Downtown Bellevue is undergoing rapid change. It is currently the second largest city center in Washington state with over 35,000 employees and 5,000 residents. Based on per capita income, Bellevue is the 15th wealthiest of 522 communities in the state of Washington. Bellevue was recently named number 1 in CNNMoney's list of the best places to live and launch businesses.
As of the census of 2000, there were 109,569 people, 45,836 households, and 29,060 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,563.6 people per square mile (1,375.8/km²). There were 48,396 housing units at an average density of 1,574.0/sq mi (607.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.33% White, 1.99% African American, 0.32% Native American, 17.39% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 2.54% from other races, and 3.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.32% of the population.
There were 45,836 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.6 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $76,641, and the median income for a family was $92,272. Males had a median income of $56,456 versus $37,124 for females. The per capita income for the city was $36,905. About 3.8% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
Bellevue is the main Eastside hub for both the local transit authority, King County Metro, and Sound Transit, the regional transit system. The Bellevue Transit Center, which serves both Metro and Sound buses, is located in the heart of the downtown business district and is connected to Interstate 405 by NE 6th St. and a direct-access Texas T HOV ramp. Local buses run into Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton, and the University District; regional buses go to Bothell, Lynnwood, Everett, Seattle, Renton, Kent, Auburn and Federal Way, among other cities.
The East Link light rail line is planned to run from Seattle through Mercer Island and Bellevue before ending in Redmond. A measure including this and other regional road and transit projects went before voters on November 4, 2008 and was approved. However, the financial uncertainty of the area's other numerous transportation projects reflect the political fragmentation of the Puget Sound area. What is becoming apparent are the increasing costs associated with the central Puget Sound's regional transportation infrastructure.
The City of Bellevue has undertaken an extensive "Bel-Red Area Transformation" process which seeks to plan some 900 acres (3.6 km) in the northern portion of the city, all of which is premised on the extension of light rail to the Eastside under Sound Transit 2. The top-down and highly integrated land use and transportation planning is similar to earlier planning for the Downtown.
Bellevue is also served by a railroad, a Burlington Northern branch line known as the Woodinville Subdivision, which includes the historic Wilburton Trestle. This local freight line is the subject of a possible plan to "rail bank" the corridor for future use and build a multi-use trail. As of March, 2009, the Port of Seattle had to postpone its acquisition of the corridor because of instability in the bond market.
Bellevue has a Council-Manager form of government with seven, non-partisan council members elected at large for staggered four-year terms. The City Council selects a Mayor from among its members, who serves as council chair but has no veto power. As of 2006, the mayor is Grant Degginger and the city's manager is Steve Sarkozy.
The position of Mayor is largely ceremonial in Bellevue as the City Manager runs the City's day-to-day operations. The mayor runs council meetings, helps choose the issues that get on the council's meeting agendas, and serves as the city's most visible spokesperson. The position of Mayor is part-time. In practice, operational authority is held by the City Manager, the position that supervises an employee/consultant form of municipal authority. Indeed, more consideration is given the selection of City Manager than many candidates for City Council, the position of Mayor elected not by popular vote but by the seven members of Council.
In the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Bellevue residents cast 57.10% of their votes for Democrat John Kerry.