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Map of the Inland Northwest. Counties highlighted in red are always included, while counties highlighted in pink are sometimes included.
Map of the Inland Northwest. Counties highlighted in red are always included, while counties highlighted in pink are sometimes included.

The Inland Northwest, historically and alternatively known as the Inland Empire, is a region of the American Northwest centered on the Greater Spokane, Washington Area,[1] encompassing all of Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Under broader definitions, Northeastern Oregon and Western Montana may be included in the Inland Northwest. Alternatively, stricter definitions may exclude Central Washington and Idaho County, Idaho.

As of 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the combined population of eastern Washington and north Idaho alone to be 2,240,645, comparable to that of New Mexico. Its Canadian counterpart, north of the border, is the British Columbia Interior, which together comprise the inland portion of the broader Pacific Northwest. Significant urban centers include the Spokane–Coeur d'Alene area and the Tri-Cities.

There have been several proposals to politically unite the Inland Northwest. In the mid and late 1860s, there was a proposal centered on Lewiston in northern Idaho for a Columbia Territory to be formed in the region from parts of what is now eastern Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana.[2] In 1901, another proposal was made, this time to combine the Idaho Panhandle with Eastern Washington to create the State of Lincoln. A third proposal was popularized in the late 1920s to consist of eastern Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana to the Continental Divide.

Counties

Washington
Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima
Idaho
Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, and Shoshone

Oregon (often included)

Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa

Montana (sometimes included; never included as part of the Inland Empire)

Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, and Sanders

Geography

The region is bounded by the Cascade Mountains on the west and the Rocky Mountains (following the spine of the remote and rugged Cabinet Mountains) on the east, the Blue Mountains of Oregon and foothills of the Wallowa Mountains to the south, southeast, and encompasses the Columbia river basin (or Columbia Plateau). Between the three mountain ranges are large, sweeping areas of semi-arid steppe, part of which has been irrigated due to the Columbia Basin Project, resulting in expansive farmland in central Washington. The Palouse, original home of the Appaloosa, is another major agricultural region located in the gently rolling hills of southeastern Washington and extending into Idaho. In northern Idaho, the precipitation from the Pacific Ocean over the North Central Rockies forests, create the North American inland temperate rainforest.[3] The Coeur d'Alene Mountains of this range is noted for its natural resource wealth, particularly the Silver Valley with its mining heritage dating back to the 1880s.

Spokane, the region's largest city, is located near where the arid, and largely unforested Columbia plateau meets the lush forests of the Selkirk Mountains. The urban area stretches east into Idaho along the I-90 corridor through the Spokane River valley across the border of Idaho into the cities of Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene on the north bank of Lake Coeur d'Alene. The Northeastern Washington and Northern Idaho portion of the Inland Empire are mountainous and forested, and the crest of the Bitterroot Range of the Rocky Mountains forms part of the eastern boundary of the Inland Empire region, while the Columbia River forms a significant part of its southern boundary.

Climate

The Washington side is generally semi-arid, while the Idaho side experiences a mostly dry summer continental climate.

Demographics

Population Centers

The Inland Northwest is home to seven Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), eight if Western Montana is included, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The two largest centers of population are formed out of multiple neighboring MSAs that are classified as Combined Statistical Areas.[4] The largest in the region is the conurbation formed by the Spokane and Coeur d'Alene MSAs, the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene combined statistical area, which ranks 70th in the nation. The second largest center is the Kennewick-Richland-Walla Walla combined statistical area, which is made up of the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla and ranks as the 103rd largest in the nation.[5]

Statistical Areas

Largest Cities by Population

*Sometimes considered to be in the region

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Stratton, David H., ed. (2004), Spokane & the Inland Empire: An Interior Pacific Northwest Anthology, Washington State University, ISBN 0-87422-277-X
  2. ^ Merle W. Wells. "Territorial Government in the Inland Empire: The Movement to Create Columbia Territory, 1864-69." The Pacific Northwest Quarterly. Vol. 44, No. 2 (April 1953), pp. 80-87.
  3. ^ Woodward, Susan L. (2012–2015). "Inland Rainforests of the Northwest". Radford University. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Combined Statistical Areas of the United States and Puerto Rico" (PDF). census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Kennewich-Richand-Walla Walla, WA CSA". censusreporter.org. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  6. ^ a b c "QuickFacts". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "QuickFacts". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  8. ^ "QuickFacts: Yakima County, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Quick Facts". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  10. ^ "QuickFacts: Missoula County, Montana". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  11. ^ "QuickFacts". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  12. ^ "QuickFacts: Spokane city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  13. ^ "QuickFacts: Spokane Valley city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  14. ^ "QuickFacts: Yakima city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  15. ^ "QuickFacts: Kennewick city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  16. ^ "QuickFacts: Pasco city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  17. ^ "QuickFacts: Missoula city, Montana". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  18. ^ "QuickFacts: Richland city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  19. ^ "QuickFacts: Coeur d'Alene city, Idaho". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  20. ^ "QuickFacts: Post Falls city, Idaho". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  21. ^ "QuickFacts: Wenatchee city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  22. ^ "QuickFacts: Lewiston city, Idaho". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  23. ^ "QuickFacts: Walla Walla city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  24. ^ "QuickFacts: Pullman city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  25. ^ "QuickFacts: Moscow city, Idaho". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  26. ^ "QuickFacts: Moses Lake city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  27. ^ "QuickFacts: Kalispell city, Montana". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  28. ^ "QuickFacts: Hermiston city, Oregon". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  29. ^ "QuickFacts: Ellensburg city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  30. ^ "QuickFacts: Pendleton city, Oregon". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  31. ^ "QuickFacts: Sunnyside city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  32. ^ "QuickFacts: West Richland city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  33. ^ "QuickFacts: Hayden city, Idaho". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  34. ^ "QuickFacts: East Wentachee city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  35. ^ "QuickFacts: Cheney city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  36. ^ "QuickFacts: La Grande city, Oregon". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  37. ^ "QuickFacts: Liberty Lake city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  38. ^ "QuickFacts: Grandview city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  39. ^ "QuickFacts: Airway Heights city, Washington". census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 April 2022.

Coordinates: 47°00′N 118°00′W / 47.0°N 118.0°W / 47.0; -118.0 (Inland Northwest)