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Shifting Population Changes the Face of King County 

Even as Seattle's minority population barely held over the past decade, the percentage of people of color swelled in the suburbs of South King County, where newly arriving immigrants and former Seattle residents converged to form majority populations in SeaTac, Renton, Kent and Tukwila.

By Lornet Turnbull and Justin Mayo
Seattle Times staff reporters

About seven years ago, Linh Tran and her husband began looking around for a newer, bigger place for their family.

Their old house on Seattle's Beacon Hill was becoming a money pit; cashing in would also let them ride a then-skyrocketing housing market.

Linh Tran's parents, who lived with the couple and their infant daughter, protested any move that would take them too far from their bank and their doctors, from their friends, familiar bus routes and favorite haunts in the Chinatown International District.

In 2004, they bought a home on a quiet dead-end street in Tukwila — and with that move joined a wave of people of color who settled into South King County during the past decade.

Census 2010 data released Wednesday show that even as the percentage of minorities in Seattle remained flat, it has exploded in the suburbs south of the city limits.

The shift happened as people of color moved out of Seattle's Central Area, Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill neighborhoods, joining immigrants relocating to the county's southern suburbs. It has left Seattle barely more diverse than it was a decade ago, while in Kent, Renton, SeaTac and Tukwila, minorities comprise a majority of the population.