Yakima, Washington

From Academic Kids

Yakima is a city in central Washington and the county seat of Yakima County. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 71,845. Yakima is situated in the Yakima Valley, which is noted for being one of the best apple-producing areas in the world, as well as a prime location for the production of hops. The name originates from the Yakama Native American tribe. The Yakama Indian Reservation is located to the south and southeast of the city of Yakima.

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Yakima, Washington as seen from the southwest.


The Yakama people were the first inhabitants of the Yakima Valley. In 1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition came to the valley and discovered abundant wildlife and rich soil, prompting the settlement of homesteaders. A Catholic Mission was established in Ahtanum, southeast of present-day Yakima, in 1847. The arrival of settlers and their conflicts with the natives resulted in the Yakama Indian War of 1855. The U.S. Army established Fort Simcoe in 1886 near present-day Toppenish as a response to the uprising. The Yakamas were defeated and forced onto the Yakama Indian Reservation.

Yakima County was created in 1865. North Yakima was officially incorporated and named the county seat on January 27, 1886. The name was changed to Yakima in 1918.


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Location of Yakima, Washington

Yakima is located at 46°35'48" North, 120°31'47" West (46.596728, -120.529657)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 53.4 km² (20.6 mi²). 52.1 km² (20.1 mi²) of it is land and 1.2 km² (0.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.33% water.

The Yakima Region

Cities surrounding Yakima include Selah, White Swan, Moxee City, Cowiche, Wiley City, Ahtanum, Wapato and Toppenish. Two unincorporated areas, West Valley and Terrace Heights, are sometimes unofficially considered part of Yakima and rely on many city services, despite not having yet been officially annexed. The population of the Yakima metropolitan area according to the Census Bureau 2004 estimate is 229,094.

Bodies of Water

The primary irrigation source for the Yakima Valley, The Yakima River runs through Yakima from its source at Lake Keechelus in the Cascade Range to the Columbia River at Richland. In Yakima, the river is used for both fishing and recreation. A 10-mile walking and cycling trail, a park, and a wildlife sanctuary are all found at the river's edge.

The Naches River forms the northern border of the city. Several small lakes flank the northern edge of the city, including Myron Lake and Lake Aspen. These lakes are popular with swimmers during Yakima's hot summers.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 71,845 people, 26,498 households, and 16,826 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,378.0/km² (3,569.9/mi²). There are 28,643 housing units at an average density of 549.4/km² (1,423.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 68.77% White, 1.99% African American, 2.00% Native American, 1.20% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 21.97% from other races, and 3.92% from two or more races. 33.70% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 26,498 households out of which 34.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.2% are married couples living together, 14.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% are non-families. 30.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.63 and the average family size is 3.29.

In the city the population is spread out with 29.4% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $29,475, and the median income for a family is $34,798. Males have a median income of $29,647 versus $23,629 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,920. 22.4% of the population and 17.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 32.3% of those under the age of 18 and 12.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Yakima is home to the Yakima Bears baseball team of the short season class A Northwest League, and the Yakima Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association.


Roads and Highways

Interstate 82 is the primary way of reaching Yakima, but U.S. Highway 12 uses the city as a terminus. U.S. Highway 97 joins I-82 at Yakima for approximately 40 miles. Washington State Route 24 terminates at Yakima and is the primary means of reaching Moxee City and many of the area's agricultural areas. Washington State Route 821 terminates at Yakima and is also called Canyon Road because it passes through the Yakima River canyon. It is an alternate route to Ellensburg which bypasses the I-82 summit at Manastash Ridge.


Yakima's airport, McAllister Field, operates commercial air flights via Horizon Airlines to Seattle. Numerous private aircraft call the Yakima Airport home and several freight companies operate out of the airport.


Yakima's growth in the 20th century was fueled primarily by agriculture. The Yakima Valley produces many fruit crops, including apples, peaches, pears, cherries and melons. Many vegetables are also produced, including peppers, corn and beans. Many of the city's residents have come to the Valley out of economic necessity and to participate in the picking, processing, marketing and support services for the agricultural economy. While jobs in agriculture have decreased, the population growth has continued, increasing unemployment, crime, and poverty. Social services have not kept pace with demand, forcing down quality of life for the city's poorest residents. While city officials have attempted to lure new businesses to Yakima, they have largely failed to do so.

The abandonment by retailers and other businesses of Yakima's downtown core is symbolic of the city's overall economic downturn. In the last five years, three major department stores and an entire shopping mall have closed for business. While several theories to "revitalize" the city's downtown have been put forth by civic leaders, none has proven effective. The retail core of the city has now shifted to the city of Union Gap, where a renovated shopping mall and other new retail businesses are flourishing.

A bright spot in the economy of the Yakima Valley is the burgeoning wine industry. Over 40 wineries dot the Yakima Valley, covering more than 11,000 acres. Yakima is home to several wine-related events each year which draw wine enthusiasts from all over the Pacific Northwest and the world.

Interesting facts

Approaching the city from the west on Interstate 82, there is a sign that reads "Welcome to Yakima: The Palm Springs of Washington". While this is not an official city slogan and the sign is privately-owned, the sign has been known to cause both laughter and embarrassment among area residents.

Famous Yakima natives

Common Yakima nicknames

  • Yakicrack
  • Yakivegas
  • Crackima
  • Yaktown
  • Palm Springs of Washington
  • Yakeema (most common mispronunciation

External links


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