services with the establishment of Medic One in 1970.
In 1974, a 60 Minutes story on the success of the then four-year-old Medic One paramedic system called Seattle "the best place in the world to have a heart attack".
Three of Seattle's largest medical centers are located on First Hill.
This concentration of hospitals resulted in the neighborhood's nickname "Pill Hill".
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has a campus in the Eastlake neighborhood.
The University District is home to the University of Washington Medical Center which, along with Harborview, is operated by the University of Washington.
Main article: Transportation in Seattle
Further information: Street layout of Seattle
The first streetcars appeared in 1889 and were instrumental in the creation of a relatively well-defined downtown and strong neighborhoods at the end of their lines.
The advent of the automobile sounded the death knell for rail in Seattle.
Tacoma–Seattle railway service ended in 1929 and the Everett–Seattle service came to an end in 1939, replaced by automobiles running on the recently developed highway system.
This left an extensive network of privately owned buses (later public) as the only mass transit within the city and throughout the region.
Seattle is one of the few cities in North America whose bus fleet includes electric trolleybuses.
Sound Transit provides an express bus service within the metropolitan area, two Sounder commuter rail lines between the suburbs and downtown, and its Central Link light rail line between the University of Washington and Angle Lake.
Washington State Ferries, which manages the largest network of ferries in the United States and third largest in the world, connects Seattle to Bainbridge and Vashon Islands in Puget Sound and to Bremerton and Southworth on the Kitsap Peninsula.
According to the 2007 American Community Survey, 18.6% of Seattle residents used one of the three public transit systems that serve the city, giving it the highest transit ridership of all major cities without heavy or light rail prior to the completion of Sound Transit's Central Link line.
Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, locally known as Sea-Tac Airport and located just south in the neighboring city of SeaTac, is operated by the Port of Seattle and provides commercial air service to destinations throughout the world.
Closer to downtown, Boeing Field is used for general aviation, cargo flights, and testing/delivery of Boeing airliners.
It is predominantly used by Boeing and their large assembly plant located nearby.
The main mode of transportation, however, is Seattle's streets, which are laid out in a cardinal directions grid pattern, except in the central business district where early city leaders Arthur Denny and Carson Boren insisted on orienting their plats relative to the shoreline rather than to true North.
From 1953 to 2019, State Route 99 ran through downtown Seattle on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, an elevated freeway on the waterfront.
However, due to damage sustained during the 2001 Nisqually earthquake the viaduct will be replaced by a tunnel.
The 2-mile (3.2 km) Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel was originally scheduled to be completed in December 2015 at a cost of US$4.25 billion.
The tunnel's opening was delayed to February 2019 due to issues with the tunnel boring machine, which included a two-year halt in excavation.
Seattle has the 8th worst traffic congestion of all American cities, and is 10th among all North American cities according to Inrix.
The city has started moving away from the automobile and towards mass transit.
From 2004 to 2009, the annual number of unlinked public transportation trips increased by approximately 21%.
After rejecting a roads and transit measure in 2007, Seattle-area voters passed a transit only measure in 2008 to increase ST Express bus service, extend the Link light rail system, and expand and improve Sounder commuter rail service.
A light rail line from downtown heading south to Sea-Tac Airport began service on December 19, 2009, giving the city its first rapid transit line with intermediate stations within the city limits.
An extension north to the University of Washington opened on March 19, 2016 and further extensions are planned to reach Northgate and Lynnwood to the north, Federal Way to the south, and Bellevue and Redmond to the east by 2024.
Voters in the Puget Sound region approved an additional tax increase in November 2016 to expand light rail to West Seattle and Ballard as well as Tacoma, Everett, and Issaquah.
Main article: Utilities of Seattle
Other utility companies serving Seattle include Puget Sound Energy (natural gas, electricity), Seattle Steam Company (steam), Waste Management, Inc and Recology CleanScapes (curbside recycling, composting, and solid waste removal), CenturyLink, Frontier Communications, Wave Broadband, and Comcast (telecommunications and television).
Less than 2% of electricity is produced using fossil fuels.
Main article: List of people from Seattle
See also: List of Seattle sister cities
Seattle is partnered with:
- List of neighborhoods in Seattle
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Seattle, Washington
- Seattle Freeze
- Seattle process
- Seattle tugboats
- Smog Watch
- Tillicum Village
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle.