NewsState of 208


Census: Idaho ranks second nationally in population growth

Posted at 1:32 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 15:32:58-04

Idaho is the second fastest-growing state in the country according to data from the U.S. Census.

Idaho’s population grew 17.3% in the 10 years since the 2010 Census, right behind Utah’s first-place growth of 18.5%. That means more than 270,000 new residents.

Data shows the largest numerical increases were in and around the Treasure Valley--with the majority near Boise.

As Idaho News 6 has reported, most of the rest of the country saw growth slow during the pandemic, but here in Idaho it was quite the opposite.

"The population growth for Idaho from 2019 to 2020 never slowed down," explained Craig Shaul, a regional economist with the Department of Labor. "Idaho, the open spaces, there's something about the attractiveness for people outside of the state that felt this was still a great place to go to during the challenges of a pandemic."

The Treasure Valley's so-called "bedroom communities" like Star, Middleton and Kuna also saw a huge population boom. The three cities added thousands of residential housing units and combined they saw nearly 18,000 new residents.

The Census data shows us a detailed look at Idaho's population growth, but it also tells a story about where that growth is happening: the urban areas. Meanwhile, Idaho's rural communities are shrinking.

70 Idaho communities experienced population declines, and 60 of those communities now have fewer than 1,000 residents.

As the urban areas grow, experts say many people moving to cities are from out of state--but a big chunk of that number is people moving away from Idaho's rural areas.

"Also what's happening inside the state is you have a migration of resident populations that are moving to more urban areas for more urban vocations," explained Shaul.

As Idaho News 6 has reported, Idaho's economy has recovered faster than almost anywhere in the nation.