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The 10 Most Liberal Cities in Washington in 2023

Most Liberal Cities in Washington

Welcome to Washington State, a diverse and lively land renowned for its tight-knit communities, progressive values, and outstanding quality of life. Having traveled here myself, I can attest that Washington has something for everyone. Whether you seek the energy of bustling urban centers or the charm of small towns, Washington has it all.

In this guide, I invite you to join me on a journey through the 10 most liberal cities in this state. When we talk about “liberal” here, it’s not just about politics – we’re referring to communities that embrace diversity, advocate for social justice, and prioritize the well-being of all their residents. These cities embody progressive ideals as a way of life, not just as rhetoric.

So, let’s explore Washington State together and discover what makes these cities particularly liberal.

10. Bellingham

Starting with number ten, we have Bellingham. Belted from Bellingham Bay and centered on Mount Baker in the heart of Washington, this relaxing city has a long liberal tradition concerning environmental causes. The town takes responsibility for protecting its sensational untouched landscape, improving it through new sustainable initiatives such as its city-wide composting program[1]

Bellingham also boasts a highly educated populace, thanks to Western Washington University. The campus actively encourages civic participation, and as a result, there is a high voter turnout during elections. For instance, in the 2020 presidential election, Bellingham voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic candidate, further cementing its liberal reputation[2].

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 33.7 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 22.7% (lower than national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.6% (higher than the national average)[17]

9. Tacoma

Next on our list of the most liberal cities in Washington is Tacoma. A magnet for destiny known as the “City of Destiny,” Tacoma is famous for its urban renewal projects, with extra attention given to cleaning up pollution from manufacturing industries and putting public funds into affordable housing[3]

Over the years, this city has progressed towards progressive values, mostly thanks to community activism and a vibrant arts scene often associated with LGBTQ+ people, such as the Tacoma Pride Festival[4]. As judgment-free as they are, people constantly engage themselves in setting an example of inclusion rather than being followers of it, thus maintaining one of the most liberal cities in Washington.

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 36.9 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 42.6% (higher than the national average)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.7% (higher than the national average)[20]

8. Spokane

Spokane, the second largest city in the state, has a mix of urban and outdoor lifestyles. The city is also home to many social activists and progressives alike. Individuals within Spokane have consistently been open to measures that uphold their liberal values. This range includes increased public funding for transportation initiatives and support for an industry that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

The city’s 2021 Sustainability Action Plan, developed by the Sustainability Action Subcommittee, outlines strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and includes a focus on transportation and land use to promote cleaner fuels and active transportation options[5]

Some of the annual events in Spokane should be acknowledged as they reflect locally recognized progressive values, like the yearly women’s march, which advocates for women’s right to be heard and increases awareness of equal gender rights.

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 36.6 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 20.7% (lower than national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.4% (on par with the national average rate)[21]

7. Port Townsend

Port Townsend demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by implementing a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags, which went into effect on November 1, 2012, and is still in effect today[6].  Also, several non-profit and social organizations work long hours to earn achievements in various social and environmental causes.

The vibrant arts scene, strong communities, and high civic engagement make Port Townsend another perfect candidate for this list of the most blue cities in Washington.

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 60.3 (so much older than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 13.2% (lower than national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.8% (higher than the national average)[23]

6. Bainbridge Island

Sixth in our most liberal cities in Washington ranking, Bainbridge Island is a special community, and is the best places to live in the Pacific Northwest. Unlike other Seattle-area suburbs that have expanded to the sea with apartments, commercial centers, and industrial parks, Bainbridge Island remains surrounded by a wooded green country. Its members have consistently cooperated around environmental issues and created strict codes on medical facilities, neighborhoods, building heights, and materials among many other issues.

Sustainable Bainbridge is one well-known group that supports this, having been founded to foster cooperation and collaboration across a broad network of local organizations, businesses, government, and individuals in order to safeguard and strengthen the community[7]. The town also has a so-called Climate Action Bainbridge program that focuses on coordinating efforts to address climate change and promote sustainability on the island[8].

This cooperative spirit has established Bainbridge as an island environment firstly known for supporting projects involving the preservation of wilderness places. 

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 50.7 (older than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 14.8% (lower than national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.7% (higher than the national average)[18]

5. Seattle

Seattle is credited for its dedication to social progress, technological innovation, and environmental sustainability. This city holds the title of one of America’s largest Pride parade locations annually[9]. With an active culture of activism where residents regularly take part in protests along with rallies for social justice issues, with climate change being just some of them, this location is largely recognized for its strong activist culture[10].

These activists help maintain a downtown area overrun with people, which functions by allowing capitalist business owners to make much-needed boosted profits from their businesses.

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 35.0 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 38.7% (slightly on par with the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 1.4% (higher than the national average)[19]
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4. Olympia

The fourth most liberal city in Washington is Olympia, the state capital as well. Olympia is one of the most diverse cities in Washington with a population that actively participates in environmental conservation, social justice and political activism[11].

The city has its very own Evergreen State College, which churns out a unique and interdisciplinary curriculum, contributing to the leaning of Olympia towards liberals[12].

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 39.0 (older than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 26.2% (lower with the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.8% (double the national average)[22]

3. Bellevue

Bellevue, our third-most liberal city on this list, is recognized for its commitment to social equality, sustainable living, and a high quality of life. I had the pleasure of visiting this thriving city while traveling through Washington State. And I was impressed by the community’s dedication to social equality and environmentally friendly living. With initiatives promoting affordable housing, diversity, and inclusion, Bellevue truly embodies progressive values[13].

The city’s residents are also notably involved in civic engagement, consistently supporting liberal policies and candidates. That’s why this city is also one of the best places to live in Washington for black families.

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 37.2 (slightly younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 55.3% (higher than national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.3% (lower than the national average)[24]

2. Kirkland

And then there is Kirkland, the second-most liberal city in Washington. This city is located near Bellevue, and my time here revealed that residents are deeply political, as I have observed this in their active participation in events that celebrate the diversity of their community and champion liberal ideals. Nestled in its small-town charm lies a community passionate about civil rights and environmental sustainability[14].

It was invigorating to witness the dedication of Kirkland’s inhabitants to creating positive change and fostering inclusivity within their city. People in Kirkland are very political and go out to vote for liberal ideals; they participate in many events where the diversity of the community is celebrated[15].

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 37.9 (slightly younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 34.4% (lower than national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.3% (lower than the national average)[25]

1. Vashon

Finally, at number one, we have Vashon, arguably the most liberal city in Washington. This island community has long been a haven for progressive thinkers and artists. It’s known for its strong community involvement in environmental conservation, social justice issues, and political activism[16].

The community’s commitment to these principles, alongside its unique blend of rural charm and progressive activism, solidifies its place as the most liberal city in Washington State.

Key Statistics

  • Median Age – 53.1 (older than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 14.7% (lower than national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 1.5% (so much higher than the national average)[26]

Summary – The Most Liberal Cities in Washington

In conclusion, these ten cities exemplify the liberal ethos that many associate with Washington State. Their strong bonds of community, commitment to sustainability and social justice, and backing of progressive policies and candidates — combined with an appealing cost-affordability ratio — make them attractive destinations for like-minded people and families.

If you’re local or relocating to the Pacific Northwest, these cities offer a feeling (though not necessarily consensus) of belonging among locals who align with the light side of liberalism.

For the most conservative cities in Washington, check out this article.

Reference List

1 – https://www.cascadiadaily.com/2023/feb/23/recycling-in-bellingham-could-get-easier-cheaper-cleaner/ 

2 – https://www.bellinghamma.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif2796/f/uploads/11-03-2020_election_certified_vote.pdf

3 – https://www.cityoftacoma.org/government/city_departments/planning_and_development_services/planning_services/current_initiatives_and_projects/home_in_tacoma_project__ahas_planning_actions

4 – https://tacomapride.org/about-2-2/

5 – https://static.spokanecity.org/documents/bcc/committees/public-infrastructure-environment-sustainability/sustainability-action-subcommittee/spokane-sustainability-action-plan-final-adopted-oct-25-2021.pdf

6 – https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/port-townsend-gets-ready-for-plastic-bag-ban/

7 – https://www.sustainablebainbridge.org/about-us/

8 – https://www.bainbridgewa.gov/1331/Climate-Action

9 – https://www.seattlecenter.com/events/festivals/seattle-pridefest

10 – https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-may-day-march-fights-for-workers-immigrant-rights/

11 – https://crosscut.com/politics/2021/01/armed-protesters-olympia-occupy-capitol-steps-governors-mansion-lawn

12 – https://www.evergreen.edu/faces-evergreen/feven-mekonenn

13 – https://bellevuewa.gov/city-news/council-roundup-1-22-24

14 – https://www.kirklandwa.gov/files/sharedassets/public/v/1/public-works/recycling/sustainability/sustainability-master-plan-adopted-dec-2020.pdf

15 – https://www.425business.com/news/new-kirkland-initiative-aims-to-boost-civic-engagement/article_23993dae-d88f-11ed-ba8c-337fb1fbe838.html

16 – https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/vashon-named-the-most-liberal-city-in-america/

17 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5305280

18 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5303736

19 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5363000

20 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5370000

21 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5367000

22 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5351300

23 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5355855

24 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5305210

25 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5335940

26 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US5374305

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