Tukwila, Washington

Tukwila (/tʌkˈwɪlə/ tuk-WIL-ə)[5] is a suburban city in King County, Washington, United States, bordering on Seattle at its northern edge. The population was 19,107 at the 2010 census;[6] the 2015 Estimate from the Office of Financial Management estimates an increase to 20,018.

Tukwila is a community of communities, with residents of many diverse origins living in the city. A large commercial center draws workers and consumers to the city daily; industry thrives with the confluence of rivers, freeways, railroads, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Tukwila, Washington
Official seal of Tukwila, Washington

Nickname(s): Hazelnut City
Location of Tukwila, Washington

Location of Tukwila, Washington
Coordinates: 47°28′42″N 122°16′32″W / 47.47833°N 122.27556°WCoordinates: 47°28′42″N 122°16′32″W / 47.47833°N 122.27556°W
Country United States
State Washington
County King
Incorporated 1908
 • Mayor Allan Ekberg
 • Total 9.58 sq mi (24.81 km2)
 • Land 9.17 sq mi (23.75 km2)
 • Water 0.41 sq mi (1.06 km2)
Elevation 138 ft (42 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 19,107
 • Estimate (2015)[3] 20,018
 • Density 2,083.6/sq mi (804.5/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes 98100-98199
Area code(s) 206
FIPS code 53-72625
GNIS feature ID 1509106[4]
Website www.TukwilaWA.gov
Tukwila - Duwamish River - 02
Duwamish River, Tukwila (2007)


The earliest people in Tukwila were the Duwamish who made their homes along the Black and Duwamish Rivers. The name "Tukwila" is the Chinook Jargon word for "nut" or "hazelnut",[7] referring to the hazelnut trees that grew in the area. The Duwamish lived in cedar longhouses, hunted and fished, picked wild berries, and used the river for trade with neighboring peoples.

In 1853, the first Caucasian settler was Joseph Foster, a Canadian pioneer who had traveled to the northwest from Wisconsin. Foster would become known as the "Father of Tukwila" and serve King County, Washington Territory in the legislature for 22 years. Today, the site of Foster's home on the banks of the Duwamish River is part of Fort Dent Park, which also served as a military base during the 1850s Indian Wars. Foster's name is memorialized in the Foster neighborhood of Tukwila, where Foster High School is located.

In the early years, the small village grew into an agricultural center and remained a trading point in the upper Duwamish River Valley. Population began to grow and industry followed, largely farm-oriented commerce. Early electric rail trains traveled along Interurban Avenue in Tukwila, connecting to Renton and a line to Tacoma. The Interurban Railroad operated a commuter line from 1902 to 1928, making it possible to travel from Seattle to Tacoma in less than an hour.[8] The first macadam paved road in Washington State was in Tukwila and bears the name of this new method of street paving. One of the earliest paved military roads is located in the city.

Tukwila was incorporated as a city in 1908. The city's first mayor was Joel Shomaker, a newspaperman.[9] Among the city's first council members was Del Adelphia, a famous magician.[10]


Tukwila is located at 47°28′42″N 122°16′32″W / 47.478243°N 122.275432°W (47.478243, -122.275432).[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.58 square miles (24.81 km2), of which, 9.17 square miles (23.75 km2) is land and 0.41 square miles (1.06 km2) is water.[1]


  • Cascade View (Upper West Side) Suburban, Lower Income
  • McMicken Heights (Lower West Side) Suburban, Middle Income
  • Riverton (Central West Side) Urban, Working Class Income
  • Foster (Central/Mid-West) Suburban, Middle Income
  • Ryan Hill (Upper End) Industrial, Middle Income
  • Allentown (Upper End) Industrial, Middle Income
  • Duwamish (Upper East Side) Industrial, Lower Income
  • Thorndyke (Central/Lower East Side), Suburban, Middle Income
  • Southcenter (Central) Urban, Upper-Middle Income

Surrounding cities


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201620,033[12]4.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
2015 Estimate[3]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 19,107 people, 7,157 households, and 4,124 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,083.6 inhabitants per square mile (804.5/km2). There were 7,755 housing units at an average density of 845.7 per square mile (326.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 43.9% White (37.6% Non-Hispanic White), 17.9% African American, 1.1% Native American, 19.0% Asian, 2.8% Pacific Islander, 9.3% from other races, and 6.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.5% of the population.

There were 7,157 households of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.4% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.42.

The median age in the city was 33.8 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 32.7% were from 25 to 44; 25.1% were from 45 to 64; and 8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.9% male and 48.1% female.

The median income for a household is $40,718, and the median income for a family of $42,442. Males had a median income of $35,525 versus $28,913 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,354. About 8.8% of families and 12.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those ages 65 or over.

2000 census

Tukwila is one of King County's most diverse cities. As of the census of 2000, there were 17,181 people, 7,186 households, and 3,952 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,927.0 people per square mile (743.7/km2). There were 7,725 housing units at an average density of 866.4 per square mile (334.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 58.63% White, 12.79% African American, 1.30% Native American, 10.88% Asian, 1.82% Pacific Islander, 8.06% from other races, and 6.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 13.56% of the population. On a New York Times article it is stated that the Tukwila School District consists one of the most diverse range of students in Washington.[14]

There were 7,186 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.0% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 37.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 109.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.9 males.


According to the Uniform Crime Report statistics submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2015, there were 151 violent crimes and 3,336 property crimes. Of these, the violent crimes consisted of one murder, 21 rapes, 62 robberies, and 66 aggravated assaults, while 209 burglaries, 2,669 larceny-thefts, 458 motor vehicle thefts and 4 arson defined the property offenses.[15][16]


Tukwila's location at the confluence of rivers, freeways and railroads has made it valuable as a center of commerce. Westfield Southcenter (formerly Southcenter Mall), Puget Sound's largest shopping complex, is located in Tukwila, as well as a number of Boeing corporation facilities. Tukwila is also the location of several Internet and Corporate datacenters, including Microsoft, Internap, the University of Washington, Savvis, AboveNet,[17] digital.forest, HopOne, and Fortress Colocation, these are mostly located in Sabey Corporation's Intergate [18] Seattle campus near Boeing Field. It is only 5 minutes from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The city has rail service from Amtrak Cascades and the Sound Transit Sounder commuter rail at Tukwila station, as well as Sound Transit Link light rail service at Tukwila International Boulevard station. Approximately 45,000 people work in Tukwila.

Top employers

According to the City's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[19] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Boeing 5597
2 Normac Inc. 1821
3 Allied Mechanical Services, Inc 1249
4 Kaiser Permanente of Washington 950
5 Macy's 869
6 King County Metro 800
7 Costco 609
8 King County Correction Guild 545
9 Boeing Employees Credit Union 516
10 United Parcel Service 381


Tukwila is home to the Tukwila School District. The campuses that the Tukwila School District operate are Cascade View Elementary School, Thorndyke Elementary School, Tukwila Elementary School, Showalter Middle School, and Foster High School. Also in Tukwila is Raisbeck Aviation High School operated by the Highline School District.


The Museum of Flight is an air and space museum located in the extreme northern part of Tukwila,[20] adjacent to Boeing Field. Tukwila is also home to the Rainier Symphony, which conducts several performances each year at the Foster Performing Arts Center in Tukwila.

Starting with its first mayor, Tukwila has a long history of vibrant personalities. Among the city's first council members was Del Adelphia, a famous magician.[10] In the 1990s and 2000s, "visiting Tukwila" was used as a euphemism for marital intercourse by Seattle Times columnist Erik Lacitis.[21]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  3. ^ a b "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  4. ^ "Tukwila". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  5. ^ "A Northwest Pronunciation Guide". Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  6. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  7. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 518. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Interurban Rail Transit in King County and the Puget Sound Region - HistoryLink.org". www.historylink.org. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  9. ^ "Joel Shomaker gave Tukwila start in 1908". August 16, 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Holt County Sentinel". August 13, 1909 – via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  12. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  13. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  14. ^ "Diversity in the Classroom". The New York Times. April 23, 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  15. ^ "Washington – Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City, 2015". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  16. ^ "Crime rate in Tukwila, Washington (WA): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers, crime map". City-Data. 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  17. ^ "Forest.net homepage".
  18. ^ "Sabey Corporation homepage".
  19. ^ "City of Tukwila CAFR" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Museum of Flight". Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  21. ^ Lacitis, Eric (August 2, 1996). "Rex, Debby: Still `Visiting Tukwila' And Liking It A Lot".

External links

  1. ^ "Living - Visiting Tukwila takes on a whole new meaning - Seattle Times Newspaper". community.seattletimes.nwsource.com.

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