Two Cities, Two Children, Two Very Different Paths

Ella is three months old, a firstborn child. She lives with her family in Seattle zip code 98118 in the Rainier Beach neighborhood in the city’s far southeast corner. Her mom and dad both work two jobs to make ends meet but still fight to rise above the poverty line. As new parents, they struggle with the challenges, wonder where they will find affordable, high-quality childcare to match their different shifts. Ella faces a mountain of obstacles as she begins her life.

Olivia is also three months old, also the firstborn in her little family. She lives in Seattle zip code 98117 in the Ballard neighborhood at the opposite northwest corner of the city. Olivia’s parents each have high paying jobs with flexible hours, leaving her at a private childcare center on her mom’s route to work. Olivia receives more support than she knows; she’s lucky to be living in Ballard.

Ella’s and Olivia’s zip codes are different by just one digit; their likely life trajectories are worlds apart.

Sadly, and to our long-term detriment, not every child born in Seattle receives the same opportunity for a strong and fair start in life, as the stories of these two composite children illustrate. The so-called American dream is just not available to all of our children, and it hasn’t been for a very, very long time. Read more