Though Still Mostly Rural, Idaho's Urban Population Is Growing

Apr 11, 2017

The Boise skyline.
Credit Charles Knowles / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is considered a rural state. Ranked by population density, it is one of the most sparsely populated states in the U.S. But in 2016, Idaho was also the third fastest-growing state in the country.

Migration from other states was a big reason for that. According to the Idaho Department of Labor, last year more than 19,000 people moved here from other areas, and more than 10,000 babies were born here. 

But this growth was not dispersed evenly throughout the state. Idaho is becoming more urban.

Six of our most populated counties, Ada, Canyon, Kootenai, Bonneville, Bannock and Twin Falls, got more than three-quarters of the new residents. Meanwhile, some of our smallest counties, like Clark County, actually got smaller. It is not just counties that are changing, either. Coeur d’Alene and Boise are among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States, and between 1990 and 2010, the share of Idahoans living in cities increased by roughly 10 percent. 

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