Whether you're just starting to consider relocating for another state or you've already planned the logistics of your interstate move, uprooting your life and settling down somewhere new can be as stressful as it is exciting. To help you decide where to move and get to know your know state, our Where To Move in 2021 guide explores the unique attributes of some of the most popular states people move to, including cost of living, climate and geography, employment, and cultural attractions.
1. Fast facts
Find out where the over 79,000 Americans who moved to Idaho in 2018 relocated from.
We've collected data on house prices, household income, and cost of living for Boise.
Compare the Gem State's average temperature and precipitation against the national average.
Discover the best cities in the state for jobs and top industries in Idaho.
Learn about Idaho's unique food and drink, arts and culture, outdoor activities, and sports.
|Total population: 1,787,065
Median age: 36.9
Largest city: Boise
Just over 79,000 Americans relocated to Idaho in 2018—nearly ⅓ of which come from California alone. , including over 21,000 Californias, making the Gem State the 10th most popular destination for ex-Golden Staters. Where does everyone else come from?
2. Cost of Living in Idaho
*Cost of living data is not available at the state level. In this article, cost of living data is based on the largest city in the state.
House prices in Boise, Idaho’s capital and largest city, are 3.5% lower than the national average.
The median household income is slightly lower than the national average, but the cost of living is slightly lower as well.
Here's how the cost of living in Denver breaks down:
Cost of Living
|Boise, ID||United States||Difference|
|Basic utilties (based on 915 sq ft apartment)||$101.59||$162.98||-60.4%|
|Food (per person, monthly)||$269.19||$323.75||-20.3%|
2. Idaho Climate and Geography
Idaho is covered from north to south by the Rocky Mountains. As a result, Idaho’s climate exhibits large seasonal differences, with cold winters to pleasantly warm summers.
With an average annual temperature of 45°, sun lovers may find themselves a bit chilly in Idaho’s cooler climate. The lower elevation areas in southern Idaho receive less precipitation because they are protected by the Rocky Mountains, but if you head to north and central Idaho you can expect to receive about four times the amount of rain or snow.
- Western Continental Divide: The Western Continental Divide is an imaginary line that runs from northwestern Canada along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It sits atop a continuous ridge of mountains, dividing the continent into two main drainage areas: rain or melting snow on the west flows into the Pacific Ocean; on the east, water flows northeast to Hudson Bay, or southeast to the Gulf of Mexico.
- Snake River Plain: A wide, flat lava-based depression running through south-central Idaho. This area is very fertile, and is home to much of the state’s agricultural industry.
- Hell’s Canyon: The deepest gorge in the United States, with a maximum depth of 7,900 feet. See it for yourself from the Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area.
- Shoshone Falls: Located along the Snake River, these falls are 212 feet high—that’s taller than Niagara Falls in New York!
4. Employment in Idaho
Forbes ranks Idaho as the 10th best state in the country for business, with 3% job growth statewide.
Boise and Nampa are the only city in the Gem State to appear on WalletHub’s 2020 rankings of the best cities for jobs, making the list at #5 with a total score of 62.55 and #68 with a score of 54.17, respectively. In addition to several state government agencies and federal government offices, the state capital is a hub for many industries, functioning as a regional trade capital for logging, mining, livestock, and farming. It’s also home to a growing technology sector, led by Micron Technology Inc., HP Inc., and Hewlett Packard Enterprises. Bodybuilding.com and Clearwater Analytics are also headquartered in Boise.
Top industries in Idaho include:
- Food processing
- Lumber and wood products
5. Idaho Culture and Entertainment
There’s more to Idaho than potatoes (though these starchy spuds are the state’s largest crop, and are a big part of the state’s cultural identity—see for yourself at the Idaho Potato Museum).
Food and drink
Idaho’s capital, Boise, has a laid back vibe, but offers a booming food and nightlife scene, earning its rank of 6th best city to live in according to Conde Nast Traveler. Boise is also renowned for its Basque food.
Huckleberries—the state fruit—are also abundant and highly sought-after, with plants taking two decades to mature and produce fruit. In fact, many picking locations are so coveted that they remain a family secret. You’ll find these tasty berries in jams, syrups, ice cream, and (of course) pies.
Arts and culture
New Idahoans have numerous art and music festivals to choose from, including:
- Treefort Music Festival: For 5 days in March, you can enjoy 400 musical acts in all genres, plus art, technology, storytelling, and craft beer.
- Mountain Home Music Festival: Country music lovers will appreciate this event, which attracts some of the biggest acts in country music.
- National Oldtime Fiddlers Contest and Festival: Not just for oldtimers, this festival attracts the best of the best fiddlers from the across the country.
There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Idaho. Camping, fishing, rafting, hiking, and hunting are especially popular in the Gem State, and it’s easy to see why:
- The middle fork of the Salmon River is regarded as one of the nation’s best wilderness rivers.
- The Frank Church-River of No Wilderness Area is the largest area of protected wilderness in the continental USA.
- Idaho is home to 107,651 miles of river, including more miles of white water river than any lower 48 state.
- There are 340 hot springs throughout the state waiting to lull you into a deep sense of calm and relaxation.
- Sun Valley Resort attracts skiers and snowboarders from around the country. It even has 25 miles of groomed trails for snowshoers.
Idaho doesn’t have any major professional sports teams, but sports fans can still get their kicks by joining in the fierce rivalry between Boise State and the University of Idaho. The Idaho Potato Bowl—an annual post-season college football game held at Boise State University—is also popular among sports enthusiasts.