Spokane Diversity and Religion
While Spokane has long been criticized for its lack of diversity, the city is becoming more diverse now that people from former Soviet Union countries are forming a more significant part of the city's demographics. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many immigrants -- mainly Ukrainians and Russians -- made their way to Spokane. In 2000, people of Ukrainian or Russian ancestry accounted for 2% of Spokane County's population.
Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing demographic in the city, and they are believed to be the 3rd largest minority group in Spokane County after Ukrainians, Russians, and Latinos. Spokane formerly had a large Asian community in Chinatown, which was demolished in the 1970s due to urban blight.
Spokane, and the Pacific Northwest area as a whole is part of what is termed the "Unchurched Belt," which refers to the region's low church membership and religious affiliation rates. Out of the population of 212,000 people, there are about 64,000 Evangelical Protestants, 66,000 Catholics, and 25,000 Mainline Protestants. The Spokane Islamic Center became the first mosque in the city in 2009. The city also has at least 3 Jewish congregations, including the Emanu-El congregation, which opened the first synagogue in the state in 1892. Spokane is also home to the Mormon Spokane Washington Temple District, and it's the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane.
Spokane Population Growth
Spokane is predicted to grow reasonably steadily over the next 15 years, eventually gaining 22% growth between 2005 and 2030. The city growth over time has seen intense periods of positive growth, followed by decades of slowed growth. After a loss of approximately 6% in the 1970s, growth has returned at an even slower rate. Only time will tell if this city will pick up their previous population growth rates.