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greater spokane area

recreation •  employment •  education •  cost of living • 
climate & weather •  hospitals •  air, water & topography • 
culture •  arts, theater & entertainment •  sports •  resources

Spokane County is located in the State of Washington. As of the 2010 census the population was 471,221, making it the fourth-most populous county in Washington state. The largest city and county seat is Spokane, the second largest city in the state, behind Seattle.

The city of Spokane is the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis. The city is located on the Spokane River in Eastern Washington, 92 miles south of the Canadian border, approximately 20 miles from the Washington–Idaho border, 232 miles of Seattle, and 1,378 miles west of Minneapolis.

Spokane' economy has traditionally been based on natural resources, being a center for mining, timber, and agriculture; however, the city's economy has diversified to include other industries, including the high-tech and biotech sectors. Spokane is known as the birthplace of Father's Day, hosted the first environmentally themed World's Fair, Expo '74, and is home to Gonzaga University and Whitworth University.

With a population of 208,916, according to the 2010 Census, Spokane is the second largest city in Washington and the 102nd largest city in the United States. Spokane is the principal city of the Spokane Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is coterminous with Spokane, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties. As of the 2010 census, the Spokane MSA had a population of 532,253.

At the 2010 census, there were 208,916 people, 87,271 households, and 49,204 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,526.0 inhabitants per square mile. There were 94,291 housing units at an average density of 1,591.4 per square mile.

The median age in the city was 35 years. 22.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.6% were from 25 to 44; 25.1% were from 45 to 64; and 12.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.


With a fantastic four-season climate and 260 sunny days each year, our region is busting at the seam with outdoor adventures. Where else can you enjoy a morning paddle down a lazy river, bike through miles of lush forest, tee up at area golf courses, climb up steep rock faces, cool off in one of 76 regional lakes, camp in gorgeous state parks, wrestle with whitewater rapids and ski through fresh powder? If you couldn't already tell, Spokane is a prime location for everything outdoors.


Bureau of Labor Statistics


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the total school enrollment in Spokane was 53,000 from 2005-2007. Nursery school and kindergarten enrollment was 5,300 and elementary or high school enrollment was 30,000 children. College or graduate school enrollment was 18,000. From 2005-2007, 90% of people 25 years and over had at least graduated from high school and 27% had a bachelor's degree or higher. 10% were dropouts; they were not enrolled in school and had not graduated from high school.

Serving the general educational needs of the local population are two public library districts, the Spokane Public Library and the Spokane County Library District. Founded in 1904 with funding from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the Spokane Public Library system comprises of a downtown library overlooking Spokane Falls and 6 branch libraries. Special collections include Northwest history, genealogy, Washington state, and Spokane County government documents.

cost of living 

The Spokane region continues to have a very competitive cost of living. The current cost of living index is 96.

The ACCRA Cost of Living Index (COLI) measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. Greater Spokane Incorporated, in partnership with Eastern Washington University, collects data for the Index.

Greater Spokane Cost of Living Index (Link here)

climate & weather 

Spokane lies in the transitional zone between the semi-arid climate type and the sub-humid climate; Spokane, however is adjacent to and sometimes even classified as a cool-summer Mediterranean climate as well because the average temperature for the coldest month is just over 27 °F.

The area is typified by a hot, arid climate during the summer months and a cold, snowy, and moist climate in the winter. Both summer and winter are the predominant seasons, as spring and fall constitute a rapid transition. On average, July and August are equally warm, and the coolest month is December. Daily temperature ranges are large during the summer, approaching, and often exceeding 30 °F, and small during the winter, with a range just above 10 °F. December, the coldest month, averages 27.4 °F, while July, the warmest month, averages 69.8 °F. Extremes range from 112 °F to −30 °F, but temperatures of more than 100 °F and less than −10 °F are rare, though on average, temperatures above 90 °F occur on 19 days, above 100 °F usually at least once, and below 0 °F on 3.5 days annually. Spokane has a slight heat island effect. Due to this during the summer months on average downtown is 1 °F warmer than surrounding areas during the day, this combined with the fact that downtown is about 500 ft lower than the airport; in downtown the average summer high is actually 88 °F and it has reached an extreme of 112 °F.

Because of Spokane's location between the Cascades Range to the west and Rocky Mountains to the east and north, the city is protected from weather patterns experienced in other parts of the Pacific Northwest. The Cascade Mountains form a barrier to the eastward flow of moist and relatively mild air from the Pacific Ocean in winter and cool air in summer. As a result of the rain shadow effect of the Cascade Mountains, the Spokane area also has less than half the rainfall of Seattle. The average annual precipitation in the Spokane area is 16.5 inches, whereas the Seattle area receives 37 inches annually. The most precipitation occurs in December, and summer is the driest time of the year. The Rocky Mountains shield Spokane from the winter season's cold air masses traveling southward across Canada, sparing the city from the worst effects of Arctic air in winter.


Local residents have 5 hospitals in Spokane County, Washington to choose from within driving distance. Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Deaconess Medical Center, Valley Hospital & Medical Center, Providence Holy Family Hospital & Spokane Valley Medical Center. In addition is also has Spokane VA Medical Center.

air, water & topography 

Spokane is located on the edge of the Columbia Basin on the Spokane River in Eastern Washington, near the eastern border of Washington, about 20 miles from Idaho, 110 miles south of the Canadian border and 232 miles east of Seattle, and 277 miles southwest of Calgary. The city lies at the geographical co-ordinates of 47.39 North latitude and 117.25 West longitude. Spokane is part of the Inland Northwest region (long known as the Inland Empire), consisting of eastern Washington, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana, and northeastern Oregon. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 60.02 square miles, of which, 59.25 square miles is land and 0.77 square miles is water.

Spokane lies in the Columbia Plateau ecoregion on the eastern edge of the basaltic Channeled Scablands steppe, a plain that then eventually rises sharply to the east towards the rugged, timbered Rocky Mountain foothills, the Selkirk Mountains. It is in a transition area between the barren landscape of Columbia Basin and the coniferous forests to the east; to the south are the lush prairies of the Palouse. The highest peak in Spokane County is Mount Spokane at an elevation of 5,883 feet, located on the eastern side of the Selkirk Mountains. The most prominent water feature in the area is the Spokane River, a 111-mile tributary of the Columbia River, originating from Lake Coeur d'Alene in northern Idaho. The river flows west across the Washington state line through downtown Spokane, meeting Latah Creek, then turns to the northwest where it is joined by the Little Spokane River on its way to join the Columbia River, north of Davenport. Many of the area's numerous large lakes such as Lake Coeur d'Alene and Lake Pend Oreille as well as the Channeled Scablands were formed by the after the ice-dammed Glacial Lake Missoula ruptured at the end of the last ice age.

Spokane is at an elevation of 1,843 feet above sea level. The lowest elevation in the city of Spokane is the northernmost point of the Spokane River within city limits (in Riverside State Park) at 1,608 feet and the highest elevation is on the northeast side near the community of Hillyard, though closer to Beacon Hill and the North Hill Reservoir at 2,591 feet.


Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

Life in Spokane is heavily influenced by its climate and geographical location. Spokane experiences a four-season climate, and is close to dozens of lakes and rivers for swimming, boating, rafting, and fishing, as well as mountains for skiing, hiking, biking and sightseeing according to CNN. The Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge south of Cheney is the closest natural reserve and the closest national park is Glacier National Park, approximately a four-hour drive away from Spokane.

Spokane is big enough to have many amenities of a larger city, but small enough to support annual events and traditions with a small town atmosphere. Spokane was awarded the All-America City Award by the National Civic League in 1974 and 2004. There are several museums in the city, most notably the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, a Smithsonian affiliate museum that houses a large collection of Native American artifacts as well as regional and national traveling art exhibits. Located in Browne's Addition amid the mansions of Spokane's late 19th-century "Age of Elegance", the Museum is in a secluded setting a few blocks from the center of downtown. The Mobius Science Center and the related Mobius Kid's Museum in downtown Spokane seek to provide the public with new and innovative ways to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math and allow youth to explore science, culture, and the arts through a hands-on experience.

arts, theater & entertainment 

The Fox Theater -- Spokane hosts a variety of visual and performing arts scenes. These attractions include a major civic theater as well as several smaller ones, the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, a jazz orchestra, an opera house, and other musical venues. The Davenport District is also home to many art galleries as well as some of Spokane's main performing arts venues. The Metropolitan Performing Arts Center was restored in 1988 and renamed Bing Crosby Theater in honor of Spokane native Bing Crosby, in 2006. The Fox Theater, which has been restored to its original 1931 Art Deco state, is the home of the Spokane Symphony.

Theater is provided by Spokane's only resident professional company, Interplayers Ensemble. Theater is also provided by the Spokane Civic Theatre and several amateur community theaters and smaller groups.

Art -- Spokane has a vibrant art scene. Spokane's two main Artwalk dates (the first Friday of February and October) attract large crowds to the art districts. Spokane's main art districts are located in the Davenport District, the Garland Business District, and East Sprague.The First Friday Artwalk, which occurs the first Friday of every month, is dedicated to local vendors and performers displaying art around Downtown.

Music -- Spokane offers an array of musical performances catering to a variety of interests. Spokane's local music scene, however, is considered somewhat lacking by some, and critics have identified a need for a legitimate all-ages venue for music performances. The Spokane Symphony presents a full season of classical music, and the Spokane Jazz Orchestra, a full season of jazz music. The Spokane Jazz Orchestra is a non-profit organization formed in 1962 that claims to be the nation's oldest, continually performing, professional, and community-supported 17-piece big band.


Spokane's professional and semi-professional sports teams include the Spokane Indians in Minor League Baseball, Spokane Shock in arena football, Spokane Shine in soccer, and Spokane Chiefs in junior ice hockey.

Collegiate sports in Spokane focus on the local teams such as the Gonzaga Bulldogs that compete in the West Coast Conference and the Whitworth Pirates as well as other regional teams including the Washington State Cougars, Eastern Washington Eagles, and the Idaho Vandals.

The Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena is Spokane's premier sports venue. In the years since the Spokane Arena opened, it along with the city of Spokane has played host to several major sporting events. The first major event was the 1998 Memorial Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Hockey League. Four years later in 2002, Spokane hosted the 2002 Skate America figure skating competition and then the 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in the Spokane Arena. The latter event set an attendance record, selling nearly 155,000 tickets and was later named the "Sports Event of the Year" by Sports Travel Magazine, beating out events such Super Bowl XLI. Spokane once again hosted the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships—ending eighteen days before the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Columbia.



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