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Old August 31st, 2009, 07:22 AM   #1
bgwah
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Densest census tracts, 2008

I calculated the 2008 population densities of certain Seattle census tracts using data from the OFM (link). I basically just chose to do all of the most densely populated tracts from 2000, and then any remaining downtown ones. If there are more elsewhere in the city you're curious about, I could look it up.

It's looking like one of the Belltown tracts (80.02) will be taking the #1 spot from the Capitol Hill tract (74) soon enough. The other Belltown tract (80.01) has also been increasing very quickly and may be one to keep an eye on. Perhaps someone could figure out how many new units have been completed in Belltown since April 2008 and are still under construction to give us a general idea of what the population will get to just with current developments.

Tract 85, which includes Yesler Terrace, should also greatly increase upon Yesler Terrace's redevelopment. Approximately 1,500 of the 6,000 residents in the tract are in Yesler Terrace. Even the least dense proposal for Yesler Terrace has about 3,000 housing units, or at least 4,500 residents (And that's still a pretty conservative estimate. While 1.5 people per household may be typical for much of downtown Seattle, public & affordable housing tends to be higher). So, assuming that would be a net gain of 3,000 residents from Yesler Terrace alone, the population density of the neighborhood should at least get to around 50,000... And if Yesler Terrace goes with 5,000 units, it could easily get to 60,000, maybe even 70,000 people per square mile.

We also see some pretty high increases in the SLU/Denny Triangle-ish areas, though their densities are still relatively low.





A map for reference:


Bonus: Downtown Bellevue (Tract 238.02)
Land area = 0.695 sq miles
2000 population: 2,588
2000 density: 3,724 people per square mile
2008 population: 6,640
2008 density: 9,554 people per square mile

If you're wondering about the U-District census tract, it appears that approximately 2,500 residents of Census Tract 53.02 were accidentally counted in 53.01 for the 2000 census. Tract 53.02 is the UW campus, while 53.01 is the tract to the north and west of it (and the tract that supposedly had over 40,000 people per square mile in 2000). The Census claims that 53.02 (the campus) only had about 2,500 residents in 2000, despite the fact that UW's on-campus dorm population is around 5,000. Looking over the OFM numbers (which corrects this mistake and moves 2,500 people between the tracts), apparently these ~2,500 dorm residents were accidentally counted in the neighboring census tract, artificially boosting it's population density big time (while simultaneously cutting the actual campus population density to half of what it really is). I had always noticed that the UW tract's population didn't seem high enough, but hadn't given it a lot of thought. Several years ago, I recall reading about how something similar happened in Pullman, where the Census counted a WSU dorm in the town of Endicott. At least that's what appears to have happened here.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 07:27 AM   #2
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Interesting about 53.01! I thought it was people counted as frat/sor residents who didn't actually live there, like off-campus "members," but if it was a simpler error, great.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 06:11 AM   #3
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OK let's try again.

Next person who utters the f-word gets suspended. Bgwah put this together, so if you find his format confusing, you can tell him in a much nicer way.

Thank you.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 06:39 AM   #4
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Well, I guess I missed the name-calling on this thread, so I don't know if anyone remarked on how surprisingly low the Uptown/Lower Queen Anne area (tract 71, if I read it right) comes in on this list. Is that because Seattle Center is so much of the land area?
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Old September 1st, 2009, 07:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM View Post
Well, I guess I missed the name-calling on this thread, so I don't know if anyone remarked on how surprisingly low the Uptown/Lower Queen Anne area (tract 71, if I read it right) comes in on this list. Is that because Seattle Center is so much of the land area?
Yeah, I would say ~35-40% of the tract is Seattle Center.

The tract to the north (70) has over 22,000 people per square mile, though.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 07:45 AM   #6
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BTW, the DSA has very different 2008 numbers. For example their combined 80.01 and 80.02 numbers are 2,000 people less than OFM's. DSA used a third party called Claritas. I suspect it's Census numbers. What's probably happening is OFM is using very different assumptions about occupancy of newly-built units, or something like that.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 08:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
BTW, the DSA has very different 2008 numbers. For example their combined 80.01 and 80.02 numbers are 2,000 people less than OFM's. DSA used a third party called Claritas. I suspect it's Census numbers. What's probably happening is OFM is using very different assumptions about occupancy of newly-built units, or something like that.

That's might be true. It looks like they may assume occupancy rates are the same city-wide, though they would obviously be lower in newly constructed buildings. But I'm not sure, I just skimmed through the methodology article... You can read it here if you want to.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 10:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
BTW, the DSA has very different 2008 numbers. For example their combined 80.01 and 80.02 numbers are 2,000 people less than OFM's. DSA used a third party called Claritas. I suspect it's Census numbers. What's probably happening is OFM is using very different assumptions about occupancy of newly-built units, or something like that.
The Census doesn't have numbers for 2008, though. I'd assume the ACS will pretty soon, but I don't think the survey publishes numbers for each neighborhood.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgwah View Post
Yeah, I would say ~35-40% of the tract is Seattle Center.

The tract to the north (70) has over 22,000 people per square mile, though.
I think that's largely due to the fact that about half of Lower Queen Anne consists of Seattle Center, which is a huge swathe of public land where nobody lives.

It appears as though the area around the sculpture park was the fastest growing part of the city. I wonder what it will be like ten years from now. I wouldn't be surprised if the dark-green tract next to it eclipses the one in Capitol Hill some time soon, making Belltown denser.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 03:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Linguist View Post
It appears as though the area around the sculpture park was the fastest growing part of the city. I wonder what it will be like ten years from now. I wouldn't be surprised if the dark-green tract next to it eclipses the one in Capitol Hill some time soon, making Belltown denser.
Yeah, it'll be interesting to see. Belltown still has a lot of developable space, though the area by the sculpture park is pretty well filled in.

Of course, there's a lot of development going on in Capitol Hill, too, though I think more of it is in census tract 84 than in census tract 74.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 03:42 AM   #11
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Tract 80.02, the small dark green one in Belltown, will almost certainly be #1 by the 2020 census...

Let's just think about this... 1521 2nd Ave, for example, had people starting to move in last November (after this count). It has 143 units. Applying the 1.35 people per household that is typical, that equates to about 193 residents. The tract is small, only 0.086 square miles. So 1521 alone will bring about 2,245 people per square mile to the tract.

I don't know any other specific residential projects that have finished in that tract since April 2008 off the top of my head, but I'm just trying to give you guys an idea of how much one project can boost a tract's density.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 08:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgwah View Post
Tract 80.02, the small dark green one in Belltown, will almost certainly be #1 by the 2020 census...

Let's just think about this... 1521 2nd Ave, for example, had people starting to move in last November (after this count). It has 143 units. Applying the 1.35 people per household that is typical, that equates to about 193 residents. The tract is small, only 0.086 square miles. So 1521 alone will bring about 2,245 people per square mile to the tract.

I don't know any other specific residential projects that have finished in that tract since April 2008 off the top of my head, but I'm just trying to give you guys an idea of how much one project can boost a tract's density.
True. And 1521 2nd has a high square ft/unit ratio, so I wouldn't be surprised if it averaged more than 1.35 people per unit. That said, isn't 1521 2nd in census tract 81?

Overall, I suspect you're right that 80.02 will be #1 in 2020 -- there are several large projects slated for it and not many that I can think of for tract 74, which is the only other contender.

bgwah, is it easy for you to run these numbers for other tracts? I'd be interested to know, say, how Fremont compares to Ballard, or Green Lake to Wallingford.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 08:31 PM   #13
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Bgwah, can you please list all neighborhoods by number of people living in each traits? If you have the sources based on what these neighborhoods population projected for 2020, can you please post it? Thanks!

I won't be surprised if Belltown become number one most dense neighborhood in Seattle. Belltown, Denny Triangle, First Hill, and CBD are only neighborhoods that are allowed to build residential towers so far.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 09:26 PM   #14
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Census tracts don't really follow neighborhood boundaries, and Seattle doesn't really have well-defined neighborhood boundaries anyway. :\
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Old September 8th, 2009, 02:16 AM   #15
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True. For places like Ballard, the U-District, etc., the boundaries don't really correspond to how you normally think of neighborhoods, particularly the dense central districts of most neighborhoods.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:11 AM   #16
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Do you mind clarifying a bit on the U District? It seems like it has some fairly nice topographic/man made boundaries in place. Then again, I'm not sure how I normally think of neighborhood boundaries.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 05:32 AM   #17
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The west half of the U-District shares a census tract with a big chunk of Wallingford that's mostly single-family. The southern part shares a tract with the whole campus, which is mostly uninhabited. The densest tract wraps around the NW corner of the campus and includes frat row, which the census seems to count much more heavily than OFM.
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