SPOKANE County, WA
Spokane County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, its population was 471,221, making it the fourth-most populous county in Washington. The largest city and county seat is Spokane, 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.
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. The Spokane tribe, after which the county is named, means "Children of the Sun" or "sun people" in Salishan 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. 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. 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. Known as the Spokane House, or simply "Spokane", it was in operation from 1810 to 1826.
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. The first post office in the county was located at Spokane Bridge. The current Spokane county seat holder, Spokane, wrested the seat from Cheney in 1886.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which (0.9%) are covered by water. The lowest point in the county is the Spokane River behind Long Lake Dam (boundary of Stevens County) at 1538 ft (468 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 .
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. 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. 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.
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.
Lakes and reservoirs
Notable summits and peaks
National protected area
As of the 2000 United States Census, 417,939 people, 163,611 households, and 106,019 families were in the county. The population density was . The 175,005 housing units had an average density of . 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 thee 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.
As of the 2010 United States Census, 471,221 people, 187,167 households, and 118,212 families were residing in the county. The population density was . The 201,434 housing units had an average density of . 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. 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.
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.
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.
Law and government
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.
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, while the suburban areas are heavily Republican. Strong Democratic strength exists in Cheney, which is home to Eastern Washington University.
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Spokane County, WA, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.