The Inland Empire is a region in the Pacific Northwest centered on Spokane, Washington, including much of the surrounding Columbia River basin. It extends into northern Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and far northwestern Montana. It is sometimes referred to as the Inland Northwest.
Included in the region are the counties of:Washington: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and YakimaIdaho: Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, and ShoshoneOregon: Umatilla, Union, and WallowaMontana: Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, and Sanders
An early reference to the Inland Empire was printed in the first edition of the Spokane Falls Review, a predecessor of today's Spokesman-Review, on May 19, 1883: "It is not to be wondered that Spokane Falls booms, nor that it bids fair, and is bound to be the chief metropolis not only of eastern Washington, but of that vast extent of territory, now being rapidly peopled, known and suggestively spoken of as the 'Inland Empire,' an immense region of unlimited resources and possibilities that will in later years give subsistence and support to millions of human beings."
According to the US Census Bureau, the estimated population as of 2004 was 1,913,682 making it, in population, comparable to New Mexico. Its Canadian counterpart, north of the border, is the British Columbia Interior.