I have been hearing for years that the 3rd Legislative District, Spokane, WA, is the poorest in the State of Washington.  However, no one has ever offered me a evidence for that claim.  I finally got around to checking into it.  It is true enough.  The 3rd LD is one of the poorest in the states and contains some of the poorest neighborhoods in Spokane City and County.  It is interesting that the 3rd LD is also one of the most Democratic in the State but with one of the lowest voter registration and voter turnout rates.

There are many different ways to measure poverty, such as families below the poverty line.  Some measures put the 3rd LD at the 2nd or third poorest.  However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 3rd Legislative District is the 1srt poorest LD in the State of Washington when measured by the number of individuals under the federal poverty line. The 3rd LD includes downtown Spokane, Browne’s Addition, the Lower South Hill, and West Central, the Gonzaga area, and a number of other neighborhoods.

About 25% of individuals (about 29,000 adults and children) in the 3rd LD live below the federal poverty line.  Approximately 9,000 of them are minorities.  About 20,000 of those living in poverty in the 3rd LD are adults 18 or older, and 9,000 are children.  These are survey estimates that have been rounded to the nearest thousand (U.S. Census Bureau 2012).

The 3rd LD is also one of the most Democratic, but with one of the lowest voter registration and turn out rates in the State.  The 3rd LD is tied with the 11th LD in King County as having the third lowest voter turnout of 63% in the 2010 general election, and it also had the third fewest registered voters in 2010 (out of 49 comparably populated LDs in the State).  The 3rd LD was also the 13th most Democratic in the State in 2010 (as measured by votes for Democratic U.S. Senator Patty Murray) (Washington Secretary of State, 2012).


Washington Secretary of State (2012).  Press and Research.  http://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/press.aspx.  Accessed on July 13, 2012.

U.S. Census Bureau (2012).  Table of Poverty Status (of individuals) in the Past 12 Months, 3rd Legislative District in the State of Washington, 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.  American Fact Finder.  http://factfinder2.census.gov.

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