Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

From boom towns to Mormon outposts: The nine states of Washington

WA 12 statesIf you didn’t catch The Atlantic’s recent 12 States of America feature, it’s worth a look. Using demographic, economic, cultural, and political data, the authors categorize each of the nation’s 3,141 counties into one of 12 statistically distinct “types of place,” then look at family income over the past 30 years through that prism.

By their reckoning, Washington has nine of these 12 “states” – here’s where you can find them:


Boom Towns: Whatcom, Skagit, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Kittitas, Walla Walla Relatively wealthy; before the last recession, saw rapid growth and increasing minority populations

Boom Towns:
Whatcom, Skagit, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Kittitas, Walla Walla
Relatively wealthy; before the last recession, saw rapid growth and increasing minority populations.
Hshd. Income 1980-2010: +$2021

Immigration Nation: Located mostly in the Southwest; large Hispanic populations; lower incomes and higher poverty.

Immigration Nation:
Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Adams, Yakima
Located mostly in the Southwest; large Hispanic populations; lower incomes and higher poverty.
Hshd. Income 1980-2010: -$3854

Service Worker Centers: Clallam, Pacific, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Cowlitz, Skamania, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Spokane, Asotin Tourist hubs and midsize towns where many workers live without benefits.

Service Worker Centers:
Clallam, Pacific, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Cowlitz, Skamania, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Spokane, Asotin
Tourist hubs and midsize towns where many workers live without benefits.
Hshd. Income 1980-2010: -$2447

Mormon Outposts: Klickitat County Clustered in the Mountain West; sparsely populated; lower-than-average incomes

Mormon Outposts:
Klickitat
Clustered in the Mountain West; sparsely populated; lower-than-average incomes.
Hshd Income 1980-2010: -$1675

Minority Central: Heavy populations of African Americans and Native Americans; lower incomes and higher poverty rates

Minority Central:
Ferry
Heavy populations of African Americans and Native Americans; lower incomes and higher poverty rates.
Hshd Income 1980-2010: -$739

Tractor Country: White and rural; sparse populations; an economic base of farming and agribusiness.

Tractor Country:
Lincoln, Wahkiakum, Columbia, Garfield
White and rural; sparse populations; an economic base of farming and agribusiness.
Hshd. Income 1980-2010: -$2765

Military Bastions: Located near military bases; middle-income; filled with soldiers, vets and their families.

Military Bastions:
Thurston
Located near military bases; middle-income; filled with soldiers, vets and their families.
Hshd Income 1980-2010: +$945

The Moneyed Burbs: King, Pierce, San Juan, Benton, Franklin County Higher-than-average family income and educational attainment; closely divided politically

The Moneyed Burbs:
King, Pierce, San Juan, Benton, Franklin
Higher-than-average family income and educational attainment; closely divided politically.
Hshd. Income 1980-2010: +$3716

Campus and Careers: Younger demographic; lots of college students and people starting postgraduate careers.

Campus and Careers:
Whitman
Younger demographic; lots of college students and people starting postgraduate careers.
Hshd Income 1980-2010: +$669


And while these three “states” can be found elsewhere in the U.S., you won’t find them here in Washington:

Evangelical Epicenters: None

Evangelical Epicenters:
None
Lower median incomes; full of young families and evangelical Christians; driven by cultural issues.
Hshd Income 1980-2010: -$1076

Industrial Epicenters: None High-density, young, and diverse, with many rich and poor.

Industrial Epicenters:
None
High-density, young, and diverse, with many rich and poor.
Hshd Income 1980-2010: +$2313

Emptying Nests: None Older and less diverse than average, with lots of retirees and Boomers on fixed incomes.

Emptying Nests:
None
Older and less diverse than average, with lots of retirees and Boomers on fixed incomes.
Hshd Income 1980-2010: -$1003

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