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Tacoma is among America’s most gentrified communities


There are 20 cities in America that have experienced the worst gentrification since the turn of the millennium. Thankfully, most of the West Coast and the Northwest has been spared from the dramatic change — except Tacoma.

RELATED: 6 reasons T-Town is better than Seattle

A Tacoma zip code nudges into the top 20 most gentrified American areas, according to RentCafe. The city is among only two West Coast cities that made the list (Los Angeles ranks No. 1).

RentCafe crunched data collected from the 2000 and 2016 censuses. It considered three factors to determine which zip codes experienced the greatest gentrification: change in median home value; change in median household income; and the share of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Tacoma’s zip code 98402 has experienced:

  • 103 percent increase in median home value
  • 83 percent increase in median home income
  • 141 percent increase in people with bachelor degrees or higher

The 98402 zip code is essentially the city’s downtown core, with a University of Washington campus, convention center, and a stretch of waterfront property.

Beyond Tacoma

Seattle is also notable. RentCafe points out that Seattle’s median household income in 2000 was $47,378. In 2016, that jumped up to $90,546 — a 91 percent increase.

It should come as no surprise that Tacoma is absorbing a lot of Seattle’s overflow — in population and economically. Last year, Redfin noted that 62.3 percent of Seattle homes were selling above the list price. Tacoma was just behind with 52.6 percent. Both Seattle and Tacoma have among the fasted growing home prices in the state: 13.5 percent and 12.2 percent, respectively.

City Economic Development Director Ricardo Noguera told KIRO Radio in 2017 that Tacoma tends to “feed off the beast.” The beast being the Seattle-Bellevue region.

“You’re seeing more and more folks that are being priced out of King County moving here and other folks who are empty nesters who are moving here from other parts of Pierce County and beyond,” Noguera said.

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