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10 Things to Know Before Moving to Kent, WA

Written by Allie Gardner

Kent, located in King County between Tacoma and Seattle, is considered the geographic center of the greater Tacoma-Bellevue-Seattle metropolitan area. It has all the hallmarks of a modern metropolis, from attractive and secure neighborhoods to thriving industrial and commercial districts.

Kent, one of Washington’s oldest communities, was founded in the 1850s when pioneers from the East Coast began arriving in the region. Much of Kent’s early history was spent as a modest agricultural town, with agriculture providing the bulk of economic opportunities. The local economy boomed after European hop crop failures brought more demand for the hops grown here, prompting the construction of the region’s first railroad station.

Are you thinking of moving to Kent? Here are ten things to know before making the move!

1. It has a friendly small-town feel

Are you looking for a city that offers the conveniences of urban living without the congestion and crowding of larger cities? With its urban layout and small-town vibe, Kent is a great alternative to the larger cities in the area. 

This is especially true in the downtown, where customers are treated like family by the shop owners. Parks and green spaces abound in Kent, making it easy to feel at one with nature.

2. Get a job in the aerospace or manufacturing industry

Kent is home to a significant aerospace sector presence thanks to Boeing’s factory operation there. With nearly 5,000 employees, Boeing is the major employer in the area, and it sparks a lot of feeder industries.

Moreover, the city is home to the country’s fourth-largest manufacturing and distribution region. With businesses like TMX Aerospace, Puget Sound Steel, and Pacific Metal Corporation, the city’s economy is heavily influenced by the metal and steel industries.

3. Watch the Seattle Thunderbirds or the Seattle Mist play

Kent is fantastic if you enjoy watching sports. The Seattle Thunderbirds, Seattle Mist, Seattle Ravens, and Tacoma Stars are just a few of the professional sports teams that call Kent home. 

Other recent additions to Kent’s sports infrastructure include the Wilson Playfields, the Service Club Ballfields, the ShoWare Center, the Kent Valley Ice Centre, the Kent-Meridian pool, the Riverbend Golf Complex, and the Meridian Valley Country Club.

4. There are pieces of Kent on the moon

To be exact, there are three of them. Three of the rovers used by astronauts to investigate the lunar surface were built at Kent, making the city an integral part of the history-making Apollo missions. 

To this day, all three of made-in-kent Lunar Rovers are still out there, exploring the lunar surface and serving as a steady reminder of the city’s uniqueness.

5. Get around Kent using King County Metro or Sounder Commuter Rail

In addition to its prime location, Kent also gives convenient access to a number of major highways as well as public transportation. You can reach downtown Seattle quickly and easily by taking King County Metro Rail, or you can drive yourself there via Interstate 5 or one of the many other main routes. 

There are many different transportation options available to you as Kent is served by the Sounder Commuter Rail as well as other trains.

6. Property crime rate is 88% higher than the national average

If you’re looking at crime statistics, Kent isn’t exactly a model of safety, but that’s not a result of its high rate of violent crime. According to Areavibes, Kent has a 2% lower violent crime rate than the U.S. average, with a murder rate of 3.1 per 100,000 people, a rape rate of 71.8 per 100,000 people, a robbery rate of 184.7 per 100,000 people, and an assault rate of 111.4 per 100,000 people.

As a matter of fact, the property crime rate in Kent is 88% greater than the national average, which means that the city receives a failing grade on Areavibes. The rate of burglaries is 575.6 per 100,000 persons, while the theft rate is 2,746.5 per 100,000, and the rate of stolen vehicles is 647.3 per 100,000.

Kent shares many of Seattle’s problems with property crime but is relatively free of violent crime.

7. The King County Annexation Initiative is helping the city grow

The King County Annexation Initiative is working to annex previously unincorporated land within the present city limits of Kent. This scheme is beneficial not only to Kent but also to the communities that the city has annexed. 

The benefits of being a member of an incorporated city are extended to unincorporated areas while the city itself reaps the rewards of expansion, new attractions, and new citizens.

8. Learn about the city’s history at Kent Historical Museum

Incorporated in 1890, Kent was mostly an agricultural community with a population of about 700. During the Great Depression, it became known as the “Lettuce Capital of the World ” because of the volume of lettuce it shipped around the globe. The real population boom in Kent occurred after WWII ended when aerospace and technology businesses began relocating to the area and rapidly increasing the town’s population.

Kent has evolved into a vibrant metropolis with abundant economic opportunity, a far cry from its rural roots.

Kent has a rich and varied history extending back over two centuries, and the Kent Historical Society has done an excellent job of documenting this time period. To learn more about the city’s history, check out the Kent Historical Museum.

9. It rains a lot in the city

Kent, like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, gets a lot of rain. It gets 43 inches of rain annually, higher than the national average of 38 inches. The city has a chilly, damp winter and warm, dry summer, making for a pleasant, temperate climate. Those who enjoy the cooler weather may welcome this, while others who don’t may find the persistent drizzle and cloudy skies depressing. 

The area is also subject to random wind and rainstorms, which can dampen your enthusiasm for outdoor pursuits. On the other hand, the wet weather and verdant scenery that it brings may be just what the doctor ordered for some.

10. Nightlife is not the most exciting

Kent lacks the vibrant nightlife found in nearby Seattle and Tacoma. Bars, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment exist, but they may lack the variety and density of those found in larger urban centers. This can be a problem for those who value an active social scene or who work irregular hours and need options for filling their free time. 

Likewise, young adults and college students looking for a more active and dynamic social atmosphere may find the restricted nightlife discouraging. Kent might not be the best place to settle down if a lively social scene is a top priority.

In Summary

Kent offers many benefits, such as its friendly vibe, small-town feel, great location, vibrant job market, and thriving sports scene. However, before moving, you should consider the high property crime rate and the not-so-exciting nightlife scene.

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