Spokane Trends Blog

Did you know there are over 185 different community indicators on Spokane Trends - each updated throughout the year? But which ones, and when?

This issue of the Spokane Trends blog lists the most recently updated indicators on the Spokane Trends Focus website. 

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2.1.2 Per Capita Personal Income
This broad measure of economic health represents an average. Between 2020 and 2021, it climbed over $3,750, the largest percentage jump since the turn of the century. The county’s level, however, still lies well below the U.S. and Washington State averages.


4.3.1 Population Density
Between 2022 and 2021, Spokane County population increased at its fastest pace in decades. These new residents bumped up the population densities in our two largest cities. But both cities still show population densities far lower than the state’s other large cities.


7.1.2 Average Daily Jail Population by Race
The 2021 results are now in. On an average day in the Spokane jail, 1.4% of the county’s Black population was in the facility. The overall average is 0.2%. The share claimed by Blacks has declined from it peak of 1.8% a few years ago, but is till much higher than the average for all Washington State jails.

7.4.1 Total Commissioned Officers
The number of commissioned law enforcement officers in all jurisdictions in Spokane County declined in 2021, from 627 in 2020 to 617. County population, in turn, rose. As a result, the number of commissioned officers per 1,000 residents declined from 1.2 to 1.17 over the same period. These staffing levels are lower than the Washington average.


8.1.1 Total Commuters and Average Time of Commute
The number of commuters in the county in 2021 fell from 2019 – from 218,3009 to 207,100. Commute time slipped a bit as well, from an average one-way trip of 23 minutes to 22 minutes.



6.2.2 Renters Paying 30%+ of Income on Shelter
For decades, housing experts have regarded at 30% of one’s income spent on shelter costs as an upper limit of housing affordability. (Some experts now look at 35%.) In 2021, Census estimates that nearly 49% of county renters found themselves over that threshold, a big jump from 2019.

6.2.3 Renters Paying 50%+ of Income on Shelter
Renting households paying half or more their income on shelter costs are regarded as “highly distressed.” Census estimates for 2021 put the number in the county at nearly 18,000. This represented 23% of all renting households, up from 21% in 2019.

6.2.4 Income Required for Fair Market Rent
Fair market rent (FMR) is a level set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development every year. This indicator tracks income needed, at the 30% threshold of household income, to afford FMR in the Spokane County. For a 1-bedroom unit in 2023, needed annual income will be $37,000 and for a 2-bedroom $48,00, both large increases over 2022.

6.4.5 Homeless Persons by Racial Shares
The Point-in-Time (one day) count of homeless residents in the County reveal a large disproportionality by race. In 2021, nearly 1% of all Blacks and about 0.5% of all Native Americans in the county were counted as homeless. This is a far higher rate than for Whites.

6.3.5 Mortgage Denials by Whites & People of Color
In Spokane, the rate of denial to home loans has varied, depending on race. In most years, denials to People of Color (POC) have been 2-4 percentage points higher than those to Non-Hispanic Whites. 2021 was no exception. The local denial rate to POC has been about the same in King County.



list updated 12.13.22

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Blog Feature: Life Expectancy in Spokane County

Impact of the Pandemic:  Life Expectancy Falls to Lowest Level in Two Decades!

A recent social media post from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported that since 2014, the US has seen a drop in life expectancy of 2.8 years, essentially erasing all gains made since 1996. Locally, here in Spokane County, the drop in life expectancy in just the first year of the pandemic (2020) was 1.22 years – over 14 months. For county residents, life expectancy at the end of 2020 was just above what it was in 2001 – a regression of nearly two decades!

Life expectancy at birth is a popular way of showing changes in the overall health of a community. Over time, life expectancy at birth has steadily increased due to improvements in public health. Spokane Trends provides the data for the county along with the state & US as benchmarks in their indicator 5.1.11 Life Expectancy at Birth. 

One of the striking impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic is the swift and dramatic decline in overall life expectancy in just one year. Life expectancy at birth fell across the United States by nearly a year and half returning the nation to a level it first achieved in 2003 – essentially wiping out over 15 years of increases in health outcomes.

Washington state, in part due to higher vaccination rates and stricter masking mandates, fared better than the nation with a reduction of almost a year in 2020. For the first time in over a decade, the life expectancy at birth for an infant born in Washington fell to under 80 years. 

Since 2008, Spokane County’s life expectancy has trended very closely with the national average but has been below the state average by about two years. This gap between the county and the state increased slightly in 2020 with Spokane County’s slightly greater drop in life expectancy from the first year of the pandemic.

Although 2021 life expectancy data for counties is not publicly available yet, death data are. The increase in deaths due to Covid-19 in 2021 likely has caused life expectancy in Spokane County to drop even further, perhaps on par with the national average of 2.8 years as reported by Johns Hopkins. Covid-19 deaths in both 2020 & 2021 can be found at Spokane Trends 5.1.1 Deaths by Leading Causes. Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in 2021 and accounted for one out of every nine deaths that year.