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The Highest and Lowest Income Areas in Washington

With a typical family income of $92,629, Washington stands out as one of the richest states in the union. However, there are notable disparities in income amongst the state’s various areas. This article explores the places in Washington with the greatest and lowest incomes, looking at the causes that lead to these differences in wealth.

Areas With the Highest Income

Based on information from the American Community Survey conducted in 2006–2010 and the 2010 census, King County has the highest per capita income in Washington, coming in at $38,211. King County, which is home to Seattle, the biggest city in the state, is a significant center for technology, business, and culture. Important corporations that support its economic prosperity include Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks. In addition, the county has a high educational attainment rate, with 37% of adults having a bachelor’s degree or above.

San Juan County ($35,487), Snohomish County ($30,635), Kitsap County ($29,755), and Thurston County ($29,707) are among the other wealthy counties in Washington. These counties benefit from being close to urban areas, natural resources, tourism, and recreation. They are mainly located in the middle or western regions of the state, close to Puget Sound or the Pacific Ocean.

Areas With the Lowest Income

On the other hand, Pend Oreille County ($19,291) has Washington’s lowest per capita income. Pend Oreille County, which borders Canada and Idaho and is tucked away in the northeast part of the state, is known for its low population of 13,001 people and rural surroundings. Mining, forestry, hydroelectric power, and agriculture all play major roles in the local economy. With only 16% of residents in the county having a bachelor’s degree or above, the county also demonstrates a lower level of education.

Ferry County ($19,324), Adams County ($16,689), Yakima County ($19,325), and Franklin County ($18,660) are some of the other lower-income areas in Washington. These counties, which are primarily in the state’s east or south, struggle with issues like unemployment, poverty, poor infrastructure, and restricted access to healthcare and education.

Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality

The disparity in wealth in Washington reflects broader national patterns of economic divisiveness. According to a survey by the Economic Policy Institute, in 2015, the richest 1% of earnings in Washington received 21.7% of the state’s total income, while the lowest 99% received the remaining 78.3%. With the top 1% experiencing a 143.1% increase in income from 1979 to 2015, compared to a meager 18.9% growth for the bottom 99%, the income gap has continued to worsen over time.

There are important ramifications for Washington’s social and economic development as well as the welfare of its citizens from this income disparity. Research shows that poorer levels of pleasure, health, education, social mobility, and civic engagement are correlated with wealth disparity. On the other hand, it is linked to increased rates of environmental degradation, crime, violence, and corruption. In addition to being a question of justice, addressing income inequality in Washington is also in the public interest and best interests of everybody.


With its greatest and lowest income regions in the country, Washington is a state of contrasts. Washington’s economic inequality is influenced by a number of variables, including industry, geography, policy, and education. Furthermore, it has a significant impact on people’s quality of life as well as the state’s and its citizens’ future. Encouraging economic possibilities, social fairness, and civic engagement for all is essential to reducing income disparity in Washington.


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