Spokane Trends Blog

Welcome to Spokane County!

Spokane County and environs form the 99th largest MSA by population, but combines the best of both a large and small city environment. A large, rushing river runs through the County, with lakes and mountains within a half an hour drive. The community is home for four universities, a diversifying economy, significant sports and cultural events.

Recent Updates: Featuring The Environment

4.1.7 Annual Average of the 24-Hour PM 2.5 Concentration

This measure captures presence of particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or less in the air. These have been found to be especially hazardous to human health. Data from four stations in the county are averaged over the entire year. With the exceptions of 2017 and 2020, the average has declined since 2005. (Click on the legend entries to simplify the graph.)

4.2.1 Average & Maximum Annual Air Temperatures
Although 2022 brought a triple-digit highest annual reading (102 degrees) for the seventh year over the past decade, the annual average dipped to 48.4 degrees. This was the fourth-lowest annual average of the past decade.

4.2.2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions within the City of Spokane
The most recent report from the City of Spokane reveals that greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), in CO2 equivalents, within the city stayed more or less the same between 2017 and 2019. As in prior years, the largest contributor to GHG emissions stemmed from the built environment.

4.2.4 Quarterly Aquifer Levels & Water Quality
Measured at the well at North Denver & East Marietta streets, static water levels (distance from land surface to the top of well) in 2022 were 97% of the prior 5-year average. The quarter 2 reading of this year was the lowest since 2012. Chloride levels in the aquifer have been on an upward trend since the start of the measurement period.

4.2.6 Number of Weeks in Moderate or More Severe Drought

2022 was the 5th driest year of the century to-date for Spokane. Moderate drought conditions characterized the County for 25 weeks, severe drought for 9 weeks. The highest levels – extreme and exceptional – were not detected, unlike 2021. (To simplify the graph, click on the legend components.)

4.2.7 Snow Water Equivalent of the Snowpack at Quartz Peak, Mt. Spokane State Park
For the “snow season” (November through May), the 2021-2022 snowpack at Mt. Spokane was the fifth-lowest since the start of the century. Snowfall amounted to 1,843 inches of water equivalent. The lowest season this century took place in the 2004-2005 season, with 519 inches. The highest was 2007-2008, with slightly over 4,000 inches.

4.2.8 Acres Burned in Wildfires in Eastern Washington & Eastern Oregon
2022 marked the third-lowest year of forest fires in the two states over the past decade. For the six service areas tracked, 343,000 acres burned. The most recent “fire-free” year was 2019, with 168,000 acres burned. The worst was 2015, with 1.45 million acres burned.

4.2.9 Total Number of High Heat Days
This measure captures the number of days in a year where the thermometer exceeds 90 degrees F. In 2022, there were 33 such days, the second-highest count since the start of the century. 2021 brought the highest, at 38. Generally, the trend has been strongly increasing.


list updated 08.30.23

The complete list of Spokane Trends can be found here.

Monthly & Quarterly Recaps on the Local Economy Available

If you’d like to keep up with the current pace of local economic indicators before they appear Spokane Trends, the Institute offers two options. Two projects re done for the City of Spokane offer data at a higher frequency than annual. One is a monthly update of nine indicators. The other is a quarterly update of more than 20 indicators.
You can access the dashboards on the Institute’s website, available here.

Measures covered include overall labor market indicators, employment levels by sectors, building permits, office vacancy rates, industrial vacancy rates, airport boarding, driver's license surrenders from new residents and retail sales taxes.

The focus of both dashboards in many cases is broader than the City of Spokane. Of the nine monthly measures, five are county-wide. Of the 20-plus quarterly measures, nearly half are county-wide.

New Intern Features:


Miranda Carmona

Hometown: Spokane, WA
Major: Economics
Expected Graduation Date: June 2024 
Post-graduation plans:

Pursue a Master's degree in Economics and pursue a career in economic analysis.

After some time working on the Trends project, my favorite thing so far is
learning and analyzing new trends for different regions in Washington every week. It amazes me how much I have learned about various counties in our state! 

Liliya Kostenko

Hometown: Spokane, WA
Major: Accounting
Expected Graduation Date: June 2024 
Post-graduation plans:

I plan to join an accounting firm to expand my knowledge and skills. My goal is to take and pass the CPA exam to become a certified accountant.

After some time working on the Trends project, my favorite thing so far is
I think it is incredible how much information we have at hand, and how little we know about our hometown. Every time I update the data, I learn a lot of new things that I could potentially use to help me in my future career.

About The Institute

The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis is a research institute for applied regional research that provides easily accessible community indicator data. The Institute publishes seven community trend sites for nine Washington counties, all of which cover a variety of factors like economic vitality, health, housing, and more. The Institute’s work is aimed to promote data-based decision making and provide readily available and extensive data for communities across Washington state.

The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis’s website has been revamped! Check out the new and improved website here.