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Census Bureau: Three Idaho cities among fastest-growing in the nation

A building with the words "Meridian City Hall" on it.

Three of Boise’s suburbs are ranked in the top 15 of fastest-growing cities in the country, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Meridian, Caldwell and Nampa ranked 13th, 14th, and 15th, respectively. All of their populations grew by at least 5% last year.

"Oftentimes growth reflects a strong economy, and I think that's the case in our region," says Krista Paulsen, a professor of urban studies at Boise State University. "That also reflects what folks perceive as a high quality of life in an area, and that's certainly the case in the Treasure Valley"

Meridian saw over 6,000 new residents last year, bringing its total population to just under 126,000. Though the economy is strengthening, the housing supply is lagging.

Idaho's total housing units only grew by 2.5%, though that was the second-highest increase in the country behind Utah.

"When growth happens so quickly, it can be a challenge for cities and regions and governments to try to keep up," Paulsen said.

Paulsen also cautioned against a rise in localism, where longtime residents fear the changes that come with growth.

"We all have the potential to be members of our communities and contribute," Paulsen said.

Meridian, Caldwell and Nampa were the only large cities in the Pacific Northwest to make the rankings. Idaho as a whole saw a 2.9% increase in population from 2020 to 2021, totaling 1.9 million residents.

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