Explore our interactive map of international communities.
It never occurred to me when I put together a map of King County’s Chinese-born population that it might prove helpful to a local nonprofit.
I created the map, which is based on census data, as part of our coverage of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Seattle last month. But when Pear Moraras saw the map, she recognized it as a potential tool for her organization.
Moraras is an analyst for International Community Health Services, a Seattle-based nonprofit that provides health services to underserved communities in King County — in particular, local Asian communities. She explained that the map would be useful in conducting community needs assessment. As she told me, “Your interactive map can help us visualize where in our region our target populations live and determine how we can best use our resources to meet their health-care needs.”
Moraras asked if I could create similar maps for other immigrant populations. That seemed to present a good opportunity to dive into the demographic data on King County’s foreign-born residents.
I created a new, more extensive map using census data on our largest foreign-born population groups. Not all of these, of course, could be considered underserved populations: King County’s Canadian-born residents have a median household income of more than $100,000, for instance.
The county has become much more international in recent years. According to 2014 census data released in September, King County’s foreign-born population numbers around 441,000 — a 64 percent increase since 2000. The foreign-born population here has grown more than five times faster than the native-born population.
Asians make up the largest group of foreign-born residents here — about 138,000 people — but we have substantial populations of people from around the globe. Among all U.S. counties, King has the sixth-largest population of European-born residents, and also ranks sixth for the number of people born in Africa.
Among individual countries, we rank in the top three for quite a few — and some might come as a bit of a surprise: Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Ethiopia, Kenya, Laos, Romania and Sweden.
And one won’t come as a surprise. Despite the changing patterns of immigration, we’re still No. 1 in the country for — what else? — Norwegians. But it doesn’t take much to top that particular category. The Census Bureau’s estimate of our Norway-born population: a whopping 859.
In Seattle, foreign-born people represent more than half the residents in two areas: the Chinatown International District and South Beacon Hill. The city’s census tracts with the lowest percentage of foreign-born — dipping below 6 percent — are in Fauntleroy, Phinney Ridge, and on the south slope of Queen Anne.