Here Are the Highest and Lowest Income Areas in Washington


Washington has one of the highest median household incomes in the US, at $92,629¹. Nonetheless, income levels varied greatly between parts of the state. This article digs into Washington’s high and low-income neighborhoods, investigating the variables that contribute to these economic discrepancies.

Areas With the Highest Income

Drawing on 2010 census data and the 2006-2010 American Community Survey, King County has the highest per capita income in Washington, at $38,211. King County, which includes Seattle, the state’s largest city, is a key hub for technology, business, and culture.

Influential corporations like as Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and Boeing contribute to the country’s economic development. Furthermore, the county has a high level of education, with 37% of individuals having earned a bachelor’s degree or above.

Other high-income regions in Washington include San Juan County ($35,487), Snohomish County ($30,635), Kitsap County ($29,755), and Thurston County ($29,707). These counties, largely located in the state’s central or western regions around Puget Sound or the Pacific Ocean, benefit from their closeness to urban areas, natural resources, tourism, and recreation opportunities.

Areas With the Lowest Income

Pend Oreille County has the lowest per capita income in Washington, at $19,291. Pend Oreille County, located in the northeast part of the state and bordering Idaho and Canada, is distinguished by its pastoral landscape and small population of 13,001 people.

Agriculture, forestry, mining, and hydroelectric power are major contributors to the local economy. The county also has a low level of education, with just 16% of individuals possessing a bachelor’s degree or above.

Other lower-income areas in Washington include Ferry County ($19,324), Adams County ($16,689), Yakima County ($19,325), and Franklin County ($18,660). These counties, which are primarily located in the state’s eastern or southern regions, suffer issues such as poverty, unemployment, poor infrastructure, and restricted access to healthcare and education.

Causes and Effects of Income Inequality

The income disparity in Washington reflects national patterns of economic division. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest 1% of Washington’s income earners received 21.7% of total state revenue in 2015, leaving the rest 99% with 78.3%. The economic discrepancy has grown over time, with the wealthiest 1% earning 143.1% more from 1979 to 2015 than the poorest 99%, who earned only 18.9%.

Income disparity has serious ramifications for Washington’s social and economic well-being. According to research, wealth disparity is associated with poorer health, education, happiness, social mobility, and civic participation.

In contrast, it is associated with increased crime, violence, corruption, and environmental damage. Addressing economic disparity in Washington is about more than just justice; it’s also about the public interest and the common good.

Final Words

Washington’s high median household income of $92,629 obscures major regional differences. King County has the highest per capita income at $38,211, thanks to its tech and commercial hubs, while Pend Oreille County follows at $19,291, relying on agriculture and lacking educational options. Income inequality has increased, matching national trends, and affecting health, education, and societal well-being. Addressing these gaps is critical to Washington’s overall prosperity and social peace.

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