Spokane County, Washington

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Spokane County
Spokane County Courthouse
Official seal of Spokane County
Official logo of Spokane County
Map of Washington highlighting Spokane County
Location within the U.S. state of Washington
Map of the United States highlighting Washington
Washington's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 47°37′N 117°24′W / 47.62°N 117.4°W / 47.62; -117.4
Country United States
State Washington
FoundedJanuary 29, 1858 (created)
January 19, 1864 (annexed to Stevens Co.)
October 30, 1879 (separated from Stevens Co.)
Named forSpokane people
SeatSpokane
Largest citySpokane
Area
 • Total1,781 sq mi (4,610 km2)
 • Land1,764 sq mi (4,570 km2)
 • Water17 sq mi (40 km2)  0.9%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total539,339
 • Estimate 
(2021)
546,040 Increase
 • Density275/sq mi (106/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional district5th
Websitewww.spokanecounty.org

Spokane County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2020 census, its population was 539,339, making it the fourth-most populous county in Washington.[1] The largest city and county seat is Spokane,[2] the second largest city in the state after Seattle. The county is named after the Spokane tribe.

Spokane County is part of the Spokane-Spokane Valley metropolitan statistical area, which is also part of the greater Spokane-Coeur d'Alene combined statistical area that includes nearby Kootenai County, Idaho.

History[edit]

The first humans to arrive in what is now Spokane County arrived between 12,000 and 8,000 years ago and were hunter-gatherer societies who lived off the plentiful game in the area. Initially, the settlers hunted predominantly bison and antelope, but after the game migrated out of the region, the native people became dependent on gathering various roots, berries, and nuts, and harvesting fish.[3] The Spokane tribe, after which the county is named, means "Children of the Sun" or "sun people" in Salishan[4] Explorer-geographer David Thompson, working as head of the North West Company's Columbia Department, became the first European to explore what is now the Inland Northwest.[5] After establishing the Kullyspell House and Saleesh House fur trading posts in what are now Idaho and Montana, Thompson then attempted to expand further west. He sent out two trappers, Jacques Raphael Finlay and Finan McDonald, to construct a fur-trading post on the Spokane River in Washington and trade with the local Indians.[6] This post was established in 1810, at the confluence of the Little Spokane and Spokane Rivers, becoming the first enduring European settlement of significance in Washington.[5] Known as the Spokane House, or simply "Spokane", it was in operation from 1810 to 1826.[4]

Spokane County was established by the Washington legislature effective January 29, 1858. It was annexed by Stevens County on January 19, 1864, and recreated on October 30, 1879.[7][8] The first post office in the county was located at Spokane Bridge.[9] The current Spokane county seat holder, Spokane, wrested the seat from Cheney in 1886.[10][11]

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,781 sq mi (4,610 km2), of which 17 square miles (44 km2) (0.9%) are covered by water.[12] The lowest point in the county is the Spokane River behind Long Lake Dam (boundary of Stevens County) at 1,538 feet (469 m) above sea level. (Virtually no change in elevation occurs between the dam and the mouth of the Little Spokane River inside Riverside State Park.) The highest point in the county is the summit of Mount Spokane at 5,887 ft (1,794 m). NAVD 88[13]

Spokane County has a complex geologic history and varied topography. To the west is the barren landscape of the Columbia Basin and to the east are the foothills of the Rockies—the Coeur d'Alene Mountains, which rise to the east in northern Idaho. Spokane County lies in a transition area between the eastern edge of the basaltic Channeled Scablands steppe plains to the west and the rugged, timbered Rocky Mountain foothills to the east.[14] The area exhibits signs of the prehistoric geologic events that shaped the area and region such as the Missoula Floods, which ended 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.[15] The geography to the southeast, such as the Saltese Flats and Saltese Uplands is characterized as a shrub–steppe landscape with grassy hills and ravines.[16]

In ecology, as with the topography, the county is also in a transition area, roughly split between the Columbia Plateau ecoregion in the southwest portion, where it is at the eastern edge of the basaltic Channeled Scablands steppe plain and the Northern Rockies ecoregion in the northwest portion, which is the rugged and forested Selkirk Mountains.[17][18]

Rivers[edit]

Lakes and reservoirs[edit]

Notable summits and peaks[edit]

Notable parks[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860996
18702,000100.8%
18804,262113.1%
189037,487779.6%
190057,54253.5%
1910139,404142.3%
1920141,2891.4%
1930150,4776.5%
1940164,6529.4%
1950221,56134.6%
1960278,33325.6%
1970287,4873.3%
1980341,83518.9%
1990361,3645.7%
2000417,93915.7%
2010471,22112.7%
2020539,33914.5%
2021 (est.)546,040[19]1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
1790–1960[21] 1900–1990[22]
1990–2000[23] 2010–2020[1]

2000 census[edit]

As of the 2000 census,[24] 417,939 people, 163,611 households, and 106,019 families were in the county. The population density was 237/sq mi (92/km2). The 175,005 housing units had an average density of 99/sq mi (38/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.62% White, 2.00% African American, 1.40% Native American, 1.88% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 0.82% from other races, and 2.76% from two or more races; 2.77% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race. About 22.0% were of German, 10.7% Irish, 9.9% English, 7.6% American, and 6.4% Norwegian ancestry.

Of the 163,611 households, 32.4% had children under 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were not families. About 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.46, and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county, the age distribution was 25.7% under 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females. there were 96.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $37,308, and for a family was $46,463. Males had a median income of $35,097 versus $25,526 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,233. About 8.30% of families and 12.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.20% of those under age 18 and 8.10% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 census, 471,221 people, 187,167 households, and 118,212 families were residing in the county.[25] The population density was 267.2/sq mi (103.2/km2). The 201,434 housing units had an average density of 114.2/sq mi (44.1/km2).[26] The racial makeup of the county was 89.2% White, 2.1% Asian, 1.7% African American, 1.5% American Indian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.5% of the population.[25] In terms of ancestry, 27.0% were German, 15.4% were Irish, 13.5% were English, 6.9% were Norwegian, and 4.4% were American.[27]

Of the 187,167 households, 30.9% had children under 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were not families; 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.44, and the average family size was 2.99. The median age was 36.8 years.[25]

The median income for a household in the county was $47,250 and for a family was $59,999. Males had a median income of $44,000 versus $33,878 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,127. About 9.1% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.0% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.[28]

Law and government[edit]

Spokane County is governed by a partisan board of county commissioners, one from each of three districts. They run in a partisan primary election within their own district, then compete countywide in the general election. Other elected officials include the sheriff, auditor (who is also responsible for elections), assessor, treasurer, and prosecutor, which are also partisan offices. Spokane County has an appointed medical examiner. The current, as of October 2018, commissioners for Spokane County are Josh Kerns, Mary Kuney, and Al French, from the first, second, and third county districts, respectively.

Transportation planning within the county is handled by the Spokane Regional Transportation Council, a metropolitan planning organization that was created in 1962. It distributes federal and state funds for transportation projects and updaties the long-range transportation plan for Spokane County.[29]

The county has voted Republican all but three times since 1948. Lyndon Johnson was the last Democrat to win a majority of the county's vote. It gave a plurality of votes to Bill Clinton in both elections. Democratic strength is concentrated in Spokane itself and in Cheney, which is home to Eastern Washington University, while the suburban areas are heavily Republican.[citation needed]

United States presidential election results for Spokane County, Washington[30]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 148,576 50.29% 135,765 45.96% 11,089 3.75%
2016 113,435 48.06% 93,767 39.72% 28,848 12.22%
2012 115,285 51.07% 102,295 45.31% 8,174 3.62%
2008 108,314 49.01% 105,786 47.87% 6,907 3.13%
2004 111,606 55.09% 87,490 43.19% 3,491 1.72%
2000 89,299 51.88% 74,604 43.35% 8,209 4.77%
1996 66,628 41.84% 71,727 45.05% 20,877 13.11%
1992 59,984 35.47% 69,526 41.11% 39,622 23.43%
1988 68,787 49.43% 68,520 49.24% 1,843 1.32%
1984 88,043 58.96% 59,620 39.92% 1,673 1.12%
1980 78,096 55.51% 49,263 35.02% 13,326 9.47%
1976 68,290 53.37% 55,660 43.50% 4,004 3.13%
1972 74,320 59.37% 44,337 35.42% 6,528 5.21%
1968 52,650 47.61% 49,423 44.69% 8,521 7.70%
1964 49,387 44.26% 62,092 55.65% 102 0.09%
1960 59,557 51.62% 55,553 48.15% 259 0.22%
1956 60,335 55.21% 48,833 44.68% 119 0.11%
1952 56,958 55.17% 45,827 44.39% 451 0.44%
1948 37,086 41.68% 49,649 55.79% 2,253 2.53%
1944 36,359 44.18% 45,491 55.27% 456 0.55%
1940 33,228 42.17% 44,852 56.92% 713 0.90%
1936 19,951 28.45% 48,117 68.62% 2,057 2.93%
1932 24,848 38.15% 36,953 56.74% 3,324 5.10%
1928 35,858 65.48% 18,527 33.83% 373 0.68%
1924 23,403 49.30% 6,036 12.71% 18,034 37.99%
1920 26,219 60.55% 13,412 30.97% 3,670 8.48%
1916 19,503 45.23% 21,339 49.49% 2,278 5.28%
1912 4,205 11.92% 10,845 30.75% 20,218 57.33%
1908 11,719 58.68% 6,557 32.83% 1,694 8.48%
1904 10,258 71.71% 2,602 18.19% 1,445 10.10%
1900 5,515 49.84% 5,125 46.32% 425 3.84%
1896 2,701 31.22% 5,829 67.37% 122 1.41%
1892 3,367 45.45% 2,247 30.33% 1,794 24.22%


Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost towns/neighborhoods[edit]

Education[edit]

School districts include:[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Ruby et al. (2006) pp. 5–6
  4. ^ a b Phillips (1971), pp. 134–135
  5. ^ a b Stratton (2005), p. 19
  6. ^ Oldham, Kit (January 23, 2003). "The North West Company establishes Spokane House in 1810". Essay 5099. HistoryLink. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  7. ^ "Milestones for Washington State History – Part 2: 1851 to 1900". HistoryLink.org. March 6, 2003.
  8. ^ "Spokane County, Washington: Historical Dates and Maps". Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2008.
  9. ^ "Spokane Valley — Thumbnail History". HistoryLink. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  10. ^ "Spokane Falls Weekly Review". October 8, 1885. p. 2. Retrieved December 7, 2008.
  11. ^ Kershner, Jim (August 11, 2007). "Armed Cheney citizens forcibly remove the county seat from Spokane Falls to Cheney on March 21, 1881". Essay 8249. HistoryLink. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  12. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  13. ^ "Y". NGS Data Sheet. National Geodetic Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce.
  14. ^ "Station Information Data Sheet – Spokane, Washington". National Weather Service. April 2008. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  15. ^ Breckenridge, Roy M. (May 1993). Glacial Lake Missoula and the Spokane Floods (PDF) (Report). GeoNotes. Vol. 26. Idaho Geological Survey. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 26, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  16. ^ www.spokanecounty.org https://web.archive.org/web/20201020005353/https://www.spokanecounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/4658/Geology-of-the-Saltese-Uplands-ConservationArea-2015-PDF#:~:text=The%20Saltese%20Uplands%20Conservation%20Area%20(SUCA)%20has%20a%20long%2D,lived%20and%20complex%20geologic%20history.&text=The%20bedrock%20geology%20at%20SUCA,interlayered%20zones%20of%20biotitic%20schist. Archived from the original on October 20, 2020. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Ecosystem and Vegetation System Management | Environmental Review Toolkit | FHWA".
  18. ^ "Ecoregion Download Files by State - Region 10". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. March 10, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  19. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021". Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  20. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  21. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  22. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  23. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  24. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  25. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  26. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 – County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  27. ^ "Selected Social Characteristics in the United States - 2006–2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  28. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics – 2006–2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  29. ^ Deshais, Nicholas (June 12, 2019). "Spokane Tribe will get a voice in transportation planning, a move that sparked controversy among Spokane officials". Spokesman-Review. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  30. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  31. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Spokane County, WA" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2022. - Text list

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°37′N 117°24′W / 47.62°N 117.40°W / 47.62; -117.40