Growth

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Boise State University professor Jodi Brandt learned quickly after she moved to Boise a little more than a year ago that Treasure Valley residents are concerned about recent shifts in land use, as more farms are sold and turned into housing developments. Along with a team at Boise State, Brandt is building a map to chart and project these changes.

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

Apr 11, 2017
Boise, downtown, city, moon
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. 

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Kevin Vierra stands in his living room, admiring the Eagle home he bought in July. It’s full of alder wood floors and cabinets. The counters are granite. Outside, he looks over a small creek.

Vierra and his wife, Vicki, moved here from Manteca, California just three months after visiting a friend who’d already relocated to the area.  Vierra – fresh off a career as a police officer – had grown tired of his native state’s crime and traffic. Now, he uses trips to the airport, both there and here, as an example of how his quality of life has improved.

Flickr Creative Commons

  Downtown Boise is going through a hotel boom. Six have been proposed in the last six months and five have the city’s go-ahead for construction. At the same time, Meridian is trying to recruit someone to build a hotel in its downtown. But that effort has been unsuccessful so far.

Meridian officials actually want three things built in their city's downtown – a performing arts center, a conference center and a hotel. The city recently requested proposals for those but got zero response.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Garden City has long been known for mobile home parks and poverty. But with more than three miles of underused riverfront property, developers have become interested in Garden City's poorest area. High-end houses are now being built next to mobile homes.

population
Alaskan_Dude / Flickr Creative Commons

For the first time, Idaho’s population has topped 1.6 million. The latest U.S. Census Bureau estimate shows Idaho gained 16,500 people in 2013 for a grand total of 1,612,136.

That’s slightly more than 1 percent growth from 2012. The fastest growing state, at more than 3 percent, was North Dakota. That's thanks to its recent oil and gas boom.

Two states, Maine and West Virginia, saw population declines from 2012 to 2013.

Here’s how Idaho’s neighbors compare in total population for 2013:

census.gov

A new study from the U.S. Census Bureau shows many people have left the suburbs and moved downtown. That’s especially true in the nation’s largest cities like New York or Chicago which added nearly 48,000 people to its downtown between 2000 and 2010. That didn’t happen in Idaho’s largest city. But that's not because Boise didn’t try.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

The silver bullet known as an Airstream trailer has roamed the nation’s highways since the 1930s. It’s as iconic as a Coke bottle.  The start of summer brings with it thoughts of exploring and camping.  For some people, that means hitching up the Airstream and heading out on the highway.