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Wednesday, May 8, 2002 - 12:00 a.m. Pacific

How we live: homes, commutes, education

The newest release of Census 2000 figures for Washington state provides new detail on housing, transportation — even divorce rates. Below are some snapshots of the newest census information from the long-form questionnaire. An estimated 1 million residents answered the survey.

We're paying more to own our homes

With a booming real-estate market, Puget Sound homeowners are spending more on their homes. Nearly 1 in 5 homeowners are putting more than 35 percent of their income toward housing costs.

Monthly owner costs as a percentage of income (in King, Snohomish, Pierce)

The bigger the home, the more likely it's in a suburb

When it comes to big homes, the Eastside tops the chart in Washington. Perhaps not surprisingly, four Eastside cities had the highest percentage of homes with nine or more rooms, not counting bathrooms or unfinished basements. Suburban cities accounted for all but one of the top 10.

Top 10 percentages of homes with 9 rooms or more:*

For comparison: Washington State: 11%

1. Clyde Hill: 56%
2. Medina: 48%
3. Sammamish: 41%
4. Mercer Island: 35%
5. Normandy Park: 32%
6. Newcastle: 26%
7. Lake Forest Park: 24%
8. Camas (East of Vancouver, Wash.): 22%
9. Mill Creek: 21%
10. Brier: 21%

In the Puget Sound area the farther you live from Seattle, the worse the commute...

Over the past 20 years, average commute times have steadily gotten longer. However, times in Pierce and Snohomish counties have increased almost twice as fast as the average commute in King County. The figures below show how many minutes a typical commute takes.

... but the more likely you are to have a graduate degree

Aside from the Eastern Washington college town Pullman, the Puget Sound suburbs have the highest percent of residents sporting hefty educational credentials.

Top 10 cities ranked by percentage of people 25 and over with graduate or professional credentials:

For comparison: Washington state: 9%

1. Pullman (not shown on map): 33%
2. Mercer Island: 32%
3. Medina: 31%
4. Clyde Hill: 29%
5. Bainbridge Island: 26%
6. Lake Forest Park: 21%
7. Sammamish: 21%
8. Bellevue: 19%
9. Seattle: 17%
10. Redmond: 17%

How much we make: Women are still behind

Despite gains, median income for women was three-quarters of what their male counterparts earned in Washington.

Some of our smallest towns have the highest percentage of divorce

Some of Washington's smallest towns also have high divorce rates. Tops is Friday Harbor, where more than 1 in every 5 people were divorced at the time of the survey.

Top 10 cities ranked by percentage of people 15 and over who were divorced:

For comparison: Washington state: 11%

1. Friday Harbor: 22%
2. Elma: 19%
3. Clarkston: 19%
4. Port Townsend: 19%
5. Pacific: 18%
6. Sumner: 17%
7. Tumwater: 17%
8. Fife: 17%
9. Snohomish: 17%
10. Ocean Shores: 16%

Note: City rankings in the charts include only places with 2,000 or more people.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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