Idaho is the fastest-growing state in the union. Although most well-known for their potatoes, Idaho has much more to offer than just its leading agricultural export. Nestled against the states of Washington and Oregon, Idaho boasts a breathtaking mix of rivers, peaks and farmland with the lowest cost of living of the 11 western states.
Idaho’s state nickname is the Gem State, and once you’ve seen Idaho you’ll realize how appropriate the name really is. The state originally earned its nickname for its abundant natural resources and its scenic landscape. Silver, zinc, lead and lumber all come from Idaho and contribute to the state’s economy. But there are literal gems as well. Star garnets, jasper, opal, jade, topaz, zircon and tourmaline are all mined in Idaho.
Here are some things you should consider before moving to Idaho:
- Summers can get pretty hot. During the summer months, temperatures can reach into the 90s. If you choose to move to Idaho during the summer, try to plan your move so most of your heavy lifting is done in the early mornings and late evenings and drink plenty of water.
- The mountains are fairly remote. The central Idaho Mountains are very scenic, but also less prosperous than the rest of the state, meaning there are fewer roads and service areas. If you are looking to move to this region, gas station trips and grocery store runs will require more planning than most people are used to.
- Festivals and events such as rodeos are a big draw. Most cities in Idaho host these events and attract thousands of visitors. Most local residents are accustomed to the crowds, blocked roads and traffic congestion and simply make allowances for them. When planning your move, be sure to check the local schedule so you can plan around it.
- Parking restrictions can apply in some cities. You don’t need a moving permit when moving to Idaho, but it is a good idea to find out what the local parking restrictions are so you can avoid getting a ticket.
Change your address online. To make your move from California to Idaho easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, inexpensive, and will ensure that your mail arrives to your new home with you.
Cities and Metro Areas
Idaho is made up of 44 counties. The state is home to many unique cities. Boise is environmentally-conscious and beautiful offering residents and visitors a rich collection of amenities from parks and restaurants to museums and music venues. Nampa is known for its wineries, and Idaho Falls is located along the Snake River and surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and is one of the nation’s best adventure towns. Coeur d’Alene… food, health, beauty and activities come together to make this quirky town a great place to live. Meridian, Twin Falls, Lewiston, Caldwell and Moscow are all great places to call home!
Cost of Living
Compared to the US average, Idaho is one of the most affordable western states. Idaho has one of the lowest population densities in the country and land isn’t as costly as in some other states. Also, the state does not impose property taxes, even if local governments do, making the homeownership rate of almost 73% very understandable, indeed.
The average household income is $40,500. While that seems low by California standards, consider the fact that the median home price in Boise at $210,000 compared to the national median home price of $305,000. In addition, the high level of food production in the state means less transportation time, so feeding your family in Idaho is at a lower cost than the national average. Utility prices are lower than the national average as well. Commute times average just 20 miles, saving gas costs and wear and tear on vehicles. For all these reasons, that $40,500 goes a lot farther than it would in most states.
Idaho’s climate varies widely. In West Idaho the Pacific Ocean influences the climate even though the state’s western border is about 350 miles away. This part of the state has milder and wetter winters than you may expect for a state in such a northern location. East Idaho has wet summers and dry winters. Overall in the state, summers are hot and dry with highs of around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but summer evenings are cool and refreshing. Winters can be cold, with averages of 35 degrees Fahrenheit and the entire state gets snowfall, so be sure to have a warm winter coat when moving to Idaho.
Idaho has a number of quality educational institutions, from kindergarten all the way through graduate schools. What follows are some of the most renowned schools and colleges. Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to Idaho.
Idaho is home to a number of excellent universities and colleges, including Brigham Young University-Idaho, Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.
Want to take care of important (mandatory) tasks before moving to Idaho? Many of the items required for a move to Idaho can be found online.
Idaho Government Resources
- Taxes: Idaho doesn’t levy an excise tax. However, it will levy a 6% sales tax on any untaxed vehicle you bring in from out-of-state.
- Register to vote at your County Clerk’s office. You may also have the option to register to vote online.
- Register your vehicle and obtain a new driver’s license at the Idaho Transportation Department
- Trash & Recycling: Though trash and recycling are handled by your city, most cities contract private companies to take care of this.
Real Estate Resources
If you are considering a move to Idaho, click here: Interested In Moving To Idaho