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Poverty rates hold steady, average incomes continue to increase in Seattle area and Washington state

Published on September 19, 2018

Image Credit: Maxpixel: CC0 Public Domain

The share of Washingtonians living below the federal poverty threshold declined slightly from 11.3 percent to 11 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to new Census data released Thursday. While this change was not statistically significant, the 2017 poverty rate remains below the post-recession high of 14.1 percent in 2013.

Washington was one of 28 states and the District of Columbia where poverty rates remained statistically unchanged from the prior year. During that period, poverty rates declined in 20 states and increased in two states (Delaware and West Virginia).

There was a small but statistically significant decline in the poverty rate in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area, from 9.6 percent in 2016 to 9 percent in 2017, but the 2017 rates remained statistically unchanged in King County and Seattle (9.3 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively).

“I would have liked to see a real decline in poverty given the income gains reported,” said Jennifer Romich, director of the West Coast Poverty Center at the University of Washington and a Professor in the School of Social Work. “The slow progress and local stagnation on poverty stands in contrast to how well middle and higher-earning households are doing.”


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Originally posted on UW News by Kim Eckart
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