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This island community is home to many affluent folks. They have the benefit of being located equidistant between Seattle and the other east side suburbs, making commuting a breeze. And, because it’s an island, property is a hot commodity and suburban sprawl is impossible.


Native American legend had it that the island in Lake Washington was inhabited by evil spirits, or perhaps sunk into the deep every night, so there were no permanent settlements here when Thomas Mercer first explored the land. Slowly, however, a settlement (called “East Seattle”) developed on the northwest side of the island. It wasn’t until the I-90 floating bridge was built in the 1940s that the population really started to grow. Along with it, a quaint business district developed.

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Who Lives Here?

Urban Power Families - High-income couples with children.
Six-figure salaried couples with children who live an upscale life in a metro center. Highly educated professionals working in finance, medical, and high-tech fields.
Corporate Climbers - High-income, high-expense urban singles.
Urban singles with an up-and-coming income, but with higher-than-average living costs. Most have college educations and are employed in mid-management professions.
Suburban Retirees - Seniors over 65 who live in the suburbs.
These seniors are living out their retirement years in suburbia. Most own their homes, and some have college degrees.
Suburban Elite - Suburban super-rich couples with children.
Middle-aged married couples with a luxurious lifestyle in the suburbs. More than 15% have a family income of $200,000 or more. The majority have a college or graduate school degree, and most own their homes.
Multi-lingual Urbanites - Urban dwellers who speak more than one language.
Some have a high school or college education, and they work in a variety of occupations. Moderate to upper-scale earning potential.
Mercer Island
Median Household Income $91,904
Owners/Renters 80%/20%
Median Age 41
Single Males 10%
Single Females 8%
Homes With Kids 34%
Household Size 2.6
Commute Time 25 min


While the term ‘island time’ might be a little extreme here, things do seem to slow down a little on Mercer Island. There is a decent population of retired folks here, and in general things are quieter and less stressed-out-feeling. Residents here enjoy their large homes—many with views—as well as the safe and tight-knit atmosphere.

 Activities and Attractions

There are two areas of Mercer Island that have small business districts. The first—and biggest–is on the north side. Here, you’ll find unique little eateries like Bennett’s Pure Food Bistro, Sushi Joa, and the Alpenland Delicatessen—specializing in German cuisine, of course! Other shops include bookstores, boutiques, and thrift shops. The Roanoke Inn is worth a mention, too, even though it’s pretty far from the main drag. This neighborhood pub has been around forever, serving generation after generation of Mercer Islanders. Farther south, around the expansive Pioneer Park, is another area where businesses have sprouted up. Here, things are a little more run-of-the-mill, with sandwich shop chains and grocery stores. The park itself is the real attraction, with acres of woodland and hiking trails, and even a section specifically maintained for horseback riding. It is an island and all, so it wouldn’t be right not to mention the lakeside attractions. First, check out Groveland Beach or Clarke Beach for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. In the summer, Mercer Islanders have a front row view of the Seafair boat races, either from their own back porches or from the Park on the Lid.

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