King County, Washington


King County is located in the
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a W ...
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
. The population was 2,269,675 in the 2020 census, making it the most populous county in Washington, and the 12th-most populous in the United States. The county seat is
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in bot ...

, also the state's most populous city. King County is one of three Washington counties that are included in the
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in bot ...

Tacoma Tacoma ( ) is a mid-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, southwest of Seattle (of which it is the largest satellite city), northeast of the state capital ...
metropolitan statistical area#REDIRECT Metropolitan statistical area In the United States, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is a geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area. Such regions are neither ...
. (The others are
Snohomish County Snohomish County () is a County (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Washington (state), Washington. With an estimated population of 822,083 as of 2019, it is the third-most populous county in Washington, after nearby King County, ...
to the north, and Pierce County to the south.) About two-thirds of King County's population lives in Seattle's
suburb A suburb (or suburban area or suburbia) is a commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective ...


When Europeans arrived in the region that would become King County, it was inhabited by several
Coast Salish The Coast Salish is a group of ethnically and linguistically related Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast are composed of many nations and trib ...
groups. Villages around the site that would become Seattle were primarily populated by the
Duwamish people The Duwamish ( lut, Dxʷdəwʔabš, ) are a Lushootseed Lushootseed (also: xʷəlšucid, dxʷləšúcid, Puget Salish, Puget Sound Salish or Skagit-Nisqually) is a language made up of a dialect continuum of several Salish peoples, Salish tribes ...
. The
Snoqualmie Indian Tribe The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (''S·dukʷalbixʷ''), is a federally recognized tribe of Snoqualmie people. They are Coast Salish peoples, Coast Salish Native Americans of the United States, Native American peoples from the Snoqualmie Valley in east ...
occupied the area that would become eastern King County. The Green River (Washington), Green River and White River (Washington), White River were home for the Muckleshoot tribal groups. In the first winter after the Denny Party landed at Alki Point, Seattle, Alki Point, the settlement at the point consisted of a few dozen settlers and over a thousand Native Americans. The local tribes provided the settlers with construction labor, domestic service, and help with subsistence activities. The county was formed out of territory within Thurston County, Washington, Thurston County on December 22, 1852, by the Oregon Territory legislature and was named after Alabama, Alabamian William R. King, who had just been elected Vice President of the United States under President of the United States, President Franklin Pierce. Seattle was made the county seat on January 11, 1853. The area became part of the Washington Territory when it was created later that year. King County originally extended to the Olympic Peninsula. According to historian Bill Speidel, when peninsular prohibitionists threatened to shut down Seattle's saloons, Doc Maynard engineered a peninsular independence movement; King County lost what is now Kitsap County but preserved its entertainment industry. Coal was discovered in 1853 by Dr. M. Bigelow along the Black River (Duwamish River), Black River, and in subsequent decades several companies formed to mine coal around Lake Washington and deliver it to Seattle. The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad started servicing the Renton coal fields in 1877, and the Newcastle, Washington, Newcastle fields in 1878. By 1880, King County produced 22% of the coal mined on the West Coast, most of that coal being found within the Renton Formation's Muldoon coal seam.


On February 24, 1986, the King County Council approved a motion to rename the county to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (no relation to William R. King), preserving the name "King County" while changing its namesake. The motion stated, among other reasons for the change, that "William R. King, William Rufus DeVane King was a Slavery in the United States, slaveowner" who "earned income and maintained his lifestyle by oppressing and exploiting other human beings," while Martin Luther King's "contributions are well-documented and celebrated by millions throughout this nation and the world, and embody the attributes for which the citizens of King County can be proud, and claim as their own." Because only the state can charter counties, the change was not made official until April 19, 2005, when Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law Senate Bill 5332, which provided that "King county is renamed in honor of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr." effective July 24, 2005. The County Council voted on February 27, 2006, to adopt the proposal sponsored by Councilmember Larry Gossett to change the county's logo from an imperial crown to an image of Martin Luther King, Jr. On March 12, 2007, the new logo was unveiled. The new logo design was developed by the Gable Design Group and the specific image was selected by a committee consisting of King County Executive Ron Sims, Council Chair Larry Gossett, Prosecutor Norm Maleng, Sheriff Sue Rahr, District Court Judge Corrina Harn, and Superior Court Judge Michael Trickey. The same logo is used in the flag (illustrated). Martin Luther King Jr. had visited King County once, for three days in November 1961.


According to the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (8.3%) is water. King County has nearly twice the land area of the state of Rhode Island. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at above sea level. King County borders
Snohomish County Snohomish County () is a County (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Washington (state), Washington. With an estimated population of 822,083 as of 2019, it is the third-most populous county in Washington, after nearby King County, ...
to the north, Kitsap County, Washington, Kitsap County to the west, Kittitas County, Washington, Kittitas County to the east, and Pierce County to the south. It also shares a small border with Chelan County, Washington, Chelan County to the northeast. King County includes Vashon Island and Maury Island in Puget Sound.

Geographic features


* Cascade Range * Issaquah Alps * Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest * Mount Daniel, the highest point * Mount Si * Harbor Island (Seattle), Harbor Island * Maury Island * Mercer Island, Washington, Mercer Island * Sammamish Plateau * Vashon Island


* Cedar River (Washington), Cedar River * Duwamish River, Green/Duwamish River * Elliott Bay * Greenwater River * Issaquah Creek * Lake Sammamish * Lake Union * Lake Washington * Lake Youngs * Pratt River * Puget Sound * Raging River *Skykomish River *Snoqualmie Falls * Snoqualmie River * Taylor River (Washington), Taylor River * Tolt River * White River (Washington), White River

Major highways

* Interstate 5 in Washington, Interstate 5 * Interstate 90 in Washington, Interstate 90 * Interstate 405 (Washington), Interstate 405 * U.S. Route 2 in Washington, U.S. Route 2 * Washington State Route 18, State Route 18 * Washington State Route 99, State Route 99 * Washington State Route 167, State Route 167 * Washington State Route 520, State Route 520 * Washington State Route 522, State Route 522

Adjacent counties

Snohomish County Snohomish County () is a County (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Washington (state), Washington. With an estimated population of 822,083 as of 2019, it is the third-most populous county in Washington, after nearby King County, ...
– north * Pierce County – south * Chelan County, Washington, Chelan County – east/northeast * Kittitas County, Washington, Kittitas County – east/southeast * Kitsap County, Washington, Kitsap County – west

National protected areas

* Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (part, also in Skagway, Alaska) * Snoqualmie National Forest (part)


The center of population of the state of Washington in 2010 was located in eastern King County (). King County's own center of population was located on Mercer Island ().

Racial and Ethnic Composition since 1960

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 1,931,249 people, 789,232 households, and 461,510 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 851,261 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the county was 68.7% White American, White (64.8% Non-Hispanic White), 6.2% African American, 14.6% Asian American, Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islands Americans, Pacific Islander, 0.8% Native Americans in the United States, Native American, 3.9% from other races, and 5.0% from Multiracial Americans, two or more races. Those of Hispanic and Latino Americans, Hispanic or Latino origin made up 8.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 17.1% were Germans, German, 11.6% were English people, English, 11.1% were Irish people, Irish, 5.5% were Norwegians, Norwegian, and 2.9% were Americans, American. Of the 789,232 households, 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 41.5% were non-families, and 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.05. The median age was 37.1 years. The median income for a household in the county was $68,065 and the median income for a family was $87,010. Males had a median income of $62,373 versus $45,761 for females. The per capita income for the county was $38,211. About 6.4% of families and 10.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.

Native American tribes

King County is home two federally-recognized tribes, the Muckleshoot tribe and the
Snoqualmie Indian Tribe The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (''S·dukʷalbixʷ''), is a federally recognized tribe of Snoqualmie people. They are Coast Salish peoples, Coast Salish Native Americans of the United States, Native American peoples from the Snoqualmie Valley in east ...
tribe, and other unrecognized groups. The Muckleshoot Indian Reservation is located southeast of Auburn and is home to a resident population of 3,606 as of the 2000 census. The Snoqualmie tribe's casino property was federally recognized as their reservation in 2006, however few tribe members live near the reservation.


Image:Seattle - King County Courthouse 02.jpg, 165px, The present King County Courthouse (2007) The King County Executive (currently Dow Constantine) heads the county's executive branch. The King County Prosecuting Attorney (currently Dan Satterberg), Elections Director (currently Julie Wise), King County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff (currently Mitzi Johanknecht), and the King County Assessor (currently John Wilson) are elected executive positions. Judicial power is vested in the King County Superior Court and the King County Courthouse, King County District Court.
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in bot ...

houses the King County Courthouse. King County is represented in the United States Congress through a near-entirety of the population in the Washington's 7th congressional district, 7th and Washington's 9th congressional district, 9th Congressional Districts, a majority of the population in the Washington's 8th congressional district, 8th Congressional District and a plurality of the population in the Washington's 1st congressional district, 1st Congressional District. In the state legislature, King contains the entirety of the 5th, 11th, 33rd, 34th, 36th, 37th, 41st, 43rd, 45th, 46th, 47th, and 48th legislative districts as well as the near-entirety of the 30th legislative district, about one-half of the 32nd legislative district, about one-third of the 1st and 31st legislative district, and a mere 627 people in the 39th legislative district. The only legislative districts represented by Republicans that include any part of King County are the 31st and 39th districts. The people of King County voted on September 5, 1911, to create a Port District. King County's Port of Seattle was established as the first Port District in Washington State. The Port of Seattle is King County's only Port District. It is governed by five Port Commissioners, who are elected countywide and serve four-year terms. The Port of Seattle owns and operates many properties on behalf of King County's citizens, including Sea-Tac International Airport; many seaport facilities around Elliott Bay, including its original property, publicly owned Fishermen's Terminal, home to the North Pacific fishing fleet and the largest homeport for fishermen in the U.S. West Coast; four container ship terminals; two cruise ship terminals; the largest grain export terminal in the U.S. Pacific Northwest; three public marinas; 22 public parks; and nearly 5,000 acres of industrial lands in the Ballard, Seattle, Washington, Ballard-Interbay (Seattle), Interbay and Harbor Island (Seattle), Lower Duwamish industrial centers.

Council members

* District 1 – Rod Dembowski * District 2 – Girmay Zahilay * District 3 – Sarah Perry (politician), Sarah Perry * District 4 – Jeanne Kohl-Welles * District 5 – Dave Upthegrove * District 6 – Claudia Balducci * District 7 – Pete von Reichbauer * District 8 – Joe McDermott (politician), Joe McDermott * District 9 – Reagan Dunn


King County and Seattle are strongly liberal; the area is a bastion for the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party. No Republican presidential candidate has garnered the majority of the county's votes since Ronald Reagan's 1984 United States presidential election in Washington, landslide reelection victory in 1984. In the 2008 United States presidential election in Washington, 2008 election, Barack Obama defeated John McCain in the county by 42 percentage points, a larger margin than any previous election. Slightly more than 29% of Washington state's population reside in King County, making it a significant factor for the Democrats in a few recent close statewide elections. In the 2000 United States Senate election in Washington, 2000 Senate elections, King County's margin of victory pushed Maria Cantwell's total over that of incumbent Republican Party (United States), Republican Slade Gorton, winning her a seat in the United States Senate. In 2004, King County gave a lead to Democrat Christine Gregoire in her 2004 victory 2004 Washington gubernatorial election, gubernatorial election, pushing her ahead of Republican Dino Rossi, who led by 261 votes after the initial count. Rossi resided in the county at the time of the election, in Sammamish, Washington, Sammamish. In the 2020 United States presidential election in Washington, 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by earning 75% of King County votes. Governor Jay Inslee also defeated Republican challenger Loren Culp with 74% of the King County vote in the 2020 Washington gubernatorial election, concurrent gubernatorial election. These were the largest margins by any candidate in a presidential race and a gubernatorial race since the county's creation. In 2004, voters passed a referendum reducing the size of the County Council from 13 members to 9. This resulted in all council seats ending up on the 2005 ballot. Some residents of eastern King County have long desired to secede and form their own county. This movement was most vocal in the mid-1990s (see ''Cedar County, Washington''). It has recently been revived as Cascade County. According to a map published by the ''Seattle Times'', four different geographic borders are being considered. Additional plans (see ''Skykomish County, Washington'') also exist or have existed.


In 2010 statistics, the largest religious group in King County was the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, Archdiocese of Seattle, with 278,340 Catholics worshipping at 71 parishes, followed by 95,218 Nondenominational Christianity, non-denominational adherents with 159 congregations, 56,985 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS Mormons with 110 congregations, 25,937 Assemblies of God, AoG Pentecostals with 63 congregations, 25,789 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA Lutherans with 68 congregations, 24,909 Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, PC-USA Presbyterians with 54 congregations, 18,185 Mahayana Buddhists with 39 congregations, 18,161 United Methodist Church, UMC Methodists with 50 congregations, 14,971 Episcopal Church (United States), TEC Episcopalians with 35 congregations, and 12,531 American Baptist Churches USA, ABCUSA Baptists with 42 congregations. Altogether, 37.6% of the population was claimed as members by religious congregations, although members of historically African-American denominations were underrepresented due to incomplete information. In 2014, King County had 944 religious organizations, the 8th most out of all US counties.


K–12 schools

* Auburn School District * Bellevue School District * Enumclaw School District * Federal Way Public Schools * Highline School District * Issaquah School District * Kent School District * Lake Washington School District * Mercer Island School District * Northshore School District * Renton School District * Riverview School District (Washington), Riverview School District * Seattle Public Schools * Shoreline School District * Snoqualmie Valley School District * Tahoma School District * Tukwila School District * Vashon Island School District

Public libraries

Most of King County is served by the King County Library System, while the city of Seattle is served by Seattle Public Library, its own system.



* Algona, Washington, Algona * Auburn, Washington, Auburn (partial) * * Black Diamond, Washington, Black Diamond * Bothell, Washington, Bothell (partial) * Burien, Washington, Burien * Carnation, Washington, Carnation * Clyde Hill, Washington, Clyde Hill * Covington, Washington, Covington * Des Moines, Washington, Des Moines * Duvall, Washington, Duvall * Enumclaw, Washington, Enumclaw * Federal Way, Washington, Federal Way * Issaquah, Washington, Issaquah * Kenmore, Washington, Kenmore * Kent, Washington, Kent * Kirkland, Washington, Kirkland * Lake Forest Park, Washington, Lake Forest Park * Maple Valley, Washington, Maple Valley * Medina, Washington, Medina * Mercer Island, Washington, Mercer Island * Milton, Washington, Milton (partial) * Newcastle, Washington, Newcastle * Normandy Park, Washington, Normandy Park * North Bend, Washington, North Bend * Pacific, Washington, Pacific (partial) * Redmond, Washington, Redmond * Renton, Washington, Renton * Sammamish, Washington, Sammamish * SeaTac, Washington, SeaTac *
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in bot ...

(county seat) * Shoreline, Washington, Shoreline * Snoqualmie, Washington, Snoqualmie * Tukwila, Washington, Tukwila * Woodinville, Washington, Woodinville


* Beaux Arts Village, Washington, Beaux Arts Village * Hunts Point, Washington, Hunts Point * Skykomish, Washington, Skykomish * Yarrow Point, Washington, Yarrow Point

Census-designated places

* Ames Lake, Washington, Ames Lake * Baring, Washington, Baring * Boulevard Park, Washington, Boulevard Park * Bryn Mawr-Skyway, Washington, Bryn Mawr-Skyway * Cottage Lake, Washington, Cottage Lake * East Renton Highlands, Washington, East Renton Highlands * Fairwood, King County, Washington, Fairwood * Fall City, Washington, Fall City * Hobart, Washington, Hobart * Inglewood-Finn Hill, Washington, Inglewood-Finn Hill (former) * Klahanie, Washington, Klahanie (former) * Lake Holm, Washington, Lake Holm * Lake Marcel-Stillwater, Washington, Lake Marcel-Stillwater * Lake Morton-Berrydale, Washington, Lake Morton-Berrydale * Lakeland North, Washington, Lakeland North * Lakeland South, Washington, Lakeland South * Maple Heights-Lake Desire, Washington, Maple Heights-Lake Desire * Mirrormont, Washington, Mirrormont * Ravensdale, Washington, Ravensdale * Riverbend, Washington, Riverbend * Riverton, Washington, Riverton (former) * Shadow Lake, Washington, Shadow Lake * Tanner, Washington, Tanner * Union Hill-Novelty Hill, Washington, Union Hill-Novelty Hill * Vashon, Washington, Vashon * Westwood * White Center, Washington, White Center * Wilderness Rim, Washington, Wilderness Rim

Other unincorporated communities

* Cedar Falls, Washington, Cedar Falls * Cumberland, Washington, Cumberland * Denny Creek, Washington, Denny Creek * Ernie's Grove, Washington, Ernie's Grove * Grotto, Washington, Grotto * Kanaskat, Washington, Kanaskat * Kangley, Washington, Kangley * Lake Joy, Washington, Lake Joy * Naco, Washington, Naco * Novelty, Washington, Novelty * Palmer, Washington, Palmer * Preston, Washington, Preston * Selleck, Washington, Selleck * Spring Glen, Washington, Spring Glen * Wabash, King County, Washington, Wabash

Former cities and towns

* East Redmond, Washington, East Redmond * Foster, Washington, Foster * Houghton, Washington, Houghton

Ghost towns

* Bayne, Washington, Bayne * Cedar Falls, Washington, Cedar Falls (aka Moncton) * Edgewick, Washington, Edgewick * Franklin, Washington, Franklin * Hot Springs, Washington, Hot Springs * Krain, Washington, Krain * Lester, Washington, Lester * Monohon, Washington, Monohon * Nagrom, Washington, Nagrom * Osceola, Washington, Osceola * Taylor, Washington, Taylor * Wellington, Washington, Wellington * Weston, Washington, Weston

See also

*National Register of Historic Places listings in King County, Washington *Tukwila Formation


External links

King County website

presents King County, Washington, through 12,000 historical images carefully chosen from twelve cultural heritage organizations' collections. These catalogued 19th and 20th century images portray people, places, and events in the county's urban, suburban, and rural communities. {{Authority control King County, Washington, 1852 establishments in Oregon Territory Populated places established in 1852 Seattle metropolitan area Western Washington Memorials to Martin Luther King Jr.