Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane County nears half a million residents

Meanwhile, city sees its fastest growth since 2006

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For the first time in its history, Spokane County sits on the verge of surpassing 500,000 residents, says a recent report released from the Washington state Office of Financial Management, based in Olympia.

As of April 1, OFM says, 499,800 people lived in Spokane County, which marks a 1.5-percent increase from the prior-year figure of 492,530.

Patrick Jones, executive director of Eastern Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis, says the county’s 12-month population increase marks its highest growth rate since 2007.

The single largest contributor to the county’s growth is net migration, as is the case for the state overall, Jones says.

“To give you a sample of this, the net migration of residents into Spokane County was 5,700 residents from June ’16 to June ’17,” Jones says. “That’s more than twice as many as the prior year-to-year comparison.”

In 1995, Spokane County had 400,538 residents, which marked the first year the county topped 400,000 people, according to data posted on the Community Indicators Initiative of Spokane website, which the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis sponsors and updates.

“Moving to the 500,000 mark is something we’ve been inching toward for many years. I suspect we’ll top that next year,” Jones says.

Meanwhile, the city of Spokane saw its population grow to 217,300 as of April 1 this year, up from 214,500 a year earlier, which equated to a 1.3 percent increase. Jones says Spokane’s year-over-year percentage increase is its strongest since 2006.

Spokane remains the second largest city in the state, ahead of Tacoma, which has a population of 208,000.  The city of Spokane Valley experienced slight population increase, growing to 94,890 residents from 94,160 residents. OFM released its population figures on June. 30.

Citing overall migration to the state, OFM says Washington’s population grew by an estimated 126,600 people, a 1.76 increase from a year earlier, and the largest percentage increase since 2006. Washington state now has 7.3 million residents.

“From 2016 to 2017, net migration (people moving in versus people moving out) to Washington totaled 90,800, up 3,700 from last year (2016),” OFM says in a press release issued June 30.

“Net migration accounted for 72 percent of the state’s population growth this year, with natural increase (births minus deaths) responsible for the other 28 percent (35,800),” the press release says.

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