Home to Yellowstone National Park, and with the state capital city of Boise set at the very foothills of the rocky mountains, the gem state of Idaho offers a fairly adventurous and eventful life, with a breathtaking view.
Home to a rugged landscape, with mountain ranges, arid plains, grass valleys and fertile lowlands, Idaho has a population that is steadily growing every year. If you are looking to join in and be part of the new population in the state, then read our guide on moving to Idaho to find out all you need to know about the gem state before you make the move.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Idaho?
It is called the gem state due to its natural resources which has led to the state producing more than 240 different types of minerals. But the residents would argue that the true gem is the awe inspiring landscape. One of the state’s most famous attractions, the Shoshone Falls is taller than the Niagara Falls at 212 feet. One of the other attractions in the state are the hot springs, which are perfect for the winter time.
The state is literally one of the best places in the U.S to stargaze. It is not uncommon for folkes to pitch a tent and get cozy under the gems in the sky. This is also a good time to mention that the people of the state love the outdoors, from camping, hunting, river rafting, fishing, and outdoor festivities. Even during the harsh winters, they find reasons to step out and enjoy the outdoors.
The state economy did thrive on mining natural resources but shifted to agriculture at the start of the 21st century. And the produce that secured their economy? The humble potato. The state’s economy thrives on potatoes, so do not be surprised to see them everywhere. You will literally see trains hauling potatoes throughout the state.
Crime Rate In Idaho
The crime rate is relatively low in Idaho compared to the rest of the nation. The residents of the state also make sure to protect their property and themselves from criminals. The violent crime rate in the state is 2.2 incidents per 1000 people. What this means is that there is only a 1 in 447 chance for you to be a victim of violent crime.
The property crime also follows after the violent crime with low numbers compared to the national average. The rate of property crime in the state is 12.2 incidents per 1000 people, meaning that you have a 1 in 82 chance of being a victim of property crime.
Idaho has a diverse climate, with the western regions enjoying a more maritime climate influenced by the pacific ocean. Most of the state, especially in the western and central regions have a more continental climate. The state can also be wet, with annual precipitation ranging from 10” in the arid southwest regions and central plains, to 50” at higher elevations.
Spring in Idaho begins in the cold, from March all through to May. The state receives snow in the northern regions, so the skiing season is still in full swing. Temperatures throughout the season range from 41°F in the start to more comfortable 67°F and sometimes 77°F. In the earlier month of March, the temperatures can at times drop to the freezing with the lowest being around 10°F.
The month of April is when you start to see spring truly come alive with the ice melting into rivers and lakes and animals coming out of hibernation. This is a boon for both the fishing and hunting enthusiasts as they both have plenty of game to choose from.
The month of May, brings to the end of spring with flood from the melting snow and thunderstorms, especially in the northern regions. This is also the wettest month of the season.
The months of June to August see days of sunshine and warmth with the arrival of the summer season, with June having the longest days of the year and July being the hottest month of the year.
Temperatures vary from 69°F to 95°F with sweatshirt shorts being the fashion trend. Lakes and rivers see an influx of locals tourists as people look to beat the summer heat. The abundance of rainbow trout in these water bodies during this season keeps the fishermen happy too. The early mornings are also the perfect time to hike and step out into the wilderness.
Though the season requires sweatshirts, layered clothing is suggested for the nights as the temperatures can drop as low as 33°F at some times.
The beautiful season of Autumn comes to the state with the month of September and stays all through to the end of November. Throughout the season, the temperatures drop with highs ranging from 69°F to 83°F at the start of the season to lows of 11°F to 53°F towards the end in November.
The season truly comes alive in October, painting the state in beautiful shades of orange and yellow. The hunting and harvest season both hit their stride during this month and the cozy temperatures make it for a light jacket wearing weather.
The last month of the season brings with it unpredictable weather, from some days being summer and comfortable to others edging towards chilly and frosty. It is a great time for animal sightings and scenic road trips on the more scenic routes.
December brings with it the first frost with the arrival of the winter season. The bitter cold temperatures range from -2°F to 28°F in the early days and during the peak month of January to a more bearable 33°F to 50°F in the later days of February.
January is the snowiest month of the season with the state seeing barey 4 hours of sunshine a day. But there is a bright side to this freezing climate. The landscape turns a serene white with the snow and the mountainous regions turning into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.
This season also gives you reasons to visit the hot springs and warm yourself up in a unique way that you can not experience in most states. The season ends in February with the temperatures becoming more favourable and with the recreational activities like ice fishing and sledging. Even so, the month does see a few snowstorms, so keep an eye out for that.
Is It Expensive To Live In Idaho?
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the median household income in the state of Idaho is $55,785. This income is lower than the national average household income of $66,039.
Taxes also play a major part when you want to know if a place is expensive. According to taxfoundation.org, the state sales tax rate in the state is 6.0% while the average local sales tax rate is 0.03%. This brings your total combined state and local sales tax rate to 6.03%. Idaho also has a property tax rate of 0.75%
Cost Of Living In Idaho
The state of Idaho enjoys a cost of living that is lower than the national average. This is largely due to the below average taxes, cost of housing and utilities.
To better understand this, we’re sharing below the cost of living index of Idaho. Do keep in mind that the national average is always set at 100. Overall, Idaho has a cost of living index of 92.3 Here’s the breakdown:
- Grocery: 167.7
- Housing: 90.7
- Utility: 82.6
- Transportation: 103.4
But that is not all that factors into your costs. The other major aspect of costs is healthcare. Health insurance plans do vary, however, according to valuepenguin, on average a resident of the state can expect to pay around $477 a month on health insurance.
Buying A House
As per zillow, the average price for a home in Idaho is approximately $378,274. They estimate that this is 25.0% over the last year. Its best to keep in mind that this value is just an estimate and prices can vary drastically from region to region
Renting A House
Homesnacks estimates that the average rent for the average 1,447 sq ft apartment in the state, would be around $1,400. This is about 15.2% cheaper than the national average of $1,650. They also estimate that a 1-bedroom apartment will cost approximately $930 in rent while a 2-bedroom will cost $1,010
But your monthly expenditure won’t just end with the rent. You also have to look into the utility bills that you have to pay. According to move.org, Idaho is 3rd on their list of states with the cheapest utilities. But let’s calculate the cost and compare it to the national average of $370.16 a month.
They estimate that you would have to pay an average of $93.83 a month for electricity, $70.93 a month for water and $40.17 a month for gas. Add to that other miscellaneous expenditures and your total comes to $313.08 which is much lower than the national average we mentioned above
Idaho Employment Opportunities
Idaho has a good economy and recently it has ranked number one in 2021 U.S. News Best States rankings for economic growth. U.S. News ranked Idaho 3rd for its economy on their ‘Best States Rankings’ list.
According to the U.S Bureau Of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the state was 3.2% in March 2021, which is lower than the 4.8 in October of the previous year. The minimum wage in the state is $7.25 which is the same as the federal minimum wage in the country.
Some of the major industries in the state are agriculture, lumbar and wood products, paper products, machinery, tourism and mining. The state produces a third of the nation’s potato crop and it’s not surprising that this contributes to Idaho’s main source of agricultural income.
One of the largest growing sectors in the state’s economy is the science and technology field, mainly led by Micron Technology. They also happen to be one of the largest employers in the state. The science and technology sector contributes to almost 25% of the state revenue and has opened avenues for many job opportunities in the field. Aerospace and advanced manufacturing are some of the other key growing industries in the state
When it comes to education, Idaho is not the best in the country. Although the state is home to quite a few acclaimed universities and public schools, www.usnews.com, in a report, ranked Idaho 29th in the country for education in 2019. Many other surveys and reports also reflect this ranking. This by no means states that Idaho has a bad education system. One could say it has a decent or average education system when compared to other states.
Another fact that’s not as savoury is the state having a graduation rate of 82.1% which is below the national average of 88%. Although, overall it’s not as bad a graduation rate.
As per Private School Review, If you were to send your children to a private school in the state, the average fees per year would be around $8,221. The average elementary school is approximately $9,638 and the average high school would cost you an estimated $6,897 per year. The average tuition fees for a college in Idaho for an Idaho resident is roughly $5,684 and $15,074 for students from other states. This is definitely lower than the national average for the same, which are $6,540 and $17,871 respectively.
Getting Around Idaho
The public transit system in Idaho is seriously lacking. If you happen to live in some of the major cities in the state like Boise, you can make use of the meagre public transportation system in place.
Like we mentioned, Idaho is not exactly at the forefront of public transportation. Big cities like Boise, have a local bus system that takes people around the city center, but this is specific to the city.
The 2 main bus companies that operate within the state are Jefferson Lines and Amtrak Thruway. Jefferson Lines runs a route between two cities and towns within the state and the latter does not run any intercity specific routes, but runs routes to and from cities in Idaho to other states.
An average ticket could cost you around $207. The most expensive ticket is around $340 while the cheapest ticket available is roughly $17.00.
There is literally only one passenger commuter train available in the gem state of Idaho. That train is Amtrak’s Empire Builder which runs a route that heads to Chicago, Portland and Seattle and stops at only one station in the state, Sandpoint station.
Most of the other trains you will see around the state hail agricultural products and supplies all over the state.
Idaho has a total of 6 passenger service airports in the state. Out of these, Boise Air Terminal, is the only international airport in the state. The other remaining 5 airports are listed below.
- Idaho Falls Regional
- Friedman Memorial
- Lewiston-Nez Perce County
- Joslin Field – Magic Valley Regional
- Pocatello Regional
Taxi And Cab Travel
The story is the same with the cabs and the taxi situation in Idaho. The major cities like Boise have taxi and cab companies like the Boise City Taxi and Sun Valley’s A-1 Taxi which are operational 24/7. In some of the smaller cities there are taxis available, though not 24/7. It goes without saying that the major cities also have Uber and Lyft available 24/7
Traveling by road is the transport of choice for most of the residents. The large networks of roadways and highways help with this, and really, you don’t have much of an option considering the absence of a decent public transit system.
The state has 7 major highways:
- I-15 which travels from north to south in the eastern region of the state.
- I-84 which runs from the western regions, through the city of Boise, to the southern regions.
- I-86 which connects with I-84 near Pocatello.
- I-90 in the northern regions runs from the east to the west of the state between the borders.
- I-184 which is a short feeder highway I-84 with downtown Boise.
All in all if you are not residing in the major cities, you may need a car to travel.
Best Cities To Live In Idaho
If you are looking to move to Idaho, obviously you would want to settle down in the best place possible. So we have listed below, in no specific order, what we believe to be the best cities in Idaho.
The home to Idaho University, the city of Moscow has a vibrant and diverse community thanks to the college town vibe. The city is rather small but is considered the best place to live in the state by many. Even beating many of the major cities.
The town has a very vibrant outgoing culture with many scenic locations and restaurants and shops. The schools are arguably the best in the state and the streets are safe. The property and housing value is one of the highest in the state, but is considered well worth it when you look at all the amenities the city provides. But the fact that the rent is really cheap in the city means that nearly 60% of its residents rent.
Outdoor living, its 17 parks, numerous sporting events, and family friendly activities are all reasons that this city is one of the best cities in the state to raise a family.
- Population: 40,666
- Median home value: $363,994
- Average market rent: $600
Often referred to as a city that is built for business and designed for living, Meridian is a city coveted by many.
East of the bustling city of Boise, Meridian gives you that perfect balance of family friendly with urban amenities, making it ideal for you to raise a family or settle down. It boasts great schools and job opportunities for youngsters. The added benefit of commuter routes to the larger nearby city of Boise, make the job market even more accessible for people in Meridian.
But, being one of the most coveted cities in the state, the value of homes in the state is also one of the highest. Interestingly, this does not stop people from moving there as the rent is also fairly reasonable. The city also offers many opportunities for recreation both for families and new young residents.
- Population: 129,555
- Median home value: $483,751
- Average market rent: $985
Also See: 10 Fastest Growing Cities In US
The population in Eagle is lower than the other cities in our list. There is a good reason for that. Living in eagle is expensive. Even the rent in the city is fairly high compared to other locations in the state. But with that expensive price tag, also come extremely safe streets and amazing schools
Eagle also enjoys a relatively mild climate with regards to the rest of the state. This makes it ideal for the numerous outdoor activities that the small city provides. You Can go white water kayaking, flyfishing and hike and bike around the entire city.
its proximity to other big cities and towns like Boise and Meridian, make it easy to dive into the job market. And quite honestly, you do need a well paying job to sustain life in Eagle.
- Population: 34,470
- Median home value: $740,558
- Average market rent: $1,441
Is Idaho A Good Place To Live?
If you are looking to move to a location with a great economy, a great growing job market, with an adequate schooling system and a killer view, then Idaho is a good place to live.
The state does lack in the public transportation department, so owning your own vehicle is a boon. The winters in the state are also pretty harsh so if you are moving from a state with bearable winters, do make sure to pack extra clothing.
Though it is more expensive, it is better to settle down in the neighbourhoods and cities that are in close proximity to the larger cities like Boise. This would give you the best balance of an urban life with city amenities, giving you the opportunity to live in friendly and safe neighbourhoods, while having a job in the metropolitan hub of the city.
Frequently Asked Questions about Moving to Idaho
What is a good salary in Idaho?
Salary ranges vary from $18,842 – 125K, with most employees earning around 45-$68k annually. The top earner makes 82K, and 90% makes less than that!
What is the most common job in Idaho?
Truck drivers are Idaho’s most common profession, according to a Planet Money report from NPR.
Is Idaho racially diverse?
The demographics of Idaho are changing, but it still remains one of the country’s least diverse states. During this period, there has been a significant increase in the Hispanic or Latino population and an equally notable rise among multi-racial people who make up 4% now compared to 1.7%.
Is it cheaper to live in Idaho or Montana?
That is a tough decision. The cost of living here is on par with one another, but there’s one area where you’ll see your expenses increase: housing costs! It averages about 14% more for houses and condos/apartments than states like Montana.
Is it cheaper to live in Idaho or Arizona?
Boise, Idaho, is about 10% cheaper than Phoenix, Arizona.
Why are so many moving to Idaho?
Some people are moving to the sunny state of Idaho for a new life with the less hustle and bustle. The high cost, traffic woes, and tax laws all add up, eventually making it difficult not just for you but those around as well!
What is the prettiest city in Idaho?
The most beautiful city in Idaho is Sandpoint. Once named America’s Most Beautiful Town by Forbes magazine and set on 43-mile long Land Pend Oreille surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains, this small town makes it easy for tourists from all over to visit this gorgeous destination.
Are taxes high in Idaho?
Tax rates range from 1% to 6.5%, with an individual income tax that’s graduated according to the number of your earnings and filing status. The higher one makes, the more they pay at this state level because it has some of America’s most punitive tax laws for those who earn significant incomes!
Are property taxes high in Idaho?
Property taxes in Idaho can be a heavy burden, and the counties rank high compared to other states. The average effective property tax rate is 0.93%, making this state one of those with some of the highest rates across America! Property owners pay $1 680 per year on median assets; however, they may only receive about half that amount back through government services rendered from these resources.
How long do I have to live in Idaho to be a resident?
A resident is defined as someone who has been domiciled in Idaho with a genuine intention of making it their permanent home for at least six months before applying for any license, tag, or permit.
Is Idaho retiree-friendly?
Idaho is a tax-friendly location for retirees, and Social Security payments are not taxed, and retirement plan income is subject to total taxation. Wages are taxed at ordinary rates, and your marginal state rate is 5.90 percent.
What is the warmest town in Idaho?
Bruneau, Idaho, a small town with a population of a thousand people, is known for being the warmest town in Idaho, with an average of 68 degrees.
See Also: Top-rated Out of State Moving Companies