Kent is located 19 miles south of Seattle, in the heart of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area. After the census in 2010, the city of Kent annexed the nearby Panther Lake area in accordance with the King County Annexation Initiative. This increased the city’s area by 5 square miles, as well as adding another 24,000 residents to its population of 92,411. As of 2017, the population of Kent has further increased to an estimated 128,458, making it the sixth largest city in the state of Washington.
Being located in the rainy region of the Pacific Northwest, Kent sees average precipitation amounting to approximately 37 inches per year. Average temperatures are quite mild, ranging from 44 degrees to 62 degrees. In the autumn, deciduous trees put forth an impressive display of fall foliage in multiple shades of yellow.
The steel industry in Kent dates back to the early 20th century, and several companies are still in operation today. Perhaps due to the proximity of steel outfits, Boeing opened its Kent Space Center, which would eventually construct lunar rovers for the Apollo program, with a public dedication in 1964. Boeing is still the number-one employer in Kent. Other companies among the top employers include Alaska Airlines, REI, King County Regional Justice Center, and Sysco Seattle Headquarters.
Kent is an expensive city, with a cost of living index of 119. However, the median household income is higher than the U.S. average at $61,033 per year, and unemployment is low at only 5 percent. The median home value is $262,800, 42 percent higher than the national average but comparable with the rest of Washington.
Ice sports are popular in Kent. The city’s ShoWare Center is home to the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team and hosted Skate America, an annual figure skating event that is part of the international Grand Prix series, in 2012. During the summer, golf is popular as well, and indoor soccer may be played year round. Annual community events in Kent include the Farmers Market from June to September, Cornucopia Days in July, and an arts festival called Canterbury Faire in mid-August.