Are you mulling over moving to Idaho?

If you enjoy hunting or love lakes, rivers, boating, extreme sports, skiing and snowboarding, rock climbing, golfing, fishing, and the likes, moving to Idaho is right for you.

The state’s remarkable outdoor attractions and fun spots make it appealing to millennials, young families, retirees, and any individual.

Idaho is one of the safest states in the country with both property and crime rates ranking below average. In fact, Idaho is the safest state in the West. Moving to Idaho is perfect for you if safety is one of the key things you’re considering.

Famous for its potatoes, Idaho’s booming job market and vibrant economy is a magnet for various professionals.

Since you’re considering moving to Idaho, this guide contains all the information you need to make an informed decision. Let’s find out if moving to Idaho is right for you or not!


Idaho Demographics

A quick look at the population and other demographics of Idaho.

Male vs Female Population of Idaho 2021

Male vs Female Population by Age Groups in Idaho 2021

Population distribution by Ethnicity in Idaho 2021

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Quick Facts about Idaho

  • Violent and property crime rates in Idaho are lower than the U.S. average
  • Home affordability rate is high in Idaho
  • Idaho has a robust economy and a booming job market
  • Commuting time in Idaho is shorter than the U.S. average
  • More than 70% of Idaho residents are homeowners
  • Idaho’s average property tax rate is 0.63%

What’s the population of Idaho?

The population of Idaho is 1,860,120 people with a young and vibrant population. If you’re moving to Idaho, here’s a breakdown of the state’s population:

  • Idaho is the 14th largest state in the United States
  • Idaho is one of the most sparsely populated states
  • Idaho has around 19 people per square mile
  • The median age of the Gem state population is 36.4

How is the weather like in Idaho?

If the weather is one of the key metrics you’d like to consider before moving to Idaho, here’s a simple breakdown of the state’s weather. This will give you an idea of what to anticipate if you’re moving to Idaho:

  • Idaho averages 47 inches of snow per year
  • Idaho averages 18 inches of rainfall per year
  • January winter low in Idaho is around 17 degrees
  • Idaho’s summer high in July is around 85 degrees

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How fast can you commute in Idaho?

Idaho’s average one-way commute time is 20.6 minutes. The national average is 26.4 minutes. That means the average commuting time in Idaho is shorter than the United States average. Moving to Idaho will be perfect for you if you’re considering the shorter commuting time which means less stress and a longer lifespan.

Here’s a simple analysis of how Idahoans commute to work on average:

  • About 78.6% of Idahoans drive their own car alone
  • Up to 9.9% of Idahoan’s carpool with others
  • Around 5.9% of Idahoans work from home
  • About 0.7% of Idahoans take mass transit

Things to Know Before Moving to Idaho

Moving to Idaho is a great decision, considering the abundance of natural resources and scenic areas. However, it is not the resources and serene natural beauty that makes the Gem State special. Here are 10 things you need to know before moving to Idaho

  • The cost of living is affordable in Idaho
  • The state is highly tax-friendly
  • It is extremely safe to live here
  • You’ll have a shorter commuting time for work
  • The people are friendly here
  • Good quality food and water are available here
  • There is a lot to do outdoors
  • Summers see a lot of sunshine
  • Agriculture is huge in Idaho
  • Rafting is a part of Idaho culture

Why should you not move to Idaho?

Idaho is a good place to do farming but living there will give you a hard time. Here are the reasons you should not move to Idaho.

  • The winters are notorious in Idaho
  • The state is one of the least diverse in the US
  • Almost every second person in Idaho owns a firearm
  • Not just the winter, even summer is extreme
  • Rattlesnakes, scorpions, bats, and deadly spiders are all around
  • The housing market is getting costlier every day
  • Shopping opportunities are limited in Idaho
  • Public transportation is almost nil in Idaho

What should I know before moving to Idaho?

Idaho is rich in minerals and resources and hence it is called the ‘Gem State. However, Idahoans believe that the real gems in the state are the panoramic landscapes. Most people get it wrong when they talk about Idaho as they mistake the state for Boise, the largest city in the state. But Idaho is much more and you need to know the state well before packing the bags here

To help you, we’ve got 10 things you need to know before moving to Idaho, both good and bad.

  • Rafting is a craze in Idaho
  • The climate is extreme here, both summer and winter
  • The crime rate is too low in Idaho
  • There is a lot to do outdoors
  • Both the people and environment are friendly in Idaho
  • Agriculture is a major economic contributor
  • There are plenty of venomous reptiles and insects in the state
  • Half of the state’s population carries guns in Idaho
  • Potatoes are a big part of the state’s identity
  • Huckleberry is the state fruit of Idaho

Where should you not live in Idaho?

Just as every state in the US, Idaho has got places that are not suitable to settle down. We’ve listed out 10 places you need to avoid staying in Idaho for various reasons

  • Hailey
  • Middletown
  • Twin Falls
  • Sandpoint
  • Jerome
  • Blackfoot
  • Payette
  • Mountain Home
  • Nampa
  • Caldwell
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Top 10 reasons to move to Idaho

Why should you consider moving to Idaho? The Gem state is one of the most coveted states for several reasons. Here’s a top ten list of why people are moving to Idaho:

  • Low cost of living

    It is easier to enjoy a better standard of living in Idaho as the cost of living is extremely low in the state. Health, housing, utilities, education, and transportation costs are lower than the national average.

  • Fairly low housing costs

    Idaho’s housing cost is lower than the neighboring states. The median home cost is $263,900 but it is shooting up every year.

  • Booming job market

    Idaho has one of the robust economies in the US and this contributes to the booming job market. The unemployment rate in Idaho is much lower than the national average which means your chance of grabbing one is much higher in Idaho.

  • Idahoans are friendly people

    Idahoans are warm and welcoming. Do not be too surprised if a total stranger starts a conversation with you while you are waiting in line. Also, don’t get tired of waving back or wishing your neighbor a good day.

  • You’ll enjoy all four seasons in Idaho

    Idaho experiences all 4 seasons. The summers are warm and mild, with occasional afternoon rainstorms, especially in the mountains. The winters bring snow in the higher elevations, along with cold temperatures. Spring experiences heavy winds and occasional avalanches, while fall brings temperate weather and changing leaves.

  • Strong economy

    Idaho is one of the richest states and its economy continues to boom fuelling more job opportunities. Important industries in Idaho are food processing, lumber and wood products, machinery, chemical products, paper products, electronics manufacturing, silver, and other mining, and tourism.

  • Low crime rate

    Idaho records one of the lowest crime rates in the US and it is further dropping. About 74% of the residents feel safe in the state. Violent crimes are extremely low in certain parts and there are areas where violent crime rates are almost nil.

  • Shorter commuting time

    One of the best things about Idaho is the low traffic and better connectivity that ensures you spend less time on road diving.

  • It’s an outdoor enthusiast haven

    For every outdoor enthusiast, the Gem State needs to be on the bucket list. Hidden surprises, dramatic views, and thrilling adventures – Idaho has got everything to excite you.

    Here are just a few options to enjoy in Idaho.

    • Sun Valley Resort
    • Craters of the Moon National Monument
    • Sawtooth National Recreation Area
    • Lake Coeur d'Alene
    • Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area
    • Shoshone Falls
    • Boise River Greenbelt
    • Salmon River
    • City of Rocks National Reserve
    • Bruneau Dunes State Park
  • Idaho is a traffic-free state

    Idaho reports low traffic and the roads are mostly free, making it easy to drive. Commuting to the office and back even during peak hours is comparatively easier in Idaho’s big cities.

Pros and Cons of living in Idaho

To have a balanced view about moving to Idaho, we’ve made a list of the key pros and cons of living in the Gem State.

This will give you an idea of what to look forward to if you’re moving to Idaho:

Pros of living in Idaho
  • Homes are fairly affordable in Idaho
  • Idaho has a booming job market
  • Idaho has a below-average property crime rate
  • Idaho has a below-average violent crime rate
  • Cities in Idaho make an effort to be clean and organized
  • Idaho residents are friendly people
  • There are tons of exciting outdoor activities in Idaho
  • You’ll enjoy all four seasons in a year in Idaho
  • Country music is a way of life in Idaho
  • It’s easy to access major services in Idaho
  • If you love sports, you’ll enjoy living in Idaho
Cons of living in Idaho
  • Idaho residents are known for living a solitary lifestyle
  • Idaho’s population is growing very fast
  • Winters can be really harsh in Idaho
  • There is no functioning public transport system in Idaho
  • You’ll have to put up with cultural concentration in Idaho
  • Housing markets are gradually becoming expensive in Idaho
  • Idaho only has a few shopping options
  • The state is a politically concentrated state
  • You’ll have to put up with the gun laws in Idaho
  • Idaho only has a few options for luxury shopping

Best Places to Live in Idaho

Idaho is home to many beautiful livable cities, towns, ad neighborhoods.

Knowing where to start house hunting in the gem state may seem tricky. We’ve made a list of the ten best places to live in the state if you’re moving to Idaho. Check them out below:

Rank City Population Median Home Value Unemployment Rate
1 Eagle 26,514 2.0% $426,000
2 Meridian 101,905 3.7% $274,900
3 Star 9,115 1.9% $283,100
4 Moscow 25,319 5.1% $229,900
5 Ammon 15,859 3.1% $199,400
6 Rexburg 28,414 7.0% $211,700
7 Lewiston 32,664 3.3% $189,400
8 Kuna 19,580 3.4% $207,700
9 Hayden 14,698 4.2% $256,100
10 Chubbuck 14,995 4.6% $176,300

Idaho Cities Moving Guides

Cost of Living in Idaho

The cost of living in Idaho is 97.7. The national average is 100. That means the average cost of living in Idaho is lower than the United States average.

This makes Idaho suitable for people of all ages including young families, millennials, singles, and retirees.

Here’s a simple breakdown of the cost of living in the state if you’re moving to Idaho:

Cost of living Idaho United States
Overall 97.7 100
Grocery 94.4 100
Health 95.1 100
Housing 114.1 100
Median Home Cost $263,900 $231,200
Utilities 89.3 100
Transportation 81.6 100
Miscellaneous 95.3 100
The national average is 100.

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Idaho’s housing market

Renting or buying a home are both good housing options if you’re moving to Idaho. Here’s a simple breakdown of key metrics in the state housing market:

  • Idaho’s median home cost is $263,900
  • Homes in Idaho has appreciated by 37.6% in the last ten years
  • Currently, home Idaho home appreciation has risen by 14.0%

Average home rental cost in Idaho

Renting a home can be a good housing option if you’re moving to Idaho. Up to 26.7% of the state’s population are renters and about 1.5% of homes and apartments in the Gem state are available to rent. Here’s the average home rental cost in the state if you’re moving to Idaho:

  • The average cost of a studio apartment in Idaho is $542
  • The average cost of a 1-bedroom home or apartment in Idaho is $626
  • The average cost of a 2-bedroom home or apartment in Idaho is $802
  • The average cost of a 3-bedroom home or apartment in Idaho is $1,129
  • The average cost of a 4-bedroom home or apartment in Idaho is $1,138

Median House Price in Idaho vs USA 2021

Median Rent Price in Idaho vs USA 2021

Cost of Living by Categories in Idaho vs USA 2021

How is the job market in Idaho?

Idaho is currently rated among the state with the most booming economies in the United States, making it one of the most coveted spots for employment in the country.p>

The state’s low crime rate and high quality of life are constantly attracting people to its job market. Since you’re considering moving to Idaho, below are key metrics of the state’s job market:

What’s the unemployment rate in Idaho?

Idaho’s unemployment rate is 2.8%. The national average is 3.7%. That means the unemployment rate in Idaho is lower than the national average. If you’re interested in getting a job quicker, moving to Idaho is a good idea. In fact, over the past year, job growth in Idaho has risen by 2.77%.

Employment Information Idaho United States
The income per Cap $25,471 $31,177
Household Income $50,985 $57,652
Unemployment Rate 2.80% 3.70%
Recent Job Growth 2.77% 1.59%
Future Job Growth 43.80% 33.51%

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What’s the median salary in Idaho?

Idaho’s median salary and income are a key metric of the state’s economic strength. Moving to Idaho could mean getting a new job with new pay. If you’re an investor or interested in starting a business after moving to Idaho, the average pay in the state can give you an idea of what to look forward to.

  • The average annual pay for the average job in Idaho is $58,479
  • The average pay per hour in Idaho is $28.11
  • The average weekly pay in Idaho is $1,125
  • The average monthly pay in Idaho is $4,873 per month

10 Largest companies in Idaho

Idaho is home to several large companies in various industries in the state. These large companies are also the highest employers in the state. Moving to Idaho could mean getting the chance to work for any of these companies. Here’s a list of the ten largest companies in Idaho:

Rank Company City Employees
1 ADM Edible Bean Specialties Twin Falls 33,000
2 Micron Technology Boise 31,400
3 Idaho Boise 26,100
4 State of Idaho Boise 26,100
5 WinCo Foods Boise 18,000
6 Lamb Weston Holdings Eagle 6,500
7 Boise Cascade Boise 6,370
8 Employers Resource Management Boise 4,234
9 University of Idaho Moscow 4,180
10 J.R. Simplot Boise 3,090

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What are the Top career options in Idaho?

If you’re moving to Idaho, chances are that you’ll be interested in the most booming sectors of the state. Those various sectors also form the top career options in the state. Here are the top career options in the state if you’re moving to Idaho:

Rank Job Description Growth % Entry Level Salary # of Employmen
1 Family Medicine Physicians $206,460 $85,560 610
2 General Dentists $192,010 $110,600 470
3 General Pediatricians $174,920 $86,720 90
4 Nurse Anesthetists $153,110 $136,840 210
5 Architectural and Engineering Managers $147,580 $86,410 1,260
6 Nuclear Engineers $140,080 $100,060 670
7 Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates $128,490 $91,930 230
8 Pharmacists $124,990 $105,270 1,730
9 Chemical Engineers $123,900 $80,250 160
10 Postsecondary Engineering Teachers $122,180 $62,790 160

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Top Industries in Idaho

Idaho’s robust economy is powered by several key industries. Moving to Idaho could mean investing in any of these industries or working for any of them. We’ve made a list of the largest industries in the Gem state to make it easier to streamline your options if you’re moving to Idaho:

  • Aerospace
  • Technology & Innovation
  • Food Production
  • Healthcare
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Back Office/Shared Services
  • Tourism
  • Energy/Utilities

Number of Households by Income Level in Idaho

Median Income in Idaho vs USA

Unemployment Rate in Idaho vs USA

Idaho taxes

Will you end up paying more or less in taxes by moving to Idaho?

You can compare taxes in your current state to the one in the Gem state before making up your mind about moving to Idaho. Here are key taxes in Idaho:

  • Idaho income tax is 1.125%
  • Sales tax in Idaho is 6.00% - 8.50%
  • The average property tax rate in Idaho is 0.63%
  • The gas tax in Idaho is 32 cents per gallon of diesel and gasoline

How safe is Idaho?

Moving to Idaho means you’ll be living in one of the states with lower-than-average crime rates. That means Idaho is suitable for raising a family and living your dreams without fear or constantly looking over your shoulder. Since you’re mulling over moving to Idaho, here’s a simple analysis of the state’s crime rates.

  • The property crime rate in Idaho is 26.0. The national average is 35.4
  • The violent crime rate in Idaho is 15.2. The national average is 22.7
  • Both property and violent crime rates in Idaho are lower than the national average

10 safest cities in Idaho

If you’re moving to Idaho, you’ll most likely be interested in the safest cities in the state. Here’s a list of the ten safest cities in Idaho to help you narrow down your house hunting:

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per 100K Property Crimes Per 100K
1 Weiser, ID 5,369 0 0
2 Rexburg, ID 29,109 20 415
3 Fruitland, ID 5,472 54 657
4 Rathdrum, ID 8,968 89 769
5 Preston, ID 5,533 90 921
6 Moscow, ID 26,018 26 1,326
7 Hailey, ID 8,575 233 338
8 Middleton, ID 8,395 131 893
9 Rupert, ID 5,791 69 1,226
10 Meridian, ID 111,196 159 1,068

Best things to do in Idaho

Idaho is called the gem state for several reasons. There are lots of gems and attractions to see and experience in the state.

Moving to Idaho means you’ll never miss the chance to visit as many beautiful and breathtaking attractions as you want.

Since you’re considering moving to Idaho, here’s a list of the best things to do in the state. You can start building a bucket list.

  • Visit the Craters of the Moon National Monument

    Situated 5,900-feet above sea level, Craters of the Moon National Monument Preserve is a national monument and is one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the US. Spread over 410,000 acres, its central feature is the Great Rift, a 52-mile long crack in the Earth’s crust. The Craters of the Moon offers countless opportunities for hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, wildlife viewing, and backcountry travel.

  • Spend time at the Sun Valley Resort

    Sun Valley Resort in southern Idaho attracts skiing enthusiasts from all over with its magnificent facilities for winter sports and its excellent tourist infrastructure. There are multiple downhill skiing opportunities available. Heli-Skiing is another popular activity in Sun Valley. During the summer months, the resort caters to hikers, mountain bikers, and other outdoor adventurers.

  • Catch a glimpse of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area

    The756, 000-acre national recreation area has over 700 miles of trails, 40 peaks rising over 10,000 feet, and more than 300 high mountain lakes that add to the spectacular scenery and vistas. The popular activities here include camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, boating and canoeing, rafting, observing nature, photographing, and bicycling.

  • Spend some time at the Lake Coeur d’Alene

    The second largest lake in Northern Idaho, Lake Coeur d’Alene is over 26 miles long with some 135 miles of shoreline, dotted with numerous parks, campgrounds, beaches, trails, and recreational facilities.

  • Tour the Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area

    Hugging the borders of northeastern Oregon and western Idaho, the 215,000-acre recreational area is the place where you can let your senses run as wild as the landscape. It is home to diverse and abundant wildlife. The recreation area offers scenic vistas, world-class whitewater boating, fishing, spectacular mountain peaks, and vast reaches of remote wilderness.

  • Catch a glimpse of Shoshone Falls

    Located at the edge of Twin Falls, Shoshone Falls is a natural beauty on the Snake River. Often nicknamed the ‘Niagara of the West’, the 212-feet falls offer a unique blend of recreational facilities, including playgrounds, hiking trails, picnic areas, a boat ramp, swimming area, and a scenic overlook.

  • Find hidden ghost towns

    Idaho has many abandoned towns that were once packed with mine workers and were highly active. Explore the creepy towns to know more about the rich past of Idaho Often, many of these ghost towns are known only to locals.

    To help you, we’ve compiled 10 such creepy ghost towns in Idaho.

    • Wickahoney
    • Burke
    • Gilmore
    • Leesburg
    • De Lamar
    • Bonanza
    • Custer
    • Placerville
    • Silver City
    • Chesterfield
  • Spend some time at the Boise River Greenbelt

    The 20-mile Boise River Greenbelt is a recreational and alternate transportation trail connecting many neighboring towns. The scenic trail is packed with wildlife and has access to popular parks and recreation sites.

  • Go fishing at the Salmon River

    The 425-mile Salmon River flows through central Idaho, draining a rugged, thinly populated watershed of 14,000 square miles. Known as "The River of No Return”, the river has an amazing aquatic life and is also a popular recreational venue. The granite-walled canyon in Salmon River is one-fifth of a mile deeper than the Grand Canyon, and, for approximately 180 miles, the Salmon Canyon is more than one mile deep.

  • Stay at The Mountain Village Resort

    The rustic lodge at Stanley is an excellent stop before any Sawtooth Wilderness escape. The highly posh resort caters to the needs of every guest. The lodge offers panoramic views from the campus and provides access to the wilderness of Sawtooth.

  • Visit the City of Rocks National Reserve

    A state park in south-central Idaho, the City of Rocks National Reserve is known for its enormous granite rock formations and excellent rock climbing. There are over 1,000 traditional and bolt-protected routes and the park also has the nickname the ‘Silent City of Rocks’

  • Explore the Bruneau Dunes State Park

    The 470-feet high Bruneau Dunes State Park is the tallest single-structure dune in North America. The state park includes desert, dune, prairie, lake, and marsh habitat with opportunities to observe nocturnal species. Activities in the park include fishing, birdwatching, camping, hiking, swimming, and viewing the stars.

  • Catch sight of the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site

    A functional prison from 1872 to 1973 at Boise, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is now a state historic site with thirty historic buildings and special exhibits including the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit, a collection of historic weaponry. The Old Idaho Penitentiary also hosts many programs for school children.

  • Spend some time at the Kirkham Hot Springs

    Nestled along the north bank of the South Fork of the Payette River at an elevation of 4,000 feet, the Kirkham Hot Springs boasts hot spring waterfalls and rock-walled hot spring pools. There is also a trail that winds through the seeps and sources which continuously provide the hot springs pools with fresh mineral water.

  • Go Boating On Redfish Lake

    The largest lake within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Redfish Lake is 4.5 miles in length and is a popular destination to fish, swim, and boat. The lake and its surrounding area are also famous camping sites.

  • Take A Scenic Drive Along Highway 12

    Traversing the state from west to east, Highway 12 meanders alongside the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers and into some of the state’s wildest off-road country. Driving through the 202-mile highway may take 3-4 hours and is the best way to explore the scenic Idaho landscapes

  • Go Horseback Riding In The Mountains

    Idaho boasts of some of the astonishing mountains of the US. With hundreds of mountains spread out over more than 110 named mountain ranges, Idaho is also home to 9 mountains with an elevation of more than 12,000 feet. The best way to explore the mountains is on horseback.

    We’ve compiled the 10 best mountains in Idaho.

    • Bald Mountain
    • Borah Peak
    • Cache Peak
    • Castle Peak
    • Cobb Peak
    • Devil's Bedstead East
    • Doublespring Peak
    • Goat Mountain
    • Hyndman Peak

Best Schools & Universities in Idaho

Idaho is home to several top-rated schools. We’ve made a list of the ten best colleges and universities in the state as well as the best elementary, middle, and high schools in Idaho.

Since you’re considering moving to Idaho, here are the best schools in the Gem state:

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