December 10, 2008 in City

More Spokane residents live alone

Census also notes shorter commutes
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tags:census

Compared to the rest of the country, more Spokane County residents live alone and more are divorced.

More grandparents are raising their grandkids. More residents live in big homes, but fewer live in very expensive ones.

And many have five minutes more a day, on average, thanks to our shorter commutes.

Those are some characteristics gleaned from the newest batch of U.S. Census Bureau figures, released Tuesday. The series of surveys taken from 2005 to 2007 provide the first statistical portrait since 2000 of midsize areas like Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

A lot of the stats reinforce well-known themes about the Inland Northwest: Families here earn less money, on average, than they do nationally. The population is predominantly white and changing slowly. The poverty rate here is higher than the national average – and those economic difficulties intensify within the city limits of Spokane, where the poverty rate is 18 percent, compared with the national rate of 13 percent.

But the new estimates include a lot of other, perhaps more surprising, information about housing, employment and residents’ social characteristics.

In the greater Spokane area, there are fewer housing vacancies and more houses built before 1950 than the national average. More people walk to work here than nationally, and more work from home.

In the Coeur d’Alene area, more people than average are married and fewer walk to work.

In both areas, the percentage of big houses – those with seven or more rooms, or at least five bedrooms – is well above the national average. But the proportion of homes worth more than a half-million dollars is below the national average.

Here are some of the new statistics for the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene “metropolitan statistical areas.”

Median family income

Spokane: $56,939.

Coeur d’Alene: $51,631.

U.S.: $60,374.

Percentage of population that’s white, non-Hispanic

Spokane: 89 percent.

Coeur d’Alene: 93 percent.

U.S.: 66 percent.

Percentage of residents who work at home

Spokane: 4.7 percent.

Coeur d’Alene: 6.4 percent.

U.S.: 3.9 percent.

Walk to work

Spokane: 3.1 percent (about 6,397 people).

Coeur d’Alene: 2.1 percent.

U.S.: 2.9 percent.

Vacant housing units

Spokane: 6.6 percent.

Coeur d’Alene: 10.9 percent.

U.S.: 11.6 percent.

Houses with seven or more rooms

Spokane: 38.7 percent.

Coeur d’Alene: 29.5 percent.

U.S.: 28.4 percent.

Percentage of families living below poverty rate

Spokane: 14 percent.

Coeur d’Alene: 12 percent.

U.S.: 13 percent.

Percentage of single-parent families with children age 5 or younger headed by women in poverty

Spokane: 47.5 percent.

Coeur d’Alene: 50 percent.

U.S.: 45.5 percent.

Percentage of households headed by married couples

Spokane: 48 percent.

Coeur d’Alene: 54 percent.

U.S.: 50 percent.

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