Representing just over 4% of Seattle’s area, downtown is home to more than 14% of all Seattleites. Since 2010, approximately one out of every three new city residents has chosen to live downtown, with significant residential growth occurring in South Lake Union and the Denny Triangle. Over the past decade, these two neighborhoods welcomed more than 12% of Seattle’s total population increase, and they represent more than 40% of downtown’s net increase in residents. This rapid residential growth has contributed to downtown’s vibrancy. Downtown is significantly more diverse now than in 2010 and more diverse compared to the rest of the city. With Seattle’s population projected to increase over the next decade, downtown is poised to welcome even more dwellers with 17,000-plus residential units under construction or being proposed.

Key Takeaways

  • Population Growth: Downtown continues to be the most densely populated neighborhood in Seattle with more than 104,000 residents — an increase of more than 70% since 2010.
  • Most Populous Neighborhoods: In 2022, the top three most populous downtown neighborhoods were Capitol Hill (west of Broadway) with more than 18,200 residents, followed closely by South Lake Union (15,100) and First Hill (14,600).
  • Most Growth Since 2010: While every downtown neighborhood has gained population since 2010, South Lake Union and the Denny Triangle combined account for nearly 45% of downtown’s net residential population increase.
  • Downtown Diversity: Downtown has grown increasingly diverse. In 2022, downtown scored 69.1 according to Esri’s Diversity Index* — an increase of nearly 15 points since 2010. This is five points higher than the rest of Seattle.
  • Apartment Buildings: Since 2019, downtown Seattle has added the third-most apartment units (nearly 4,000) compared to peer city downtowns.
*The Diversity Index from Esri represents the likelihood that two persons, chosen at random from the same area, belong to different races or ethnic groups.

Downtown Kids

Downtown’s population of residents under 18 has increased from 3.9% in 2010 to 6.4% in 2022.

Proposed and Under Construction Residential Units
By neighborhood

Source: CoStar

Neighborhood Population Changes
Total residents and percent change since 2010

Source: Esri Community Analyst

Multigenerational Neighborhood

The Chinatown-International District has the highest share of residents 65 and older (33%) and 14 years and younger (10%).

Total Occupied Apartments Downtown
Since 2013

Source: CoStar

Change in Number of Occupied Apartment Units
Since 2019 among peer downtowns

Source: CoStar

Balancing Act

According to the U.S. Census, since 2010 women have moved downtown at a greater rate than men. Uptown is the downtown neighborhood most evenly split by gender.

Peer Downtown Average Market Rent Per Unit
2022, inflation-adjusted

Source: CoStar

Late millennials and early Gen Zers

Nearly 40% of Capitol Hill residents were between 25-34 — the highest share among downtown neighborhoods, followed closely by Uptown (35%), South Lake Union (34%) and Belltown (33%).