Population

Since the Great Recession, personal income and jobs have grown across the country and throughout our region. But that growth is uneven.

The Mountain West has some of the fastest aging populations in the country, which could have some serious implications for the region's economy. 

Over the past decade or so, the Mountain West has seen rapid population growth, but there are parts of the region that are slowing down.

Elizabeth Garner, the State Demographer for Colorado, said that for a while the Mountain West has had the advantage of lower costs and more space. But since 2015, Colorado’s growth rate has been declining, which means that “we’re still increasing, just by not as many,” said Garner.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Sixth-grade teacher Mandy Stansell has lived in Boise her whole life, but three months ago she moved to her new home, looking out over the farm fields of Kuna.

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NPR's Kirk Siegler has been reporting on the urban-rural divide in America, including coverage in Idaho and throughout the Northwest. We talk about some of that work including the 2014 Bundy standoff and the 2016 election and the ever-growing population and changing landscape of the Northwest.

Meridian Mayor Discusses Growth

May 29, 2018
City of Meridian

Meridian is the second-largest city in Idaho and one of the fastest growing in the nation. Mayor Tammy de Weerd joins Idaho Matters to talk about how that community is handling the influx of residents.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

About 16,000 Ada County voters will see their precinct change in 2018. The changes come after the Treasure Valley’s growth continues to balloon.

U.S. Census Bureau / census.gov

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Idaho is the nation’s fastest growing state.

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We'll soon know if Meridian has crossed the threshold to become a city of 100,000 people. The Census Bureau conducted a population estimate July 1 and when the official numbers come in, it will likely find Meridian to be the second Idaho city with a six-figure population.

hospital, medical, nurse
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Idaho continues to experience pockets of severe nursing shortages while better paying jobs in surrounding states are attracting Idaho's nursing graduates, according to a recently released report from the Idaho Department of Labor.

Jimmy Emerson / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Department of Labor says between 2015 and 2025, the state is expected to grow by 15 percent.

Using a new model to project these changes, the agency says the state’s pace is about three times higher than the nation’s when it comes to population.

So where is this boost coming from? The trend of older people moving to the state for retirement continues to lead the way. The department predicts the 65 and older crowd will grow by about 36 percent.

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. 

Rachel La Corte / AP Images

Between July 2015 and July 2016 the state grew by more than 30,000 people. That's according to the latest census data, and is the biggest increase since 2008.

The 1.8 percent gain comes from people who moved to the Gem State from other parts of the country, and from babies born in Idaho. The state is fifth when it comes to in-migration and seventh for births. Utah topped the list for growth by percentage, followed by Nevada. Other western states like Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Arizona also made it in the top-10 list.  

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Capital Press this week wrote a piece articulating the tensions between rural and urban districts in Idaho, and how a power shift to Ada County may alter the state's identity. As people continue to move to the Treasure Valley in large numbers (Ada County grew by 29 percent between 2000-2015, Canyon County grew by 44 percent), representation in the statehouse will also increase.

Adelpha Photography/Flickr

Idaho’s Hispanic population is growing. That’s according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Using Census Bureau numbers, the department found that the Hispanic population grew 2.9 percent between mid-2014 and mid-2015. That’s an increase of 5,696.

Janell Hyer is a research analyst at the Labor Department. She says Idaho’s Hispanic population went up 15.1 percent since the 2010 census.

“We added over 26,000 Hispanics to our community and living in this area you’re seeing more and more commercial businesses that are targeting Hispanics.”

IcaWise / Flickr Creative Commons

If you lived in a rural part of the state in 1990, there’s a good chance that you now live in a town or city. That’s according to census data parsed by the Idaho Department of Labor. Researcher Janell Hyer says people are continuing to move where the jobs are – and that means more populated cities like Boise and Meridian.

“People are coming from the rural areas moving into the urban areas," says Hyer. "Even though they may not be growing as fast as they were in previous years, they are still growing and that’s where the growth is taking place.”

McClure Center / Data U.S. Census

Idaho is becoming more diverse because of its increasing Hispanic population. The state has a smaller proportion of Hispanics than the nation as a whole, but that gap is closing.  Most Hispanics in Idaho were born in the U.S. Those are some of the findings of a recent report from the University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy.

Boise State Public Radio

Make some room, 208.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved the change Monday. People with the current 208 number, which has been around since 1947, will be able to keep their area code. “986” will get assigned to new phone numbers beginning in 2017.

Once the second area code is added, 10-digit dialing will be required throughout the state.  

Data, U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau Thursday released its population estimates for 2014. Boise was number 20 in the Census’ list of top 20 fastest-growing metro areas. The area that includes Idaho’s capital as well as Nampa and Meridian grew 2.1 percent between July 2013 and July 2014.

Idaho Among Top 10 States For Population Growth

Dec 23, 2014
Jeremy Conant / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is among the top 10 states for estimated population growth between 2013 and 2014, recording the strongest population gain since the recession, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Idaho’s 2014 population is up 1.3 percent from 2013. That’s higher than the national average population growth of 0.7 percent.

Census puts Idaho’s estimated population at 1,634,464 million. That’s an increase of 21,000 people.

Allan / Flickr

More Idaho babies are being born outside of marriage than ever before, and the state's marriage rate is at a 60-year low, that's according to a recent report from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The latest Vital Statistics Annual Report is for 2012 and it covers everything from births, population, marriages, and deaths.

idaho
J. Stephen Coon / Flickr

The shift of Idaho's population from rural counties to urban areas slowed last year.

Estimates released by the Census Bureau on Thursday showed the 33 rural counties saw their combined population increase for the first time in three years.

The population of the rural counties rose two-tenths of a percent from mid-2012 to mid-2013, or about 1,200 people.

The population of the 11 urban counties increased 1.5 percent.

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: