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Public Health - Seattle & King County

What does the health of King County look like?

Community overview:
  • King County has a population of 1.9 million people, and includes the city of Seattle, 38 other cities, and 19 school districts.
  • King County residents are diverse: 20% live in low-income households (less than 200% of the federal poverty level), 27% are non-white, and 23% of those ages 5 and older speak a language other than English at home.
  • The suburbs are now home to more people living in poverty than the central cities: Approximately 72,000 people are living in poverty in Seattle and Bellevue, whereas 97,000 people live in poverty in the rest of the County.
  • People who live in south Seattle and south King County bear a disproportionate burden of poor health and socioeconomic deprivation. 15% of all Seattle residents are obese while between 15% and 31% of residents are obese in the south Seattle and south King County focus communities. 13% of all Seattle residents are current cigarette smokers, while the corresponding percentage is between 14% and 20% of residents in the focus communities.
Community health problems:


  • In King County, 54% of adults are overweight or obese, 20% are obese, and 5.4% have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Diabetes prevalence and mortality rates for African-Americans in King County are among the highest in the nation. 12% of King County African American adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, the third highest among the 15 largest US metropolitan counties.
  • 85% of King County adolescents in grades 8, 10, and 12 do not meet physical activity recommendations.
  • Obesity is at least twice as high among high school students who are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander compared to white high school students.


  • Data from 2004-2008 show that 13% of adults currently smoke cigarettes; however, while the smoking rate for white adults is at 12.6%, the smoking rates among African Americans (20.2%), American Indian/Alaska Natives (31.2%), Korean men (28.4%), Vietnamese men (45.2%), high school graduates with no additional education (20.4%), homosexual and bisexual men (24.7%), and those making $15,000-$24,999 yearly (23.2%) is much higher.
  • Large inequities exist in smoke exposure inside the home: residents in low income households (with an annual household income less than $10,000) were seven times more likely to report one or more days of smoke exposure inside the home than affluent residents (annual household income $75,000+).
Health data and maps:

Healthy Eating, Active Living: