King County is located in the U.S. state of Washington. The population in the 2000 census was 1,737,034, and in 2006 was an estimated 1,835,300. By population, King is the largest county in Washington, and the 14th largest in the United States. It is one of the most heavily educated counties in the nation, with approximately half of the population holding advanced degrees.
The county seat is Seattle, which is the state's largest city. About two-thirds of the county's population lives in the city's suburbs. King County ranks among the 100 highest-income counties in the United States.
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..
On February 24, 1986, the King County Council passed Council Motion 6461, "setting forth the historical basis for the 'renaming' of King County in honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.". Because only the state can charter counties, this change was not made official until April 19, 2005, when Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed Senate Bill 5332 into law. Due primarily to the advocacy of councilmember Larry Gossett, the County Council voted on February 27, 2006 to change the county's logo from a royal crown to an image of King's face. On March 12, 2007, the new logo was unveiled.
King County is represented in the United States Congress through the Washington 7th Congressional District and parts of the 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 9th districts. 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 parts of the 1st, 25th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, and 39th districts.
|2004||64.95% 580,378||33.69% 301,043|
|2000||60.02% 476,700||34.40% 273,171|
|1996||56.38% 417,846||31.41% 232,811|
|1992||50.23% 391,050||27.36% 212,986|
|1988||53.88% 349,663||44.78% 290,574|
|1984||46.71% 298,620||52.09% 332,987|
|'''1980||39.16% 235,046||45.42% 272,567|
The suburbs east and south of Seattle have historically tended to be moderate. In the 2005 County Executive race, Republican David Irons beat Democrat Ron Sims outside of Seattle (which voted 74% for Sims), but in 2004, John Kerry received landslide victories in much of the Bellevue and Redmond area's. Generally the suburbs are becoming more progressive on the state and county levels.
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.
King County borders Snohomish County to the north, Kitsap County to the west, Kittitas County to the east, and Pierce County to the south. It also shares a small border with Chelan County to the northeast. King County includes Vashon Island and Maury Island in Puget Sound.
There were 710,916 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.40% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.90% were non-families. 30.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the county, the population was spread out with 22.50% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 34.70% from 25 to 44, 23.10% from 45 to 64, and 10.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 99.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $53,157, and the median income for a family was $66,035. Males had a median income of $45,802 versus $34,321 for females. The per capita income for the county was $29,521. About 5.30% of families and 8.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.40% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over.