Eastside place names like Newcastle, Coal Creek and Coaldale hint at a very different economy than the tech-centered Seattle boom of the last four decades. The name Newcastle was revived by the residents of Newport Hills in 1994 as part of its amalgamation into King County. At that time, there were about 4,500 residents and in the ensuing two decades the population has doubled.
While Newcastle—the old one, and the new one—might fly under the radar for most Puget Sound residents, the editors of Money magazine can definitely find it on the map. For the fourth time in the past decade, Newcastle has made Money’s annual ranking of the nation’s top 100 communities.
Despite the name of the magazine, the Money rankings are less concerned about real estate values and status than they are overall quality of life for all citizens. A city of Newcastle press release explains that “Money looks at locations with populations between 10,000 and 100,000, eliminating those that have “more than double the national crime risk, less than 85 percent of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity.” Researchers then narrow the list further after analyzing about 170,000 different data points and conducting on-site visits for intangible factors. The greatest weight is on economic health, cost of living and public school performance.
City Manager Rob Wyman says, “Choosing to live in Newcastle continues to be a smart decision. Money’s data shows we have low crime, excellent schools, many amenities and an overall high quality of life. We’re so proud that our small, unique community has made this list for the fourth time.”