Adams County, Washington
Map of Washington highlighting Adams County
Location in the state of Washington (state)
Map of USA WA
Washington's location in the U.S.
Founded November 28, 1883
Seat Ritzville
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,930 sq mi (4,999 km²)
1,925 sq mi (4,986 km²)
5 sq mi (13 km²), 0.25%
 - (2010)
 - Density

10/sq mi (3.7/km²)

Adams County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. Its name is in honor of the second President of the United States, John Adams. As of 2010, the population is 18,728. The county seat is at Ritzville, and its largest city is Othello.

Adams County was formed out of Whitman County on November 28, 1883.[1]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,930 square miles (5,000 km2), of which 1,925 square miles (4,990 km2) is land and 5 square miles (13 km2) (0.25%) is water.

Major highways Edit

Adjacent counties Edit

National protected areasEdit


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1890 2,098
1900 4,840 130.7%
1910 10,920 125.6%
1920 9,623 −11.9%
1930 7,719 −19.8%
1940 6,209 −19.6%
1950 6,584 6.0%
1960 9,929 50.8%
1970 12,014 21.0%
1980 13,267 10.4%
1990 13,603 2.5%
2000 16,428 20.8%
2010 18,728 14.0%

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 16,428 people, 5,229 households, and 4,094 families residing in the county. The population density was 8 people per square mile (3/km²). There were 5,773 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 64.96% White, 0.28% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 30.69% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. 16.3% were of German, 6.2% United States or American and 5.6% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 57.0% spoke English, 41.7% Spanish and 1.2% German as their first language.

There were 5,229 households out of which 44.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.50% were married couples living together, 10.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.70% were non-families. 18.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.09 and the average family size was 3.52.

In the county, the population was spread out with 34.20% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 19.40% from 45 to 64, and 10.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 104.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,888, and the median income for a family was $37,075. Males had a median income of $28,740 versus $21,597 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,534. About 13.60% of families and 18.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.00% of those under age 18 and 8.90% of those age 65 or over.

Politics Edit

Adams County is a historically Republican county. It was one of only three counties in the state to be won by Barry Goldwater in 1964. Along with Lincoln County it is the only county in Washington that has not been won by a Democratic candidate in last 48 years.[3] The last Democratic candidate to win the county was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.[4] The Republican candidate has won by more than 13% in every Presidential election since 1992 and George W. Bush won the county by over 40% both times he ran.[5]

In state elections the results are similarly Republican. In the last thirteen elections no Democratic candidate for governor has carried Adams County.[6] The last Democratic candidate for US Senate to win the county was Henry M. Jackson in 1982.[7]

In the 2008 elections John McCain received 66.32% of the county's vote. Meanwhite Republican nominee for governor Dino Rossi received 69.83% of the county's vote. They also gave Republican representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers 82.45% of their vote. In other results Republican Sam Reed received 74.6% of the county's vote in his run for re-election as Washington Secretary of State; Republican Allan Martin received 67.25% of the vote for state treasurer; and Republican Rob McKenna received 76.28% in his re-election run for Attorney general. All county positions, where party are mentioned, also went to the Republican.[8]


From Ritzville's designation as county seat in 1884 until 1892, courts were briefly held in rented space before the county purchased a building from N.H. Greene in 1885. In 1891 the commission bonded $20,000 in order to erect a permanent court house. The building was built by the Spokane firm of Burnham & Clapp and completed by August 20, 1891 when it was accepted by the county. It was a two story brick building with a four story tower and a stone basement. A two story addition was added to the front in 1905 with a new four story tower giving the courthouse a whole new appearance. This building was replaced by the current art-deco courthouse in 1941.

Census-recognized communities Edit

Other communities Edit

See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit

Amber Waves and Undertow -Peril, Hope, Sweat, and Downright Nonchalance in Dry Wheat Country- a book written by Steve Turner and published by the University of Oklahoma Press 2009 - ISBN 978-0-8061-4005-6

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 46°59′N 118°34′W / 46.99, -118.56

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