Benton-Franklin Trends Blog

In this blog, we showcase a few indicators recently updated.

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Trends Update List


0.2.4 Total & Share of Households with Broadband Access
Over the past 7 years, the share of greater T-C households with broadband has climbed from 69% to 77%. The current share is about equal to the U.S. but below the Washington average and slightly lower than in Spokane and Wenatchee.

0.3.2 Total Foreign-Born Population
The number of this population, a proxy for immigrants, has remained largely the same since 2019. The share in two counties of immigrants who are not U.S. citizens is considerably higher than in the U.S. and WA. The share who are citizens is lower than in the U.S. and Washington.

0.4.2 Share of Registered Voters Voting in November Elections
The turn-out for off (odd)-year elections in the Tri Cities continues to decline. Turn-out in November, 2023 in the two counties was 32%, lowest rate on record and below that of the state.


3.1.2 Median Household Income
This fundamental measure of economic well-being jumped by $4,500 between 2022 and 201. At about $83,000, MHI in the two counties lies far above that of the U.S. and those for nearly all Eastern Washington metros. It is still lower than Washington’s, however.

3.2.7 New Business Applications & Annual Growth Rate
This new metric provided by Census gives a good idea of the number of startups. (Not every application converts into a business license, of course.) The pandemic ushered in a large jump in the new of business applications in the two counties, to over 3,100 in 2022.

3.4.4 Assessed Value of New Construction: Total & per Capita
Construction serves as an important leg to nearly all regional economies and the greater Tri Cities is no exception. 2022 saw a huge jump in the value of new construction, to over $1.3 billion. That’s over 50% higher than the recent five-year average.

3.5.2 Total and Share of Senior Population (Ages 65 and Older) Living in Poverty
The U.S. social welfare system has been built, in part, to keep older Americans out of poverty. Since the pandemic, however, the number and rate of the 65+ population in the greater Tri Cities deemed to be in poverty have risen. In 2022, the estimate stood at over 4,700, or nearly 11% of all seniors. Before the pandemic, older adult poverty rates were consistently lower than the benchmarks. No longer.



2.2.1 Total Number of Art Related Businesses and Art Businesses per 1,000 Businesses
The number of arts-related businesses hit a peak in 2020 and has declined since then. The current level, however, is higher than a decade ago. Generally, the two counties don’t boast as many arts-related businesses as the U.S. or WA do.


4.5.2 Share of the Population Ages 25+ with At Least Some College or an Associate's Degree
The portion of the area’s adult population with an AA degree or some community has typically been above or equal to the WA average and above the U.S. average. However, the rate has been in a decline since the peak of 2016.

4.5.3 Share of the Population Ages 25+ with at Least a Bachelor's Degree
It might surprise residents to know that the share of the local adult population (25+) with at least a Bachelor’s degree is far lower than the rates for the U.S. and especially for Washington state. The most recent (2022) estimate was about 29%. Over the past 15 years, however, the share has gradually climbed.


7.2.2 Total and Share of Renters Spending 30% or More of Their Household Income for Shelter Costs
The 30% threshold has long been established as dividing shelter costs into affordable and unaffordable. Renters make up about 30% of the population in the two counties. For most years, the share of greater Tri Cities renters above this threshold has been lower than the U.S. and Washington. That was not the case in 2022.

7.2.3 Total and Share of Renters Spending 50% or More of Their Household Income for Shelter Costs
If a renter pays more than 50% of their income on shelter costs, they are deemed to be “severely rent burdened”. Renters in the two counties have traditionally not shown as high a share in this unfortunate category as in the U.S. and WA. This was still true in 2022 but the share was still nearly a quarter of all renters.



List Updated 04.23.2023