Idaho is a state famous for its potatoes, rural landscapes, trout, and stones. “The Gem State” at one point in time was one of the fastest growing states in America. The Idaho Capital Sun reported that their state’s population grew by 1.8% in 2022. That was the second-highest rate in the United States only behind Florida. However, since the height of the pandemic, the state’s population growth has slowed down significantly. It’s shocking to see since their population growth from 2010-2020 grew at a magnificent 17.32 percent!
So why have people moved to Idaho in the past decade or so? There are several reasons. Idaho has a thriving job market with a low % unemployment rate of 3.9% as of 2021. Also in 2021, Idaho ranked as the number one spot for economic growth and fourth for fiscal stability via US News. The cost of living is also significantly cheaper in Idaho towns compared to other places across the nation. Other reasons people move to The Gem State is because it’s a relatively safe state to live in with low crime rates, its beautiful outdoor environment, and shorter commute times.
With all of these positives, why are some people moving out of Idaho towns to live elsewhere? Keep reading to learn about these Idaho towns that people are fleeing from as soon as possible.
While the state’s population grew in the 2010s through the 2020s, there was one city where its population declined greatly: Aberdeen. Aberdeen’s population decreased by more than 11%. The population is 60% white and 40% people of color. Almost 49% of households in Aberdeen have a child eighteen years old or younger, making it a family town. Sixty percent of households in Aberdeen have married couples. The city has an elevation of over four thousand feet and has a small population of 1,797 people. It’s a relatively small city so the 11% decline was a significant decrease.
The capital of Idaho was not as lucky as the other towns in the state in its population growth. From 2021-2022 Boise’s population shrunk by 1,387 people via the US Census. It was a 0.6% decline in the total population. Boise, Idaho is known for the different things they have to offer. The city has many art and history museums people can visit. Boise also hosts several music festivals in the year including a Shakespeare festival.
Boise also provides a wonderful outdoor environment. They have a botanical garden and a mountain range outside downtown Boise. They have a park named Camel’s Bay Park. Camel’s Bay Park is at the north end of Boise. It offers eleven acres of outdoor space with tennis courts, and an outdoor gym, along with foothill and river trails.
Boise State University also has over 25,000 students pursuing undergrad and graduate degrees. Their football team is famous for having a blue turf field that captures eyes anytime they play on live television. It’s one of the driving factors in the city’s economy.
Boise is also a few hours from national parks like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and the Craters of The Moon. It’s an ideal starting point for their outdoor adventures.
Mackay is a city inside the Custer County region. The small town had a fifteen percent drop from 2019 to 2020. Its population went down from 517 to 439. The town was named after John William Mackay, who owned the local copper mines in the area. Mackay Peak in the White Knob Mountains is named after him.
Dubois, a city in Clark County, played a significant role in the population decline from 2019 to 2020. Clark County experienced a 19.6% population decline. The city’s population declined by 6.14% while its median household income grew from roughly $34,000 to $41,000. The average household in Dubois has three cars. Dubois residents drive about thirty minutes to work. The city represents the county seat for Clark County. Dubois is named after a politician significant to the city’s history from the late 1800s to the 1900s. Six miles from the town is the U.S. Sheep Experimentation Station. That place studies sheep to help support US Farmers
Moore, Idaho experienced a 4.3% population decrease from 186 to 178 people from 2019 to 2020. In 2010, the population was close to 200 people. However, the city gained most of its population back in 2020. The population is still at a slight deficit from where it was in 2020. Moore is an entirely white town in its demographic.
Why Are People Leaving Idaho?
Idaho became a popular state to move to within the past couple of years. Its low taxes, very affordable costs of living, beautiful natural environment, and all the different parks have made “The Gem State” truly a place to live. For several years, Idaho was ranked as a top ten city to move to from 2014-2021. It took the top spot in 2019 and 2020 per the United Van Lines. The 107.9 Lite FM Radio station surveyed different people on why they moved away from Idaho in 2022 and came up with six different reasons.
Family and Health Reasons
One of the reasons is because of family. People told the radio station that they moved away from Idaho to be closer to their family. It was also a national trend as people moved closer to their families during the pandemic. In 2021, fifty-seven percent of people said that was the main reason, but thirty-seven of people said that family was their main reason to move from Idaho.
Personal and family health played a role in people leaving Idaho. The pandemic affected the world globally and Idaho was no exception. Seven percent of people left Idaho in 2020 because of that reason while only five percent of people left Idaho in 2021 for personal and family health reasons.
Employment and Cost of Living
The second reason ties into employment. Idaho has a low unemployment rate, but some people want to move to different places to change their careers or explore new job opportunities in case they can’t grow any further in Idaho. Now with the advancement of remote-based careers, it can help people move to Idaho since they can work from anywhere. One of the shocking reasons is the cost of living. Some of the Idaho natives have gotten tired of their unreasonable rent prices.
Another reason that people move out of Idaho is for retirement purposes. Over forty-two percent of people who moved from Idaho in 2022 were 65 years or older. Some of the top retirement states include Florida, Delaware, West Virginia, Missouri, and Mississippi. This is an interesting metric as Idaho is the fourth most affordable state to retire in per the Business Review. The other states that ranked higher than Idaho were Wyoming, Montana, and Utah.
A Change of Environment
Nine percent of people who moved from Idaho just wanted a change of scenery. Some people might grow tired of the slow-paced life that Idaho has and want to move to bigger places with different climates, more diversity, and potentially better career opportunities. That number was bigger back in 2021 as twenty percent of people who left Idaho told the radio station they needed a change of scenery.
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