The fifth annual Idaho Public Policy Survey was released recently, and it had some interesting insights from Idaho residents. Of the 1,000 people who were surveyed, nearly 20% believed growth was the most important issue facing the Gem State today. Education, economy/jobs, affordable housing and health care rounded out the top five issues.
Interestingly, in the previous year’s survey, the top issue was education followed by the economy, healthcare, growth, and transportation issues. What’s especially telling, is that growth, which was fourth on the list in last year’s survey, jumped up nearly 115% to the top spot this year. This certainly illustrates what many have been seeing in the state, especially here in the Treasure Valley, with the bustling housing market and increases in home values across the region.
“Given the current importance of growth in Idaho, we turn to perceptions about how fast the state is growing”
“Given the current importance of growth in Idaho, we turn to perceptions about how fast the state is growing,” said Jeffrey Lyons, the Director of Survey Research, Idaho Policy Institute, and the report’s author.
For the first time in its history, the survey asked people if they thought the state of Idaho is growing too fast, too slow, or about right. Nearly 57% of those surveyed said the state is growing too fast with about 35% saying the state is growing at about the right pace.
And for those who are curious, the survey asked people if they were native Idahoans or not. If they weren’t, they were then asked what state they moved from. Not surprisingly, California accounted for 27% of those who moved to the Gem State. Washington, Utah, Oregon, and Nevada rounded out the top five.
In terms of what issues the State Legislature needs to address, for the last three years, those surveyed agreed that Education is the most important issue facing the state’s representatives, with nearly two-thirds indicating the education quality in the state is less than good. This year’s report indicated that these views have stayed consistent in previous reports, suggesting stable perceptions of the quality of education. The report did indicate that perceptions about the respondents’ home school districts were genuinely higher than looking at the education system on a statewide level.
One last note, last year, nearly 60% of the respondents said the state was on the right track while this year that sentiment is down just over 6%. Still, the majority believes the state is heading in the right direction.