Spokane is a community with a growing multicultural population. While the majority of Spokane’s population is white, the Hispanic population is growing, now about 23,000 people in Spokane County, or about 5 percent of the population. This trend is expected to continue. Spokane radio station KMBI switched to a Spanish language format in January 2015. The city held the first month-long Fiesta Spokane to highlight the cultural heritage of the growing Latino population –including a fund raiser for scholarships, traditional cooking, and a film series.
There is also a growing Russian and Ukrainian population providing a highly educated, bilingual workforce of approximately 1200.
Other races represented include 2.3% Asian, 1.9% Black or African American, 1.7% American Indian or Alaska Native, .4% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and 3.8% two or more races.
5.5% of the population is foreign born and 7.8% speak a language other than English at home. Fifty-five different languages are spoken.
The Community Colleges of Spokane is celebrating record international enrollment, hosting more than 300 international students from over 50 countries.
Most of eastern Washington is fairly conservative, but like many western cities, Spokane is becoming steadily more diverse, boosted by an energetic LGBT populace. The Advocate, the nation’s largest gay rights magazine has ranked Spokane as the third-gayest city in the nation based on how many openly gay representatives the city has at local, state and federal levels, as well as whether gay marriage is legal in the state and how many companies on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index are based in the city. The Inland Northwest Business Alliance (INBA) is Spokane’s Gay Chamber of Commerce with members from gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.