Why Idaho is Becoming the New Home for Many
In the last several years, Idaho has seen a significant surge in newcomers, many of whom hail from states like California, Washington, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. But what’s the appeal? Why are so many people trading the sun-soaked beaches of California or the majestic greenery of the Pacific Northwest for the Gem State? Before we explore the reasons behind the shift, let’s look at the most recent data on how many people have decided to leave their old life for the Idaho life!
According to a recent article in the Idaho Statesman with data collected by the Census Bureau and a 2022 American Community Survey, Idaho’s population in 2022 was 1,919,357, an increase of 87,949 from 2021.
Where are the people moving from?
1. California- 26,887
2. Washington- 14,387
3. Oregon- 8,410
4. Utah- 7,812
5. Arizona- 3,633
Arguably, one of the original primary driving factors behind this movement, sparked during the Covid era, is the affordability that Idaho offers. Although those local to Idaho have felt and still are feeling the squeeze of the drastic increase in the cost of living, cities like Boise stand in stark contrast to cities like San Francisco, Seattle, or Portland, where real estate prices and overall living expenses have made it challenging for many to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
While Idaho has a higher cost of living than the US average and property values continue to rise, it certainly beats out other Western states– still, themedian home prices are less than that of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. Other major cities in Idaho are less expensive than Boise, offering lower home prices across the state.
Natural Beauty and Outdoor Recreation
While states like California and Oregon boast impressive natural landscapes, Idaho is no slouch in this department. From the stunning Sawtooth National Recreation Area to the vast expanse of the Coeur d’Alene Lake, Idaho offers a plethora of outdoor activities. Hiking, skiing, fishing, mountain biking, and white-water rafting are just some recreational opportunities available. In the winter, residents of Idaho can ski and snowboard at one of Idaho’s many ski resorts.
Many people from more populated states seek a slower pace and less congestion. Idaho, with its wide-open spaces, ranked 3rd in the United States for public land, offers a reprieve from the bustling crowds of action-packed cities. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, skiing, or just the quiet of nature, you don’t have to drive far to experience the mountain air and the open sky.
Over the past decade, Idaho has seen significant growth in various sectors, including tech, healthcare, and agriculture. This economic boom has provided ample job opportunities, drawing individuals from neighboring states searching for better professional prospects.
Quality of Life
Idaho consistently ranks high for its quality of life. With excellent schools, a strong sense of community, and a focus on family values, many people find Idaho to be a wonderful place to raise a family. Nestled among a stunning landscape and breathtaking mountains, Idaho is the sweet spot of recreation, city convenience, and culture!
For many, especially those coming from high-tax states like Washington and California, Idaho’s tax structure can be appealing. In 2022, Idaho was ranked #37 at 6.02% in state and local tax rates, whereas Washington was ranked #4 at 9.29%. Idaho also offers competitive income, property, and sales tax rates, making it financially advantageous for many individuals and businesses.
Idaho offers a range of climates due to its varied topography. From the northern panhandle to the southern plains, the state experiences a dynamic range of conditions. In the north, the climate is heavily influenced by the Pacific Northwest’s moisture, resulting in cooler, wetter weather and a generous blanket of winter snow.
Central Idaho, with its high elevation and mountain barriers, offers a continental climate featuring sharp contrasts between summer and winter, where the thermometer can soar during the day and cool at night. The southern portion of the state often enjoys milder winters and hot, dry summers.
Eastern Idaho will typically bear the brunt of colder temperatures and more pronounced snowfall. Across the state, spring can be an unpredictable season, with temperatures varying from day to day. Idaho’s weather throughout the state is as diverse as the landscape, providing a climate for every preference!
Coming and Going
While the influx of residents relocating to Idaho may seem like an overwhelming number, the amount of people that are moving away from the Gem State is almost equally as high. In 2021, just over 70,000 people relocated to our neighboring states. But unlike a decade ago when the population of Idaho was decreasing, today, the overarching theme is clear– Idaho offers a blend of affordability, opportunity, and quality of life that many find irresistible. We don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.