Families priced out of Seattle as cost of living skyrockets
As the cost of living in Seattle continues to soar, families ask themselves, is the squeeze worth it?
Author: Amanda Grace
Published: 11:49 AM PDT April 26, 2018
Updated: 8:22 PM PDT May 21, 2018
SEATTLE 6 Articles

Families priced out of Seattle as cost of living skyrockets

Chapter 1

Growing affordability crisis

Seattle has become the poster child for extreme rapid growth.

The nation’s second fastest growing city, according to Forbes magazine, is the crane capital of America.

Over the past five years, rents have climbed more than any other city in the country, and home values are up 88 percent.

It’s not only housing either. The overall cost of living has soared 36 percent higher than the rest of the country.

The impact is visible under our overpasses and in our parks; Seattle’s homeless population has ballooned to the third largest in the country.

It’s visible in the suburbs, where schools are overcrowded in parts of Snohomish and Pierce Counties as families are priced out of the city.

This series explores a side of the affordability crisis that is rarely visible.

We profiled long-time Seattleites with good jobs, who are now struggling to make ends meet with the rapid rise in the cost of living. They got candid about their changing neighborhoods, the sacrifices they’ve had to make to stay in the city, how they feed their family and their fears about the future.

They’re all forced to answer the question: Is it worth it?

Share your story with KING 5 by emailing pricedout@king5.com

INFOGRAPHIC: Rising cost of living index in Seattle

Chapter 2

Amy Douglas of West Seattle

Amy Douglas sits on the steps of her historic craftsman home in West Seattle.
Amy Douglas sits on the steps of her historic craftsman home in West Seattle.

By all appearances, Amy Douglas lives an enviable Seattle life. She owns her historic craftsman home in West Seattle, she works in tech as a web designer, and she’s a talented artist on the side. However, the rising cost of living in Seattle has hit Douglas hard, leaving her wondering if there’s still room for her in her hometown.

Read Amy's story.

Chapter 3

Lulu Carpenter of the Central District

Luzviminda Uzuri Carpenter.

Luzviminda Uzuri Carpenter is a middle school teacher, an LGBTQ activist and a low-power FM network radio host who shares the stories of people in Seattle who are marginalized. She now puts herself in that category as her Central District neighborhood becomes increasingly unaffordable and unrecognizable.

Read Lulu's story.

Chapter 4

Joe Simpson and Monica Barroga of Greenwood

Joe and Monica Simpson.

Joe Simpson and Monica Barroga are better known around Seattle by their alter-egos, Eldridge and the Lady Gravy. The funk band they founded 10 years ago, Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme, has developed a cult following with a devoted fan base and gigs at Bumbershoot and the Upstream Festival.

But fame hasn’t brought fortune yet, and they pinch pennies to raise their 7-year-old son, Felix, in Seattle.

Read Joe and Monica's story.

Chapter 5

Amanda Grace's perspective

What I hope people take away from this series is a bit of compassion and a greater sense of community. These economic forces of change are so much greater than any one person, or any one public policy could ever tackle. What does seem to be working for the people I’ve met through these stories is cultivating a network of friends and family members. That’s what’s kept them afloat during tough times. That’s how they’ve found affordable housing in a pinch, free childcare, and free meals. That network of support is what’s kept them from being priced out in Seattle.

Read Amanda's reflection.

Chapter 6

Struggle, sacrifice, and keeping sane

KING 5's Ryan Takeo documented Seattle's growing affordability crisis in a new KING 5 Podcast, Priced Out. Longtime Seattleites grappled with their changing city as artists get squeezed out and shared the sacrifices they make to stay.

Listen to episodes:

Longtime Seattleites struggle with changing city

Artists struggle to stay in Seattle as cost of living soars

Affordability forces Seattleites to make sacrifices to stay