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Beyond the Headlines: Poverty Increasing in Seattle

October 2017 | FOCUS: Poverty

Poverty Increasing Among Seattle Residents with Some College or an Associate’s Degree

The number of individuals in Seattle who are living below poverty increased by 9 percent between 2012 and 2015 according to an analysis of Census data.(i) During this same period, there was an increase in individuals with some college or an Associate’s degree living below poverty. In 2015, there were 134 per 1,000 individuals with some college or an Associate’s degree living below poverty compared to 115 per 1,000 in 2012 (+19 per 1,000 individuals). This increase was greater than the increase seen among individuals with a high school diploma or less (+6 per 1,000 individuals) and bachelor’s degree or higher (+1 per 1,000 individuals). Between 2012 and 2015, the rate of individuals with some college or an Associate’s degree who are living below poverty increased in 22 out of 26 zip codes analyzed.

A few notable zip codes are:

98121: An increase from 119 per 1,000 in 2012 to 225 per 1,000 in 2015 (+106).
98112: An increase from 87 per 1,000 in 2012 to 150 per 1,000 in 2015 (+63).
98105: An increase from 151 per 1,000 in 2012 to 213 per 1,000 in 2015 (+62).
98144: An increase from 106 per 1,000 in 2012 to 159 per 1,000 in 2015 (+53).

Individuals with some college or an Associate’s degree also reported no increase in median earnings during this same period. This is a trend that occurred both nationally and in Seattle. That said, in 2015, the median earnings for individuals in Seattle with some college or an Associate’s degree were 5% greater than the national median. In 2015, individuals in Seattle with some college or an Associate’s degree reported median earnings of $35,456 up slightly from $35,340 in 2012. Nationally, individuals with some college or an Associate’s degree reported median earnings of $33,820 in 2015 which is a minor decrease from $33,857 in 2012.

 

One explanation for these trends is that many individuals with some college or Associate’s degree are underemployed. A recent Beyond the Headlines discusses underemployment for individuals with a college education. In particular, it states “the problem is particularly pronounced for associate’s degree holders, who are underemployed at a rate of 37 percent.” (ii) It is recommended that policymakers, educators, and school counselors identify ways to assist students in using labor market data to understand the value of a college major or career. To avoid underemployment, students should be focused on acquiring the education and skills that meet the requirements of jobs that are in demand.

i. U.S. Census Bureau, 2012-2015 American Community Survey

ii. To Avoid Underemployment Choose Associate’s Degree Wisely
Available at: http://www.seattlejobsinitiative.com/beyond-the-headlines-underemployment/

Beyond the Headlines

Policy & Labor Market Updates for Those Working to Help Low-Income and Low-Skill Individuals Advance through Education, Training & Living-Wage Jobs

Contact Information:
For questions or suggestions, please email: David Kaz, Director of Consulting and Professional Services/Policy, at dkaz@seattlejobsinit.com.

Author: Bryce Jones

View/download a PDF of this edition of Beyond the Headlines here.

View past editions of Beyond the Headlines here.

 



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