The Greater Seattle Region

For many, the Greater Seattle region is synonymous with innovative companies, dramatic scenery and fantastic coffee. Such images, however, only scratch the surface of the region’s profound capacity toward invention, reinvention, a vibrant arts community, natural diversity and cultural richness.

Seattle is situated at the heart of the central Puget Sound region, positioned between the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. Puget Sound is the largest marine estuary by volume in the United States. It connects the region to the Pacific Ocean and joins the state of Washington and the province of British Columbia, Canada as part of the greater Salish Sea. The Snohomish, Puyallup, Green, Duwamish, Cedar and many other rivers and streams flow through the central Puget Sound region and define distinct river basins that encompass cities, farms, forests and mountains. It is this unique and remarkable natural environment that has drawn people to Puget Sound and sustained them for thousands of years.

Puget Sound is part of a larger area that has been the traditional aboriginal territory of the Coast Salish peoples, who live around the Salish. The Coast Salish Tribes have lived here since time immemorial and, while each Tribe is unique, all share in having a deep historical connection and legacy of respect for the land and natural resources. These sovereign Tribal nations enrich the region through environmental stewardship, cultural heritage and economic development, and collaborate with local governments to shape the region’s future.

Just as glaciers sculpted the land and waterways of the region over 10,000 years ago, so have the values of the region’s inhabitants shaped the contours of the local civic and economic environment. A strong environmental ethic is demonstrated through conscientious planning around land use, transportation and economic development. The maritime heritage is reflected in world-class seaports. A long history of innovation has resulted in a highly skilled manufacturing workforce, a premier aerospace industry cluster and technological advances in personal computing software and electronic commerce. The region’s environmental values have helped drive a new wave of global leadership around the technologies and services that can help address the most prominent climate challenges of our times. This includes building materials, agricultural management, aviation biofuels and growing the greenest maritime industry in the world.

The success of the region has been built upon sharing knowledge with the world. ACE 16 participants will discover the opportunities for partnership during their visit. The host program will connect the delegation to some of the most innovative companies and institutions in the world.

Economic Profile







Median Household Income


(Seattle MSA, 2019)

Poverty Rate


(Seattle MSA, 2019)

Educational Attainment


of regional residents aged 25 or older hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. (2020)

Unemployment Rate


(Seattle MSA, August 2022)



(Washington state, 2020)

Key Clusters


The Aerospace industry in the central Puget Sound region is one of the most competitive in the world. This is because the Boeing Company was founded in Seattle over a century ago. Since then, the region’s Aerospace industry has grown into a large and diverse supply chain that is driving innovation across clusters, including space, advanced composite materials and aerospace biofuels.

The central Puget Sound region is increasingly recognized as a hub of private sector space companies and employment, helping to diversify the Aerospace industry and make it more resilient. This growth is driven by expanding companies including Blue Origin, Vulcan Aerospace and SpaceX.

Information & Communication Technology

The region is home to a highly diverse Information & Communication Technology industry. This includes businesses in traditional software publishing, computer services, interactive media and others. Regional software companies like Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, and Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, form this industry cluster’s backbone.

Regional businesses and institutions are advancing the future of work through innovations in artificial intelligence and cloud computing. New platforms, such as Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s AWS, are making global companies faster and more productive while limiting capital expenses.


The region has leveraged its proximity to Asia, Alaska and Canada into a thriving Maritime industry, across boat building and repair, fishing and fishing products, and water passenger and cargo transportation. Communities, ports and other partners are planning for the future of the region’s maritime industry. In 2019, Washington Maritime Blue published a strategy for the Blue Economy in Washington state, finding that the global ocean economy is expected to double by 2030 to $3 trillion. This strategy helps guide the development of the Maritime economy in the region by establishing goals for a thriving low-carbon industry and global innovation, by growing trade gateways, by developing the maritime workforce and by strengthening cluster coordination.

Life Sciences & Global Health

The region plays host to a thriving Life Sciences & Global Health industry that is advancing health in communities across the globe. Regional businesses and organizations are pushing advancements in biotechnology, diagnostics, bio-agriculture, veterinary medicine, biofuels, medical devices, research and digital health/health IT. Several major universities and research organizations anchor this industry sector and have created an ecosystem for cross-sector collaboration and start-ups. These include Washington State University, the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Infectious Disease Research Institute.

Clean Technology

The region is home to thriving businesses on the leading edge of clean technology developments. Washington state has set a goal of having a 100% non-carbon emitting energy portfolio by 2045. As of 2018, 69% of Washington’s energy came from hydroelectric sources, with natural gas, wind, biomass and nuclear rounding out the state’s clean energy portfolio. Clean Technology is making inroads across several significant industry sectors in the region. Transportation & Logistics industries are reducing carbon emissions by transitioning to all-electric or hybrid fleets. The Aerospace industry is on the leading edge of researching sustainable aviation technologies such as electric aircrafts and hydrogen fuels. Information & Communication Technology businesses are developing energy efficient data processing models. The manufacturing sector produces solar panels, batteries and other clean materials. Innovative wood product companies are developing woody biomass as a sustainable energy source and new building technologies such as cross-laminated timber. Washington Maritime Blue has made a thriving, low-carbon industry one of the five strategic goals for its Blue Economy strategy. This goal includes strategies such as ferry electrification, charging infrastructure, emissions tracking and infrastructure planning.

Military & Defense

Military installations in the region play a critical role in national defense while providing significant economic benefits to the region. The central Puget Sound region hosts several major military facilities, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Naval Base Kitsap and Naval Station Everett. In addition, the industry supports myriad private defense contractors and subcontractors, bolstering the regional Maritime and Aerospace industries.

Contact Us

Please reach out to the ACE Committee by contacting Ms. Adriana Bonilla, the ACE Program Coordinator at the Organization of American States,