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What 2020 census data says about Spokane, Kootenai counties

Data released by the Census Bureau shows Spokane and Coeur d'Alene are among the country's fastest-growing and most housing-scarce cities.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The US Census Bureau unveiled new data Thursday from the 2020 census that provides more local insight into growth trends and other statistics for cities and counties.

The numbers show that Spokane and Coeur d'Alene are among the fastest-growing cities in the country, though not in the top percentiles for those metrics.

The census also tracked housing vacancy, meaning the percentage of units that are actually available for people to move into. The Inland Northwest ranks near the bottom of the pack by that metric, showing both high demand for and low supply of housing in the region.

Numerical increase

Between 2010 and 2020, Spokane County grew by 68,118 people. That's the 90th most of 3,143 counties tracked nationwide.

Kootenai County grew by 32,868 people, the 191st most.

Credit: Census Bureau data
Map of US counties showing numerical population growth between the 2010 and 2020 censuses.

Notably, the vast majority of counties in America are losing population, as more and more people move towards denser urban areas. However, most counties in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are showing growth.

Percentage increase

Perhaps a more useful statistic for measuring relative growth is percentage increase.

The census data shows Spokane County's population increased by 14.5% between the 2010 and 2020 censuses. That ranks 238 of 3,143 counties.

Kootenai County's population meanwhile exploded by 23.7%, the 81st most of any county in the country.

Credit: Census Bureau data
Map of US counties showing percentage population growth between the 2010 and 2020 censuses.

Again, even as much of the nation's counties are seeing population decreases, the Northwest is seeing nearly universal increases.

Housing vacancy

One of the more interesting stats provided in the new census data relates to housing availability. The bureau tracked what percentage of units in each county were actually vacant. This stat confirms the dire state of housing in the Inland Northwest that many have already been experiencing firsthand.

In Spokane County, only 5.2% of units are vacant. That's the 3,003rd most of 3,143 counties, placing it in the bottom 5% for availability.

Things are better in Kootenai County, with 10% vacancy. However that still places it as county number 2,186 — the bottom third of counties.

The bottom tiers of this metric are littered with counties in Washington and Oregon. Franklin County in Washington, home to Pasco, has a vacancy rate of just 3.3%, making it county number 3,135  —  that's the bottom 0.25% of counties in America.

Credit: Census Bureau data
Map showing housing vacancy rates in US counties.