Who’s Moving to Spokane?

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For those with shorter attention spans, I’ll start with the fun stuff first. For those with longer attention spans, I’ll tell you how I did it later.

Top 10 metros in the nation moving to Spokane:

  1. Seattle-Tacoma, WA
  2. Portland, OR
  3. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Denver, CO
  6. San Diego, CA
  7. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
  10. Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA

It appears the going local hypothesis about tech refugees relocating from west coast cities is proving itself correct. Manageable traffic, affordable homes, and plenty of urban amenities is a product that sure sounds nice when migrating from the top four metros on the above list.

Top 10 states moving to Spokane (that are not Washington):

  1. California
  2. Oregon
  3. Texas
  4. Colorado
  5. Idaho
  6. Arizona
  7. Florida
  8. Nevada
  9. Illinois
  10. Utah

Top 10 international cities moving to Spokane:

  1. Calgary, Canada
  2. Toronto, Canada
  3. Vancouver, Canada
  4. London, United Kingdom
  5. Sydney, Australia
  6. Montreal, Canada
  7. Cambridge, United Kingdom
  8. Bristol, United Kingdom
  9. Wiesbaden, Germany
  10. Okinawa, Japan

Top 10 nations in the world moving to Spokane (that are not the U.S.):

  1. Canada
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Germany
  4. Peru
  5. Mexico
  6. Australia
  7. India
  8. Philippines
  9. Japan
  10. New Zealand

Analytical Methods

SpokanePlanner has become quite the go-getter within the eyes of Google for numerous keyword phrases related to queries of those investigating Spokane for a potential move to the metro. For instance, the following search phrases produce SpokanePlanner pages that are either listed first on Google search results or within the top two or three, including:

  • “Moving to Spokane”
  • “Spokane Relocation Guide”
  • “Spokane’s Best Neighborhoods”
  • “Spokane Neighborhoods”

Obviously, ranking high within the eyes of search engines is important because it generates visitation traffic. At the risk of insulting your intelligence by even saying it, the higher Google ranks your page for any given search query, the more traffic your website will receive.

Natural visitation via search engine queries is called organic traffic. On average, SpokanePlanner receives roughly 200 organic visits per day due primarily to ranking high for the search phrases above. The results outlined above are the result of visitation data between August 10, 2017 to August 10, 2018 – a one year sample size.

By isolating visitation demographics for the below SpokanePlanner pages via Google Analytics, we can achieve a reliable perspective on where people are likely moving from as they relocate to Spokane or, at the least, where people live as they consider relocating to Spokane. The pages below serve as great proxies to analyze who, exactly, is interested in Spokane’s market:

By tinkering around with some custom settings in Google Analytics, we can pin-point the geographic location of visitors to specific pages, such as the three above, and we can also isolate other interesting characteristics beyond simple location data, such as:

Ninety-three percent of all the visitors represented in the lists above are working age between 18 and 64. The remaining 7% are above retirement age (65). Most visitors (44%) are between the ages of 18 to 34. Yep, millennials. Visitors are primarily interested in real estate, food, and entertainment, which suggests they are trying to get a sense of Spokane’s cultural amenities.

What does this all mean and why should we care?

An annual snap-shot of the markets interested in Spokane is a fascinating examination. I suspect wiser analytical minds than mine could dig deeper into the data provided by Google Analytics and produce far more interesting conclusions. Nevertheless, in the meantime, let’s conclude that the migration of younger, millennial tech refugees from big west coast cities is the engine that will spur Spokane’s growth into the foreseeable future.

Post Script:

Soon after this article was published, our friends at KREM 2 News did a story on it. It's a great video summary: Who's Moving to Spokane?

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