The Rise of Idaho’s Population

Brendan Winkel, Staff Writer

Idaho, the Gem State, is on the rise in popularity. We all know this by now, with apartment buildings and new neighborhoods being built like never before. But, why? Why exactly is Idaho becoming so popular, especially among California residents? Time to dive in.

On multiple different maps and charts of state population growth, from two years ago to now, Idaho has been the #1 fastest-growing state in the US on nearly all of them. And it’s not because people want more potatoes; well, maybe; but because of the cheap affordability of property here, the amazing views all around the states, and a strong job market. Some are even coming for the more conservative culture in southeast Idaho. 

If you’ve ever lived in or been to urban areas of California, you would know that the cities are very cramped and small houses are incredibly expensive. There’s almost no open scenery in half the state. So, consequently, the majority of people moving to Idaho are coming from the Golden state. 

At TRHS, just a couple miles from the back of the school, are the more expensive and larger houses. The price of one of those mansions is about equal to a small apartment in California.

Idaho isn’t the only place people are moving to, obviously. Neighboring states such as Utah, Nevada, and Arizona further down south are close behind Idaho in population growth.

Property and jobs are stronger here, but how about the views? With six national parks: City of Rocks National Reserve, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Minidoka National Historic Site, Nez Perce National Historic Site, and a portion of Yellowstone National Park.

And with also a large section of the Rocky Mountains, Idaho is pretty crazy and beautiful. It doesn’t stop there though with the scenery: Bear Lake, Lake Coeur d’Alene (plus the city), the Snake River, the Sawtooth Mountains, Hells Canyon, and much more. Hiking trails are everywhere in this place.

People from California and other urban areas don’t have these kinds of opportunities, so they flock to Idaho to come and see them, realize the price of living here is incredibly cheap, and then stay.

Very close to the hub of California is Las Vegas, the hometown and eight-year residence of the Winkel family (which includes the author of this article). The crime in Vegas, according to Shannon Winkel is difficult; “For instance, our truck was stolen, we had an armed robbery at our house and our friend was shot in our backyard, we had notices come home from my son’s elementary school that there have been several kidnappings near the school; there had been strangers in my house while I was napping; a creepy guy tried to offer to drive my son to school; a man followed me up to my driveway in the middle of the night…”

Geez. All of that in eight years for one family? Idaho has a much lower crime rate than Vegas, as well as much friendlier people. In Vegas, your parents had to come inside of a walled-off courtyard with a locked gate, show that they had children at the school, and then find their child and take them home safely. Idaho? You can walk home at the age of six and be fine.

Be glad you go to school in such a safe environment, even if it is a little more crowded now!