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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
8 Jul 2023

NextImg:1 in 3 Seattle Residents Relocate out of the City Due to Crime and Cost

One in three Seattle residents are relocating out of the city due to public safety concerns over daily crimes and high cost of living prices, according to a Seattle Times/Suffolk University poll published in June.

About 33% of Seattle residents surveyed said they were seriously considering moving out of the city. Sixty-seven percent said they were not. The poll of 500 residents was conducted by phone from June 12-16, with a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Among the residents who say they are considering leaving, 37% blamed rising housing costs, and 34% cited public safety as their primary reason for moving.

Overall, renters (44%) were more likely than homeowners (27%) to consider moving out. Respondents with lower incomes, especially those earning less than $20,000, were likelier to blame soaring Seattle home prices for motivating them to move. Poll data shows this group also reported experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity at the highest rates.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed 10 bills in May aimed at taking steps toward solving what the governor calls a housing crisis.

Inslee said the bills address the state’s housing shortage and should make home ownership more affordable. He also said the new laws could help those experiencing homelessness.

“Homelessness is a housing crisis,” Inslee said.  

Public safety was the main concern among respondents in the highest household income bracket, those earning over $250,000 a year. These residents were also more likely to be homeowners than renters.

Of those wanting to move, 80% rated Seattle poorly as a place to live, and 66% said they did not feel safe in their neighborhood. In comparison, among the two-thirds of Seattleites who did not consider leaving, 88% rated the city as an excellent place to live, and 72% said they felt safe in their own neighborhood.

A “For Sale” sign is posted outside a residential home in the Queen Anne neighborhood near the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington on May 14, 2021. (Karen Ducey/Reuters)

Gov. Inslee also signed a bill into law in April that will strengthen the prosecution of hate crimes and require rehab programs for offenders.

SB 5623 replaces the “physical injury” element of the definition of a hate crime with “assault.”

Under current Washington state law, a physical injury to the victim is required for prosecutors to charge a hate crime, but assaults meant to intimidate and demean—like spitting on someone—will now be grounds for prosecution as a hate crime.

“Hate crimes are horrific acts of violence that do more than affect individual victims — they make whole communities feel unwelcome,” said Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee and bill sponsor. “These crimes are corrosive to our society, and we need the proper tools available to protect survivors and ensure that courts can effectively supervise offenders in completing rehabilitative programs when needed.”

In the last three years, costs in the Seattle metro area climbed over 20%. Before the pandemic, it took nine years for costs to grow that much.

The Seattle metro area’s home price index is now 40% higher than in 2018, down from 50% in 2022. But wages have not kept up with these cost increases, and well-compensated tech and finance workers are skewing the city’s income average.

Moving patterns revealed these residents were more likely to move out of the county’s wealthiest neighborhoods. While lower-income residents moved less often, they were more likely to move out of the Puget Sound region altogether.

About 65% of residents considering leaving said the city’s ability to progress on homelessness had worsened, and 60% rated the quality of education as poor.

According to new Census Bureau data, many people are moving to Florida, which has experienced a population growth of over 22 million people from 2021 to 2022.

The 1.9% increase was the largest of any US state over this period, exceeding Idaho and South Carolina, which saw their populations grow by 1.8% and 1.7%, respectively.

“While Florida has often been among the largest-gaining states, this was the first time since 1957 that Florida has been the state with the largest percent increase in population,” Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Population Division at the Census Bureau, said in a press release.

Despite people moving out of the state, many are also moving into it.

According to the Office of Financial Management, the state’s population expanded by about 1.1% year-over-year, mostly due to migration and housing growth. The previous year, the state population grew by about 1.3%. The annual estimates cover the 12 months running up until April 1.