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Tukwila, Washington
International Boulevard from 154th Street
International Boulevard from 154th Street
Official seal of Tukwila, Washington
Location of Tukwila, Washington
Location of Tukwila, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County King
Incorporated 1908
 • Type Mayor–council government
 • Total 9.60 sq mi (24.86 km2)
 • Land 9.19 sq mi (23.79 km2)
 • Water 0.41 sq mi (1.07 km2)
138 ft (42 m)
 • Total 19,107
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2,215.24/sq mi (855.34/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 206
FIPS code 53-72625
GNIS feature ID 1509106
Tukwila - Duwamish River - 02
Duwamish River, Tukwila (2007)

Tukwila ( tuk-WIL) is a suburban city in King County, Washington, United States, located immediately to the south of Seattle. The population was 19,107 at the 2010 census and an estimated 20,347 in 2019.

Tukwila is a community of communities, with residents of many diverse origins living in the city. A large commercial center draws workers and consumers to the city daily; industry thrives with the confluence of rivers, freeways, railroads, and Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.


The earliest people in Tukwila were the Duwamish who made their homes along the Black and Duwamish Rivers. The name "Tukwila" is the Chinook Jargon word for "nut" or "hazelnut", referring to the hazelnut trees that grew in the area. The Duwamish lived in cedar longhouses, hunted and fished, picked wild berries, and used the river for trade with neighboring peoples.

In 1853, the first Caucasian settler was Joseph Foster, a Canadian pioneer who had traveled to the northwest from Wisconsin. Foster would become known as the "Father of Tukwila" and serve King County, Washington Territory in the legislature for 22 years. Today, the site of Foster's home on the banks of the Duwamish River is part of Fort Dent Park, which also served as a military base during the 1850s Indian Wars. Foster's name is memorialized in the Foster neighborhood of Tukwila, where Foster High School is located.

In the early years, the small village grew into an agricultural center and remained a trading point in the upper Duwamish River Valley. Population began to grow and industry followed, largely farm-oriented commerce. Early electric rail trains traveled along Interurban Avenue in Tukwila, connecting to Renton and a line to Tacoma. The Interurban Railroad operated a commuter line from 1902 to 1928, making it possible to travel from Seattle to Tacoma in less than an hour. The first macadam paved road in Washington State was in Tukwila and bears the name of this new method of street paving. One of the earliest paved military roads is located in the city.

Tukwila was incorporated as a city in 1908. The city's first mayor was Joel Shomaker, a newspaperman. Among the city's first council members was Del Adelphia, a famous magician.


Tukwila is located at 47°28′42″N 122°16′32″W / 47.478243°N 122.275432°W / 47.478243; -122.275432 (47.478243, -122.275432).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.58 square miles (24.81 km2), of which, 9.17 square miles (23.75 km2) is land and 0.41 square miles (1.06 km2) is water.


  • Cascade View (Upper West Side) Suburban, Lower Income
  • McMicken Heights (Lower West Side) Suburban, Middle Income
  • Riverton (Central West Side) Urban, Working Class Income
  • Foster (Central/Mid-West) Suburban, Middle Income
  • Ryan Hill (Upper End) Industrial, Middle Income
  • Allentown (Upper End) Industrial, Middle Income
  • Duwamish (Upper East Side) Industrial, Lower Income
  • Thorndyke (Central/Lower East Side), Suburban, Middle Income
  • Southcenter (Central) Urban, Upper-Middle Income

Surrounding cities


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 361
1920 453 25.5%
1930 424 −6.4%
1940 521 22.9%
1950 800 53.6%
1960 1,804 125.5%
1970 3,509 94.5%
1980 3,578 2.0%
1990 11,874 231.9%
2000 17,181 44.7%
2010 19,107 11.2%
2019 (est.) 20,347 6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 19,107 people, 7,157 households, and 4,124 families living in the city. The population density was 2,083.6 inhabitants per square mile (804.5/km2). There were 7,755 housing units at an average density of 845.7 per square mile (326.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 43.9% White (37.6% Non-Hispanic White), 17.9% African American, 1.1% Native American, 19.0% Asian, 2.8% Pacific Islander, 9.3% from other races, and 6.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.5% of the population.

There were 7,157 households, of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.4% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.42.

The median age in the city was 33.8 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 32.7% were from 25 to 44; 25.1% were from 45 to 64; and 8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.9% male and 48.1% female.

The median income for a household is $40,718, and the median income for a family of $42,442. Males had a median income of $35,525 versus $28,913 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,354. About 8.8% of families and 12.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those ages 65 or over.


The Museum of Flight is an air and space museum located in the extreme northern part of Tukwila, adjacent to Boeing Field. Tukwila is also home to the Rainier Symphony, which conducts several performances each year at the Foster Performing Arts Center in Tukwila.

Starting with its first mayor, Tukwila has a long history of vibrant personalities. Among the city's first council members was Del Adelphia, a famous magician. In the 1990s and 2000s, "visiting Tukwila" was used as a euphemasim for marital intercourse by Seattle Times columnist Erik Lacitis.


Public schools in Tukwila are operated by the Tukwila School District, which has five schools: Cascade View Elementary School, Thorndyke Elementary School, Tukwila Elementary School, Showalter Middle School, and Foster High School. Foster High School is among the most racially diverse schools in the United States, with students from 50 countries speaking 45 languages as of 2016. Also in the city is Raisbeck Aviation High School, a public technical school operated by the Highline School District that opened in 2004.

Notable residents

  • William Cumming, artist and political activist
  • Zack Hudgins, former member of the Washington House of Representatives
  • Jim North, NFL player for the Washington Commanders
  • Mario Segale, real estate developer and namesake of video game character Mario
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