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White Center, Washington

Coordinates: 47°30′27″N 122°20′51″W / 47.50750°N 122.34750°W / 47.50750; -122.34750
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White Center, Washington
Location of White Center, Washington
Location of White Center, Washington
Coordinates: 47°30′27″N 122°20′51″W / 47.50750°N 122.34750°W / 47.50750; -122.34750
CountryUnited States
 • Total2.25 sq mi (5.83 km2)
 • Land2.24 sq mi (5.81 km2)
 • Water0.008 sq mi (0.02 km2)
381 ft (116 m)
 • Total16,631
 • Density7,400/sq mi (2,900/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
98106, 98146, 98168
Area code206
FIPS code53-78225[2]
GNIS feature ID1512801[3]

White Center is a census-designated place (CDP) in King County, Washington, United States. It lies between West Seattle and Burien. The population was 16,631 at the 2020 census.[4]

White Center is sometimes referred to by the nickname "Rat City" due to the historical presence of a military Relocation and Training Center during World War II.[5] The Rat City Rollergirls are a Seattle roller derby team that began training in White Center.


White Center is located in western King County at 47°30′27″N 122°20′51″W / 47.50750°N 122.34750°W / 47.50750; -122.34750 (47.507370, −122.347385). It has a total area of 2.25 square miles (5.83 km2), of which 0.01 square miles (0.02 km2), or 0.41%, are water.[6]

The CDP is bordered to the north and west by Seattle, to the east by unincorporated Boulevard Park, and to the south by the city of Burien. Washington State Route 509 forms the eastern border of the White Center CDP. Downtown Seattle is 7 miles (11 km) to the north, and the center of Burien is 3 miles (5 km) to the south.

The heavily polluted Hicklin Lake is located within White Center.


Historical population
Census area in 1980 & 1990
enumerated as
White Center-Shorewood.[7]

As of the census of 2010,[1] there were 13,495 people, 4,920 households, and 3,105 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 5,996.0 people per square mile (2,315.1/km2). There were 5,235 housing units at an average density of 2,326.0/sq mi (898.1/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 47.0% White (39.6% Non-Hispanic White), 9.0% Black or African American, 1.6% American Indian and Alaska Native, 22.9% Asian, 1.7% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 11.4% from other races, and 6.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 21.5% of the population.

There were 4,920 households, out of which 35.0% had individuals under 18 years, 39.2% were husband-wife families, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.29.

In terms of age distribution, 23.7% were under the age of 18, 67.3% from 18 to 64, and 9.0% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.1 years. For every 100 females there were 102.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.0 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $35,448, and the median income for a family was $41,433. Males who worked full-time, year-round had a median income of $32,392 versus $28,893 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $19,852. About 23.8% of families and 25.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.3% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over. The typical home for sale in White Center was built in 1969, which is older than the typical home for sale in Washington.[8]


U.S. and Cambodian flags on the side of the New Angkor Market

White Center is part of the Highline School District, which covers much of southwestern King County.[9] Elementary schools include Beverly Park Elementary, Mount View Elementary, Southern Heights Elementary, and White Center Heights Elementary. Secondary schools include Rainier Prep Public Charter School, Cascade Middle School, New Start High School, and Evergreen High School.


Origin of the name[edit]

In 1918 George White and Hiram Green resolved the question of what to call the booming community. White won a coin toss with Green, and thereafter the community was called White Center.[10]


White Center is an urbanized area of King County that is not incorporated as part of a city. Seattle has been working towards incorporating the area since the mid-2000s. An area south of White Center, known as North Highline, was annexed by neighboring Burien on April 1, 2010.[11] The Seattle city council rejected annexation of White Center in 2009, and a measure to annex White Center to Burien was rejected by voters in 2012.[12] Plans to annex White Center got a boost in March 2016 when the state legislature directed that $7 million go to the city of Seattle if it annexes the area. Completing annexation would require approval by the voters in the area as well as by the Seattle City Council, and would not be completed before 2017.[12]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Census website. Retrieved on July 31, 2012.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "White Center". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  4. ^ "QuickFacts - White Center CDP, Washington" (Web). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  5. ^ "Where exactly is Rat City? « Rat City Rollergirls". ratcityrollergirls.com. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  6. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001), White Center CDP, Washington". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  7. ^ "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790–2000)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  8. ^ "98146 Real Estate & Homes for Sale - Estately".
  9. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Geography Division (December 21, 2020). 2020 Census – School District Reference Map: King County, WA (PDF) (Map). 1:80,000. U.S. Census Bureau. p. 2. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  10. ^ "White Center — Thumbnail History". July 23, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  11. ^ "Burien to take census of North Highline | The Highline Times / Des Moines News". highlinetimes.com. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "White Center could become part of Seattle, thanks to money from Legislature". Seattle Times. March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  13. ^ "Floyd Johnson – BoxRec". boxrec.com. Retrieved September 2, 2015.

External links[edit]