Yakima Valley Trends Blog

Did you know there are nearly 140 different community indicators on Yakima Valley Trends - each updated throughout the year? But which ones, and when?

This issue of the Yakima Valley Trends blog lists some of the most recently updated indicators on the Yakima Valley Trends website.  

This page will be updated and email alerts sent on a quarterly basis. Don't miss an update - subscribe today!

Recent Updates


0.1.2 Median Age of the PopulationYakima County enjoys a very young profile

This measure locates the “middle” year of all the ages in Yakima County:  half of the population is above the number, half below.

Census estimates that the median age in Yakima County in 2022 was slightly above 33. This is several years lower than the medians for the U.S. (39) and Washington state (about 38). The only counties in the state with a lower median age are Adams and Franklin. The values have not moved much in the past decade.

One-year estimates are also available for the city of Yakima; rolling 5-year estimates are available for the 3 regions of the county.

0.3.2 Foreign-Born ResidentsConstitute nearly one fifth of Yakima County’s population

The number of residents born in a different country gives a quick picture of immigration. In this indicator, foreign-born residents in this category are tallied by their citizenship status.

For 2022, Census estimated that over 48,000 residents in Yakima County had been born in a different county. That is up from the from 2021 but slightly lower than the peak reached in 2019 of over 50,000.

As a share of the population in 2022, immigrants amounted to 19%.  This is lower than both the U.S. and Washington state shares for the same year. As has been the case for at least a decade, most of Yakima County’s immigrants are not naturalized.

 One-year estimates are also available for the city of Yakima; rolling 5-year estimates are available for the 3 regions of the county.


3.1.2 Median Household Income - Low but rising in tandem with the U.S.

This fundamental measure of economic well-being characterizes the middle by the median and not average. In income data, averages are almost always higher than the median. Households are typically families but may consist of unrelated individuals living under the same roof. The estimates that Census provides are based on “money” income and exclude taxes and transfer payments.

The county-wide estimate for 2022 was nearly $64,000, an increase of nearly $3,000 from 2021. This is considerably below the U.S. median in the same year, about $75,800, and far below the Washington median ($91,300). Nonetheless median household income in the county has climbed about $7,000 since pre-pandemic 2019.

One-year estimates are also available for the city of Yakima; rolling 5-year estimates are available for the 3 regions of the county.

3.3.4 Shares of Employment in Top-5 Employing SectorsAgriculture & Healthcare have both risen

The distribution of the labor force into the five sectors with the highest number of workers is one way to capture the structure of the economy. In other words, in what economic activities is Yakima County most engaged.

As of 2022, the five largest sectors, ranked, in the county were:  Agriculture, Government (federal, state & local), Healthcare & Social Assistance, Retail Trade & Manufacturing. This mix differs substantially that of the state. In particular, Agriculture looms very large here; in the state, not so much. Over the time tracked by this measure, healthcare & social assistance have grown the fastest among the large sectors; government, the slowest.


4.1.1 Early Education Enrollment – recent numbers are challenging

Learning begins long before 1st grade. Increasingly, the evidence points to earlier age learning as key to children completing milestones, such as graduating from high school.  This measure relies on estimates from the American Community Survey of the Census. It covers all “nursery” participation by this age group, whether government-subsidized or not.

The 2022 estimates for Yakima County put the share of children ages 3 and 4 enrolled in nurseries at about 27%. This represents a dramatic decline from the pre-pandemic peak of 41% in 2019. For nearly all the years tracked by this indicator, the County’s rate has been below those of the U.S. and Washington state.

One-year estimates are also available for the city of Yakima; rolling 5-year estimates are available for the 3 regions of the county.


6.1.2 Residents in Poverty2022 estimates show a reversal of a downward trend

Census determines the Federal Poverty Levels (FPL) by considering family size and changes in the cost-of-living. However, they don’t take into account geographical differences, say San Francisco versus Zillah. Those households or individuals at or below the FPL for a particular year are then said to live in poverty. The calculations do not include taxes paid nor transfer payments received.

For 2022, the estimated total for Yakima County rose by nearly 7,000 people over 2021. The estimated rate, at approximately 17%, was considerably higher than in 2021, which represented the lowest rate over the past decade. As one can easily see, the county rate has been higher than those of the U.S. and the state for the entire time period.

One-year estimates are also available for the city of Yakima; rolling 5-year estimates are available for the 3 regions of the county.


7.4.4 Shares of the Population Without Health Insurance, by Age Groupsall declining but the share for working adults remains very high

Census offers several annual estimates of Yakima County’s residents without health insurance. This indicator covers the shares for three age groups:  youth (under 19), working adults (19-64), and older adults (65+).

Given Washington state’s years-long commitment to providing healthcare to children, that is, starting long before the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is not surprising that the uninsured rate for the 0-18 group for 2022 in the county is very low, at about 3%. The Yakima rate for youth has declined significantly over the years tracked.

The uninsured rate for working adults is a different matter. The 2022 estimate for the county was 19%. This is much higher than the U.S. and Washington rates, at 11% and 9%, respectively. Still, the share of working adults in the county without health insurance has declined significantly over the past decade.

As with youth, the uninsured rate for older adults in Yakima County is quite low. The 2022 estimate was less than 1%, statistically not different than zero. The county rate for this age group has been in the low single digits over the timeframe of this indicator, much like its benchmarks.


8.2.2 Renting Households Paying 50% or more of Their Income on Shelter Costsincreased in 2022, but as a share still below benchmarks

The federal government adopts thresholds of expenditures on shelter costs 30% to 35% of income, beyond which households are “housing challenged”. Those households spending 50% or more of their income on shelter costs as “housing distressed”. This measure adopts the latter threshold for renting households.

According to 2022 Census estimates, the number of renting households in Yakima County in this category was about 6,600. It represents a jump of approximately 1,200 households from 2021 and the highest number since 2013. This translates into a share of all renting households of 21%. This share, however, is still below the shares of housing distressed households in the U.S. and Washington.

One-year estimates are also available for the city of Yakima; rolling 5-year estimates are available for the 3 regions of the county.



List updated 11.11.23

The complete list of Yakima Valley Trends can be found here.

New Intern Feature

Victoria Tyni

Hometown: Battle Ground, WA

Major: Accounting

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2024

Post-graduation plans:
I plan to work as a financial accountant, with the hopes of eventually becoming a financial analyst.

After a few months of working on the Trends project, my favorite thing so far:
Seeing the impact of the economy and environmental factors on various aspects of different counties.