Nestled between Tacoma and Seattle in King County, Kent is well-known for being the dead center of the Tacoma-Bellevue-Seattle urban metropolitan area. It has all the things you’d expect out of any city worth its salt — beautiful and safe residential communities, robust industry, and bustling commercial sectors.
Kent is among the oldest cities in Washington, having its beginnings during the 1850s, when an influx of settlers from the east began flowing into the area. For much of its early life, Kent was a humble agrarian settlement, with farming making up for most of its meager income. When pests caused bad harvests of hops in Europe, the hops grown here came into much higher demand, causing an economic boom, and the first rail station to be built in the area.
When Kent was incorporated in 1890, it only had a population of around 700 people, and continued to be agriculture-centric. During the Great Depression, it earned the nickname of “Lettuce Capital of the World”, due to the sheer amount of the green plant it exported. The end of World War II brought Kent’s true population boom, with the town’s population growing at an exponential rate because of aerospace and technology companies building in the area.
Nowadays, Kent is far removed from its farmstead origins, a truly modern, tech-centric city with a lively nightlife and plenty of economic opportunity. It should be unsurprising, then, that Kent is home to many notable people, including musician and producer Kyle Townsend and comedian Jeff Dye.
Kent, WA Population & Demographics
The city of Kent has a population of 132,320 distributed out over 33.7 miles at a population density of about 4,000 people per square mile. The median age here is 35.1, which is a few years less than the Washington average of 37.9. The median household income in Kent is $81,423, which is a little higher than the average household income for the state of Washington, being $78,687.
Kent is a very diverse community, with 38% of the population being Caucasian, 24% being Asian, and Hispanics making up 16% of the population. 35.9% of Kent’s population are foreign-born, with 54% of the foreign-born population coming from Asia. Kent’s gender ratio is exactly 50/50.
Kent’s zip codes include 98030, 98031, and 98032, while the area code is 253. Kent is right in the middle of the largest metropolitan area in the state, and can easily access Seattle and Tacoma along the State Route 167 and commuter rail and bus.
Kent, WA Crime
Thinking about moving to this community, but wondering if Kent is a safe place to live? Crime-wise, Kent doesn’t pass with flying colors to say the least, but that’s not because of its violent crime rate. In fact, Kent’s violent crime rate is 2% lower than the national average, according to Areavibes, with the murder rate here being 3.1 per 100,000 people, rape at 71.8 per 100,000, robbery at 184.7 per 100,000, and assault at 111.4 per 100,000.
However, Kent’s property crime rate is nothing short of abysmal, being 88% higher than the national average and earning Kent an F on Areavibes’ scales. Burglaries occur at a rate of 575.6 per 100,000 people, theft at 2,746.5 per 100,000, and vehicle theft at 647.3 per 100,000.
Kent has a serious property crime problem, not very different from the wider Seattle area, but is generally safe in terms of violent crime.
Cost of Living in Kent, WA
Kent isn’t the cheapest place in Washington, but considering its a urban center directly connected to Seattle, you may be surprised at just how affordable it is, with the cost of living here being 9% higher on average than other places in America, according to Payscale. Homes in Kent are around 10% more expensive than the average home in Washington, with the average home costing you $413,600.
Utilities here cost around 14% more than the national average, and groceries around 10% higher than the national average. Meanwhile, transportation fees are around 3% lower than the national average. The average utility bill you can expect to pay here will set you back $127.65.
Kent, WA Typical Living Expenses
Here are some common items you might buy, and their prices as according to Numbeo:
- Milk – $3.56
- Loaf of Bread – $2.99
- 12 Regular Eggs – $2.94
- 1 lb. Chicken Filet – $5.07
- 1 lb. Apples – $2.30
- 1 lb. Tomatoes – $2.49
- Gasoline, 1 Gallon – $2.93
- Meal at an Inexpensive Restaurant – $17.99
- Monthly Internet Cost – $63.64
Those looking to make a living in Kent will be relieved to know that Washington has no income tax, but does have a sales tax rate of 6.5% and average effective property tax rate of 1.13%.
Kent, WA Transportation
Need to know how to get around Kent? Being smack dab in the center of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan center means that getting around isn’t hard at all. The main vehicle routes through the area are Interstate 5, State Route 167, and State Route 516, all of which can be used to easily get to anywhere you need to go in the area. Additionally, the Sounder commuter rail provides transport throughout the city for those who don’t have or don’t want to use their car, and the Link light rail, well known throughout Seattle, is planned to extend into the area by 2024.
Kent, WA Schools & Colleges
Living in Kent, you’ll be served by the aptly named Kent School District. The district is home to 43 schools, of which 16% are rated as Above Average, according to GreatSchools. If you’ve got a young one, or a teenager, there’s plenty of options in the city for elementary, middle, and high schools. Notable ones include Grass Lake Elementary School, Excel Public Charter School, and Kentridge High School.
If you or a loved one are looking to get into higher education, you’ll have easy driven access to excellently-rated campuses like the public University of Washington, Seattle Campus and the private Seattle University. Because Kent is located in between two larger cities, there’s plenty of opportunity for attendance to community colleges and other higher education opportunities.
Kent, WA Climate & Weather
Those familiar with Seattle’s oft gloomy climate will not be surprised with Kent’s climate, for obvious reasons. Expect lovely weather during the summer months, but constant rain and bitter winters. You can expect lows of 36 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months, and highs of 77 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. Kent experiences more than the average amount of rainfall when compared with the rest of the United States, with 43 inches per year as compared to 38. Meanwhile, Kent experiences less snow than most places in America, with only 6 inches per year as compared to the average of 28. The best times to visit Kent, in terms of comfort rating, are July and August.
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Best Neighborhoods in Kent, WA
Kent, like its sister cities, have plenty of distinct communities to settle down in. If you’re looking for something family-friendly, looking for a senior-oriented community, or looking for something more hip, there’s something for you here. Check out some of your neighborhood options below:
The most popular Kent neighborhoods are East Hill, Star Lake, Scenic Hill, and Midway. East Hill is known for being a slightly older crowd. You’ll often see retired folks and couples without kids living in this area. The homes are a bit older as well.
Star Lake is newer, and there are many homes being built in this area. It’s filled with a much younger crowd with kids, so you can expect there to be many families right around here. Scenic Hill is a combination. There is an assisted living center here, but it also has an elementary school, so young families are in the process of moving here. Midway has the most young single adults with many apartments and townhomes for sales.
Kent, WA Real Estate
Kent gets a 93 on Redfin’s competitivity rating scale, and for good reason. Kent is among the most competitive housing markets in the area, dwarfed only by juggernauts like Seattle.
The median sale price for Kent homes is $515,000, which has been on an upward trend within the last few years. Similarly on an upward trend is the number of houses sold, with the last three years being marked by 115 sales. On a sharp downward trend is the median days on the market, which has plummeted by 72.1% throughout the last three years, and now sits at 6.
54.9% of Kent residents own their own homes, with the rest renting. Renting here is expensive, but not overly so for the area, with an average monthly rent of $1,529.
If you want to make yourself a part of any of these communities, you should check out the latest listings for homes for sale in Kent, WA.
Jobs in Kent, WA
Those planning on making a living in Kent should know that wages have been going down while cost of living has been going up at a quicker rate, according to Payscale. The most popular positions of employment are Warehouse Associate, Office Manager, and Registered Nurse. The largest employers in the area are Exotic Metals Forming Company, Amazon.com Inc, and Blue Origin. The average salary for a worker in Kent is $70k a year, while the average hourly wage is $19.85.
Kent’s primary industries are trades, manufacturing, aerospace research, and more. A wide variety of skill sets could be put to good use here. Check out the latest listings for jobs in Kent, WA here.
Things to Do in Kent, WA
Kent may not be as big as Seattle, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of fun, family-friendly attractions to experience and wonderful shopping to do here. You should check out some of the best things to do in Kent, WA below:
- Accesso ShoWare Center – Despite the strange name, this sports center has little to do with shoewear and everything to do with hockey, indoor soccer, and even more exotic sports like monster truck events.
- Lake Meridian Park – Excitement’s all well and good, but sometimes relaxation is what you really need. With a lake, playground, and picnic areas, Lake Meridian Park is the perfect place in Kent to do just that.
- Pacific Raceways – Hosting NASCAR races as well as other events, tickets are dirt cheap for this wonderful, high octane Kent attraction. If you love racing, you’ll love Pacific Raceways.
- Kent Hill Plaza Shopping Center – Located in a convenient spot right in the middle of Kent, Kent Hill Plaza Shopping Center is the perfect place to get your shopping done.
- Kent Station – By far the most popular shopping center in the area, this urban open air village offers all of what you’d expect from a good shopping center and more.
Places to Eat in Kent, WA
Alongside its host of things to do, Kent is also home to plenty of great eats! Check out some below:
If you’re looking for delicious Mexican food in Kent that will blow your mind, you have to check out this steak house. Not only is it a local favorite, but it’s one of the best things to do for couples in Kent. It is always filled with date night couples looking for a reprieve from daily life. With over 1,500 positive reviews on Google alone, it makes sense why so many people are eating at this place! You’ll want to try the asada when you go.
310 Washington Ave N, Kent, WA 98032, (253) 854-0971
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When it comes to grabbing a delicious bite, you can’t go wrong with BBQ. This is a family friendly Kent restaurant that your kids will enjoy! With free ice cream and picnic-style tables, no one will complain about eating this meal. It’s one of the best BBQ restaurants, so get ready to dig in and get your hands dirty! The restaurant is a local favorite and has over 1,300 positive reviews on Google.
6621 S 211th St #106, Kent, WA 98032, (425) 251-0778
Wild Wheat Bakery Cafe & Restaurant
Pastries and bread don’t get sweeter than this. The delicious cafe serves breakfast and casual lunch, so it’s a favorite amongst brunching friends and people looking for a quick bite and coffee to go. They even have gluten free options, so it’s the perfect spot to go to for a friendly lunch. Kid-approved pastries are here, meaning this is one of the best Kent restaurants to enjoy.
202 1st Ave S, Kent, WA 98032, (253) 856-8919
Sports in Kent, WA
If you’re thinking about sports in Kent, there’s no place more central to it here than the previously-mentioned Accesso ShoWare Center. This huge facility has ice rinks that host hockey games and the local hockey team, the Seattle Thunderbirds, as well as figure skating and the like. The arena also hosts indoor soccer games of the Major Arena Soccer League, and even occasionally hosts concerts. As for more casual games, there are plenty of parks in the area with soccer or basketball courts.
Moving to Kent, WA Pros & Cons
- Convenient location
- Modern, tech-oriented city
Generally speaking, Kent is a fantastic place to live. Yes, there’s issues with affordability and property crime, but the convenience and opportunity of living in such an urban center can only be matched by other juggernauts like Brooklyn and San Francisco.
Ready to take that last step and start your journey to making Kent your new home? Give All Ready Moving a call at 360-507-2447! Our crew of highly-trained professional movers will ensure your move is a stress-free process at affordable rates! Call now or fill out our online form for a free quote!