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Spokane is a city located in the northwestern United States in the state of Washington. It is the largest city of Spokane County of which it is also the county seat, and the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest region. The city is located on the Spokane River in eastern Washington, 92 miles (148 km) south of the Canadian border, approximately 20 miles (32 km) from the Washington–Idaho border, and 232 miles (373 km) east of Seattle.
David Thompson explored the Spokane area and began European settlement with the westward expansion and establishment of the North West Company’s Spokane House in 1810. This trading post was the first long-term European settlement in Washington and the center of the fur trade between the Rockies and the Cascades for 16 years. In the late 19th century, gold and silver were discovered in the Inland Northwest. The Spokane area is considered to be one of the most productive mining districts in North America. Spokane’s 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.
The city of Spokane (then known as “Spokan [sic] Falls”) was settled in 1871 and officially incorporated as a city in 1881. The city’s name is drawn from the Native American tribe known as the Spokane, which means “Children of the Sun” in Salishan. Spokane’s official nickname is the “Lilac City”, named after the flowers that have flourished since their introduction to the area in the early 20th century. Completion of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1881 brought major settlement to the Spokane area.
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 County. As of the 2010 census, the county had a population of 471,221. The Spokane–Coeur d’Alene Combined Statistical Area has about 609,000 residents.
According to the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the city was $32,273, and the median income for a family was $41,316. Males had a median income of $31,676 versus $24,833 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,451. About 11.1% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.3% of those under the age of 18 and 9.6% of those ages 65 and older.
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 (1,361.4 /km2). There were 94,291 housing units at an average density of 1,591.4 per square mile (614.4 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.1% White, 2.4% African American, 2.0% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.6% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.6% of the population.
There were 87,271 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.5% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.6% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.
The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.97. 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.
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives’ 2010 Metro Area Membership Report, the denominational groups of the Spokane MSA are 64,277 Evangelical Protestant; 682 Black Protestant; 24,826 Mainline Protestant; 754 Orthodox; 66,202 Catholic; 31,674 Other; and 339,338 Unclaimed. Spokane, like Washington and the Pacific Northwest region as a whole is part of the Unchurched Belt, a region characterized by low church membership rates and religious participation.