Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Madison Park: not young, not gay

What the census tells us 

We already knew (since we've reported on the subject) that Madison Park is a virtually lily-white community (90% non-minority, in fact). Now we discover, with the official statistics from the 2010 U.S. Census to back it up, that we're also old (at least relatively so). And not only that, we're straight---not that there's anything wrong with it. If there's some shocking revelation about Madison Park that's hiding in the most-recent Census numbers, we certainly haven't found it.

We've been digging through the population statistics for an inordinate amount of time--18 months, in fact. To be fair (to ourselves, that is) between the actual 2010 Census numbers and a separately prepared 2007-2011 American Community Survey there are a lot of data points to choose from. But while there's no news in what we've discovered, we suspect that many readers will nevertheless find the specifics interesting. 

For example, Madison Park is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the region, at least in terms its population. The median age of Madison Parkers is a relatively high 47 years old, which at least is not higher than it was at the time of the 2000 Census. But our almost-half-century median age certainly brands us as comparatively ancient. For King County's residents as a whole, the median age (the point at which half the population is older and half is younger) is only 36 years, while the median age on Capitol Hill is just 31.6 years.  Even Laurelhurst, which shares many characteristics with Madison Park, has a youngish population whose median age, 36, mirrors that of King County.

Despite our oldster image, however, Madison Park actually has a slightly higher percentage of kids than does Seattle as a whole. Those under 18 years old comprise 15.4% of the City's population versus 18.1% for Madison Park.  Where Madison Park deviates from the Seattle norm is in its lack of adults in their 20s and 30s and in the preponderance of "seniors."  While the neighborhood has roughly half the young adults of the City as a whole, it has almost double the number of those 60 years of age and older. The proportion of residents in their 40s and 50s is essentially the same at the neighborhood and City level.

Here, graphically, is how the numbers break out, comparing Seattle to Madison Park (known officially as King County Census Tract 63):

So yes, we're old (or at least about a third of us are)--not that there's anything wrong with that either.  Let's just say that Madison Park is composed of a relatively more experienced population than Seattle as a whole.

Meanwhile, with regard to our lack of gay population, the evidence from the Census is rather more indirect. There was no sexual orientation question asked on the 2010 Census, so there is only information available on the number of couples who indicated they had a "partner" of the same sex sharing a household.  Madison Park did not have many such couples relative what was true for Seattle, so we're assuming that the same lack of critical mass holds true for single gays and lesbians in Madison Park as is apparently true for couples.

The Seattle Times' analysis of the Census data showed that one in 18 couples in Seattle was same sex, 6% of all couples. The neighborhoods most favored by these couples were Capitol Hill and West Seattle.  Although Madison Park is demonstrably gay friendly, we apparently don't have a high proportion of gays and lesbians as residents, though the number of same-sex couples was up significantly between the 2000 and 2010 Census reports. While there were only 30 such couples reporting at the millennium, there were 43 in 2010, a fairly significant increase (43%).  Madison Park reported 1,209 total couples, married or otherwise, so the percentage of same-sex couples was still only 3.5%, a bit better than half the percentage for Seattle as a whole.

Seattle TImes map showing the concentration of gay couples in Seattle

It's perhaps worth noting that though gays may be under-represented in our neighborhood, relatively speaking, there are more gay couples living in Madison Park than in Laurelhurst (which has a 40% larger population than ours).  Montlake, meanwhile, actually saw a decline in the number of gay couples living there between 2000 and 2010. Though the number of Montlake residents is 73% higher than Madison Park's, according to census figures our neighbor has only 49 same-sex couples.

There are a few other interesting things that were revealed in the Census data which we will ultimately be sharing.  Next up:  an overview of Madison Park housing.

[Thanks to Seattle's Demographer, Diana Canzoneri, King County's Demographer, Chandler Felt, and Justin Mayo of the Seattle Times for their help in pointing to the data sources utilized in this posting.]

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