Chelan-Douglas Trends Blog

Did you know there are over 175 different community indicators on Chelan-Douglas Trends - each updated throughout the year? But which ones, and when?

This issue of the Chelan-Douglas Trends blog lists the most recently updated indicators on the Chelan-Douglas Trends website.  

This page will be updated and email alerts sent on a quarterly basis. Don't miss an update - subscribe today!

Recent Updates


​0.1.2 Median Age of the Population

By this measure, Benton & Chelan Counties are the oldest of all Eastern Washington metros. Median measures the value of the “middle” person within an entire population. The local median age is pushed up by non-Hispanic Whites and lowered by the largest group of color – Hispanic/Latinos.

​​0.3.6 Total & Share of Households with Broadband Access

The internet, and more specifically broadband, contributes significantly to the quality of 21st century infrastructure in a community. Without fast internet connections, commerce slows down and may inhibit companies from locating in an area. Thankfully, the two counties boast a broadband penetration rate of 79%, just slightly below the estimated Washington state value of 81%. This is much higher penetration than 7 years ago (66%). 

0.4.2 Share of Registered Voters Voting in November Elections

Call it the water, or more likely a set of many factors last November. But the turn-out for local elections in 2023 reached the lowest point on record. The share of registered voters who actually voted was no more than 29%. This turn-out was considerably lower than the average state rate of 36% and far below the rates of 64% at the turn of the century (1999). 


2.2.7 Metro Area Regional Price Parity (Cost of Living Index)

Although no Consumer Price Index is tallied for any community in eastern Washington, economists at the U.S. Department of Commerce produce a relative measure for all 384 metro areas in the country. With the all-U.S. metro average set to 100, one can see whether local costs are higher than the average (and other metros) for any given year. For 2022, the most recent year for which data are available, the price parity ratio in the greater Wenatchee area was 103.2. In other words, about 3% above the U.S. metro average.

2.3.1 Total Number of Employed Persons & Unemployment Rate

While the unemployment rate is usually the headline number, it is also important to pay attention to the number of residents employed. This report provides a good barometer of the health of the local labor market, and therefore the economy. For the two counties, the 2023 average was 63,300. The number of employed has stayed largely the same for three years now and is still less than the 2019 peak of 65,230.

2.3.6 Total Civilian Labor Force & Labor Force Participation Rate of Population Ages 16+

The size of the labor force is the sum of the number of people employed plus the number of people unemployed and seeking work. (Drop outs from the labor force don’t count.) As such, it gives an idea of the capacity of the economy to expand. By this measure, too, the regional economy has not bounced back from the pre-pandemic peak. At 66,200, the numbers are about 2,000 lower than 2019.


3.3.2 Share of the Population Ages 25+ with at Least Some College or an Associate's Degree

One does not need to attend a 4-year institution to land a promising career. Often an Associates degree will do, and sometimes, simply some training at a community college suffices. By this measure, the two counties outperform. For 2022, about 32% adult residents were estimated to have an AA or some community college experience – much higher than the U.S. average and a bit higher than the Washington average.


6.3.2 Housing Affordability Index for All Buyers

​The HAI is essentially a ratio of household income to household mortgage costs. The general, or “all-buyer,” index featured here creates the ratio for the household with a median income who purchases a home at the median price. Affordability assumes that the household doesn’t pay more than 25% of its income for shelter costs. The index value = 100 indicates that the household has just enough income to meet this criterion. If less than 100, then the market is unaffordable As the graph shows, single-family housing has become increasingly unaffordable for greater Wenatchee residents. The current value is 52.


8.1.1 Share of Commuters Using Alternate Modes of Transportation

There are many ways of getting to work besides driving one’s own vehicle (POV). This measure from the U.S. Census tracks give ways: carpooling, public transit, walking, biking and working from home. Since the pandemic, working from home (WFH) has supplanted carpooling as the area’s most popular alternative to the POV commute. The 2022 WFH estimate of 11% of all commuters is nearly twice as high as in 2019.


9.1.10 Share of Hispanic Students Who Attend Two-Year of Four-Year Higher Education Institutions in the 1st-Year After High School Graduation

Nearly everyone agrees that one’s education or training doesn’t end at high school. Entering a trade or attending a 2- or 4-year institution is necessary to acquire the necessary skills to be a productive worker and one that can earn a living wage. This general measure tracks the status of a graduating class of high school one year after graduation and is expressed as a share of the number of all graduates. The specific measure follows the share of the area’s largest student of color group – Hispanic/Latinos. For the most recent class, one half had gone beyond high school – lower than a few years ago but higher than the average of Hispanic/Latinos statewide.

Updated 3.27.2024

The complete list of Chelan-Douglas Trends can be found here.