Light-rail Investment in Seattle: Gentrification Pressures and Trends in Neighborhood Ethnoracial Composition

Published in Urban Affairs Review, 2018

This paper is about trends in neighborhood racial and ethnic composition near SoundTransit’s Link light-rail project in King County, WA.

I draw on a panel of census data describing neighborhood compositions from 1980 to the 2010-2014 American Community Survey (ACS), and focus on neighborhood compositions in terms of census blockgroups’ shares of Asian, black, Hispanic and white persons.

The results of the empirical analyses show that light-rail neighborhoods in Seattle saw increases in their white populations and decreases in their Asian populations following the construction of the Link transit line. There were no substantial differences related to light-rail in Tukwila and SeaTac, though long-term trends in the suburban neighborhoods studied indicate a succession from majority-white to majority-minority.