Sep 14, 2023 - News

Seattle-area incomes dipped during the pandemic

Data: U.S. Census; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The median Seattle-area household made slightly less last year than before the pandemic, per new census data.

Why it matters: The latest numbers reflect the pandemic's lasting economic impact, even after COVID-related business closures and stay-at-home mandates were lifted.

By the numbers: The median household income across the Seattle metro area fell 1.6% between 2019 and 2022.

  • In 2022, the median income in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area was $106,909, compared to $108,693 in 2019, adjusted for inflation.
  • That's according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates, which were released Thursday.

Zoom out: Nationally, the median household income also dipped by 1.6% from 2019 to 2022 — the same percentage as in the Seattle area.

  • That trend "explains why Americans have felt so meh about the strong economy over the past couple years," Axios Markets' Emily Peck writes based on similar yet slightly different data released earlier this week.

Yes, but: The median Seattle-area household still made about $22,000 more than the nationwide median, which was $74,755 last year.

  • Washington state's median household income last year also was significantly higher than the national median, at $91,306, having risen by 0.4% since 2019.
U.S. Census; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Plus: More Seattle-area households had annual incomes of at least $100,000 last year than before the pandemic.

  • The share of local households making over $100,000 annually increased from 47.3% to 53.2% between 2019 and 2022.
  • Meanwhile, the share making between $50,000 and just under $75,000 fell from 15% to 12.9%.

Of note: Because the latest ACS release is based on 2022 data, it's capturing what some call the "late pandemic era," when many elements of normality returned but the pandemic still loomed in the background, affecting many facets of life.

What we're watching: Whether Seattle-area incomes shot upward in 2023 — something we won't know until future batches of Census Bureau data are released.


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