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Stevens County Profile

Overview | Geographic facts | Outlook | Labor force and unemployment |
Industry employment | Wages and Income | Population


Regional context

Stevens County is located in the northeast corner of Washington, bordering both Canada and Spokane County. The County is rural and ranks fifth in the state in terms of land area and 28th in the state for population density. Most of the Spokane Indian Reservation is located in Stevens County on 237.5 square miles. Colville is the largest town in the county.

Local economy

From the 1850s through 1910, Stevens County was one of the state’s top silver and copper producers. Forest products have also dominated the economy. Over the past 20 years, the economy has diversified from its dependence on resource extraction. This diversification has been the result of increasing service-providing jobs and increases in manufacturing of non-wood products.

Stevens County tends to have one of the highest unemployment rates as well as a lower labor force participation rate in the state. Over the last three years total employment in the county has increased modestly.


Geographic facts

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

Stevens County Rank in state
Land area, 2010 (square miles) 2,477.77 5
Persons per square mile, 2010 17.6 28



For Stevens County, recovery from the recession has been long and slow. Recently, jobs have increased but job growth still hasn’t reached pre-recession levels. Recent demand in the housing and recreational markets along with machinery manufacturing have helped the county recover foundation-type jobs.

With an increase in retirees within the region and changing demographics, total health care employment has grown, especially in assisted care centers. However, consolidation of hospitals, clinics and labs will keep increases modest.

Government is the largest employment sector in the county, accounting for more than 30 percent of total jobs. Expected Federal budget reductions in the coming years are likely to decrease government employment in 2016 and 2017. But a part of government, education, did post-employment increases in the first half of 2016.


Labor force and unemployment

(Source: Employment Security Department)

Current labor force and unemployment statistics are available on the Labor area summaries page.

Through the first 6 months of 2016, the Stevens County civilian labor force averaged 18,090. This was up from the same period in 2015 (17,725). The county unemployment rate has decreased in 2016, but is still above 9 percent for the year.


Industry employment

(Source: Employment Security Department)

Current industry employment statistics are available on the Labor area summaries page.

Stevens County averaged 9,933 jobs in 2015 which was an increase from 2014 (9,747).

  • Goods-producing employment increased by 195 in 2015. Most of the increase was posted in the Construction sectors, with Specialty trade contractor’s leading the way.
  • Service-providing employment in 2015 decreased slightly from 2014 levels. Almost all of the decrease was due to decreases in the Social assistance sub sector in the Health services industry. However, increases were posted in Wholesale trade, Transportation/Warehousing, and professional and technical services, which include legal and accounting services. Government jobs account for almost 30 percent of total jobs and posted a slight increase in 2015.

For historical industry employment data, contact an economist.

Industry employment by age and gender

(Source: The Local Employment Dynamics)

The Local Employment Dynamics (LED) database, a joint project of state employment departments and the U.S. Census Bureau, matches state employment data with federal administrative data. Among the products is industry employment by age and gender. All workers covered by state unemployment insurance data are included; federal workers and non-covered workers, such as the self-employed, are not. Data are presented by place of work, not place of residence. Some highlights:

The largest jobholder age group in Stevens County in 2015 was the 45 to 54 year-olds with 22.6 percent of the workforce. This percentage was closely followed by jobholders age 55 to 64 at 22.3 percent of the workforce.

In 2015, men held 50.3 percent and women held 49.7 percent of the jobs in Stevens County. There were substantial differences in gender dominance by industry.

  • Male-dominated industries included mining (94.5 percent), agriculture (86.1 percent), construction (84.8 percent), manufacturing (81.3 percent) and utilities (78.0 percent).
  • Female-dominated industries included healthcare and social assistance (80.7 percent), educational services (69.5 percent) and finance and insurance (79.4 percent).

Wages and income

(Source: Employment Security Department; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Bureau of Economic Analysis; U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

In 2015, there were approximately 9,933 jobs covered by unemployment insurance, with a total payroll of over $360.6 million.

The 2015 average annual wage was $36,312, well below the state’s average annual wage of approximately $56,642.

Personal income

Personal income includes earned income, investment income, and government payments such as Social Security and Veterans Benefits. Investment income includes income imputed from pension funds and from owning a home. Per capita personal income equals total personal income divided by the resident population.

In 2014, the per capita personal income in Stevens County was $33,088 and ranked 37th among Washington counties.

According to the U.S. Census QuickFacts, the county’s median household income was $42,111 in the period 2010 through 2014. The county’s median was less than the state’s ($60,294).

Over the period 2010-2014, 19.3 percent of the population was living below the poverty level, higher than the state at 12.2 percent.



(Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Office of Financial Management )

Stevens County’s population was 43,791 in 2015, with 78 percent of the residents living in unincorporated areas. The population was flat from 2010 to 2015, compared to the state’s growth rate of 6.6 percent. The largest city in Stevens County is Colville (4,705 in 2015).

Population facts

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

Stevens County Washington state
Population 2015 43,791 7,170,351
Population 2010 43,531 6,724,543
Percent change, 2010 to 2015 0.6% 6.6%

Age, gender and ethnicity

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

Proportionately, more of Stevens County’s population was 65 years and older compared with the state.

Stevens County showed much less diversity in 2015 than the state in all racial/ethnic categories except American Indians and Alaska Natives.


(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

Stevens County Washington state
Population by age, 2015
Under 5 years old 5.2% 6.2%
19 and under 22.0% 22.5%
65 years and older 21.5% 14.4%
Females, 2015 50.0% 50.0%
Race/ethnicity, 2015
White 89.4% 80.3%
Black 0.6% 4.1%
American Indian, Alaskan Native 5.8% 1.9%
Asian, Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander 0.9% 9.1%
Hispanic or Latino, any race 3.5% 12.4%

Educational attainment

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

Most of Stevens County residents age 25 and older (90.9 percent) were high school graduates, which compares favorably with that of the state (90.2 percent) over the period 2010 through 2014.

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher made up 17.6 percent of Stevens County residents age 25 and older compared to 32.3 percent of state residents.