THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Idaho For 2020

Check out how science determined which Boise suburbs made the top of the list.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in Idaho.

Do you live in one of the best places in Idaho?

Well you've come to the right place as we've been ranking the best places in Idaho for the better part of a decade now.

We all see the stories come through our Facebook feed where people talk about how awesome it is where they live in their little corner of Idaho, and people have a hard time determining who, actually, lives in the best place. So, HomeSnacks set out to determine where the best places to live in Idaho might be.

You might be surprised by the results. Boise is an awesome place to live, but its suburbs actually rank slightly higher. While Idaho as a state is a pretty darn great place to live, we wanted to find the pockets of greatness. So, in order to determine where the best possible place to live in Idaho might be, we had to crunch some numbers that fall into the awesome category, weigh all of the categories against one another, and get an answer.

Most of the cities at the top of the list are suburbs of Boise, or at least considered part of the greater Boise City-Nampa Metro area.

What's the best place to live in idaho for 2020? According to the most recent FBI and Census data, Meridian ranks as the best place to live in idaho for 2020 amongst the 31 places above 5,000 people. Sorry small towns in idaho, you have your own list.

Read to learn more about the top ten places to live in idaho, a detailed explanation of how we ranked the places, a map of the best places, and a full table of all the places in the state.

It's our sixth time ranking the cream of the crop in idaho, so we have a ton of data to help you find the right place to call home.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Idaho reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Idaho For 2020

Meridian, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 97,008
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $242,000 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (10th best)
More on Meridian: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The third-largest city in the Gem State is the best when it comes to overall likeability. According to the data, Meridian is a little slice of heaven when it comes to Idaho living.

It's part of the Treasure Valley, which is a fitting name.

It's residents have the 2nd highest income in the state, and according to government data, the skies are clearer in Median than any other place in the state. The 10th lowest crime in Idaho also makes it very appealing.

You can't argue with large bank accounts and sunshine, can you?

Eagle, ID

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,075
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $383,700 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (13th best)
More on Eagle: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The city with 25,075 residents has actually grown tremendously over the last 20 years. There must be something in the water in Eagle, as the small town has turned out several notable NFL players.

The 22nd shortest commutes and highest incomes are an added bonus.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,495
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $258,100 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (7th best)
More on Star: Real Estate | Data

Let's take a look at why Star is a great place to call home for 2020.

There's low crime in Star, and the residents here are gainfully employed (2.6% unemployment rate).

You can make Star your home for only $258,100 which won't be too hard on a $54,386 household salary.

Kuna, ID

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,445
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $175,300 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.8% (3rd best)
More on Kuna: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Kuna ranks as the 4th best places in Gem State for good reason.

When you have low crime and high incomes, you can bet it's a place residents can be happy about. This small Boise suburb of 18,445 people is one of the fastest-growing areas in the state, and most likely, for good reason.

Moscow, ID

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,174
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $224,400 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (25th best)
More on Moscow: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Moscow is much smaller in size than Meridian, and it therefore has a higher-ranked education system and much lower commute time. An unemployment rate of 5.9% is still really good for this town near the Washington state line.

Moscow was originally named Paradise Valley in 1872, for good reason.

Ammon, ID

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,403
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $189,900 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (12th best)
More on Ammon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

With a population of just 15,403, Ammon is still one of the fastest growing areas in Idaho. The Montana border town has a significantly-higher number of outdoor recreation activities, such as hiking, biking, rafting and skiing.

However, it can get a lot chillier in Ammon than in other parts of the state in the winter. That might be a good thing, though.

Who wouldn't want to live in a place like that?

Rexburg, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,957
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $199,800 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (30th best)
More on Rexburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The city with a population of 27,957 has a stellar 7.4% unemployment rate and the 2nd lowest crime rate in the entire state, so you can bet it's a great place to live and raise kids.

The town on the Montana border has about a 95% LDS population.

Lewiston, ID

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 32,604
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $178,500 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (16th best)
More on Lewiston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lewiston has the highest student-expenditure ratio in the state of Idaho, meaning they take education seriously here. With a higher-than average median household income as well, this town on the Washington border is a great spot to make home.

Lewiston was once the capital of Idaho, until 1864, when it was relocated south to Boise.

Post Falls, ID

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 31,945
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $193,000 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (11th best)
More on Post Falls: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Post Falls has a strong showing in our best places to live in Idaho analysis, coming it at 9th best.

It ranks highly like many others in the top ten for a low unemployment rate and high adjusted median income. It scored extra points relative to the top ten for its size and things to do.

If you're thinking of moving to Idaho, Post Falls is a great option.

Chubbuck, ID

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,728
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $160,700 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (18th best)
More on Chubbuck: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Chubbuck takes 10th place on our list of best places in Idaho for 2020 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (18th overall) and things to do.

Chubbuck is no stranger to top ten lists, being named one of the best places to live in the country by multiple outlets over the past ten years. And that tends to happen when home prices hit $160,700 at the median.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Idaho

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit cities with populations over 100,000 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 31 cities, 60 towns, and 113 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Idaho have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Idaho

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Idaho across a number of criteria from one to 31, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Idaho".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Idaho? That would be Meridian.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Idaho.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Meridian at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Idaho

If you're looking at areas in Idaho with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Meridian made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Idaho for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Idaho

  1. Tyhee (Pop. 1,066)
  2. Ketchum (Pop. 2,719)
  3. Dalton Gardens (Pop. 2,356)
  4. Iona (Pop. 2,266)
  5. Hidden Springs (Pop. 2,474)
  6. Lincoln (Pop. 2,808)
  7. Grangeville (Pop. 3,153)
  8. Sun Valley (Pop. 1,398)
  9. Soda Springs (Pop. 2,963)
  10. Robie Creek (Pop. 1,570)

Best Small Towns To Live In Idaho

  1. Hayden Lake (Pop. 731)
  2. Fernan Lake Village (Pop. 152)
  3. Blanchard (Pop. 233)
  4. Bennington (Pop. 283)
  5. Genesee (Pop. 951)
  6. Conkling Park (Pop. 74)
  7. Bloomington (Pop. 220)
  8. Troy (Pop. 888)
  9. Dover (Pop. 709)
  10. Wardner (Pop. 155)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Idaho according to the data:

  1. Emmett (Pop. 6,670)
  2. Weiser (Pop. 5,326)
  3. Caldwell (Pop. 53,205)

For more Idaho reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Idaho?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Meridian 97,008 3.1% $242,000
2 Eagle 25,075 3.5% $383,700
3 Star 8,495 2.6% $258,100
4 Kuna 18,445 1.8% $175,300
5 Moscow 25,174 5.9% $224,400
6 Ammon 15,403 3.4% $189,900
7 Rexburg 27,957 7.4% $199,800
8 Lewiston 32,604 4.4% $178,500
9 Post Falls 31,945 3.2% $193,000
10 Chubbuck 14,728 5.1% $160,700

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

7 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Idaho For 2020

  1. Interesting Analysis. Curious whether any of you have actually spent any significant time in Idaho: To rank Lewiston above the major cities in North Idaho ranks on statistics shows your ranking system is very flawed! I was born in Lewiston and live north of Coeur d’ Alene and doubt you folks have ever spent any time in Lewiston. Might be a good idea to get some local input?

      1. Hi Jim, my mum a Canadian from Vancouver moved there in 1950, her first comment was “there are no trees!”. We left every summer to go to lake Coeur d’ Alene to avoid the stench of the paper mill on hot summer days, and I mean “Hot”. I think Lewiston is an acquired taste, but in Idaho it would be way down my list of places to live, behind Sandpoint, Cda, Post Falls, McCall, Haley, Ketchum, most of Boise and quite a few other places that don’t come to mind. The good is that the climate is warmer in the winter being at the bottom of the Canyon and there is a lot of great recreation and hunting within a couple of hours.

  2. Funny you rate Garden City as #8 on Best Places to live and you rate it #1 on your list of Most Dangerous Places to live. ???????????

  3. Ask an IDAHO RESIDENT!!! What in the world can i do for you? ellae_forreal
    I know the area. and i can give you real understanding on the data.
    If you haven’t been to these places, ask me to make this curious lists more meaningful. First, have lived in southern( Boise area) and now northern (Coeur d’Alene area) just ask.
    I looked at these best, and I looked at the worst places too- I lived in southern Idaho, in fact, NAMPA, and I worked at the college of Southern Idaho- a great community college. I went junking in Caldwell. I had friends that lived in Garden City. I’ve been to Twin Falls. None of the info of the “snackable” was even close to my personal experience.
    I would not want to live in Meridian.To me, Its not a cute town, and the way it is laid out causes lots of traffic jams. I never felt unsafe in any of these places.
    Ketchum is cool, and so is Hailey, but none of this mentions the cost of living, or the possibility of a person working there. Ditto for Sun Valley. I don’t know where y’all got the numbers for these things. The MLS? Recent sales? hmmm.
    Some of the little towns mentioned are miles from a big city to get groceries or other city things, like, well, sushi.
    Post Falls is the bedroom community of Spokane Wa. and slated to grow to 90 thousand people in the next 5 years. Hayden is ok, lots of subdivisions coming in and Dalton gardens, a bit older, and more $. I think your prices are a bit off-
    Up here in north Idaho, One zipcode can cover MILES and miles, and lots of homes. More numbers, take an average. Might not be accurate.
    Coeur d’ Alene is close to these areas- and there are high end homes on the lake, and there are lesser priced homes. 325k is average- Today I toured a 3br 2.5 bath bungalow for 330k. (949 N16th st, CDA 83816) Super cute, would have been atleast twice that price in Seattle.
    Idaho resident, and realtor at Prime Real Estate Group CDA
    People first, transactions second. Low pressure, real person.

  4. Wondering how much you liked Nampa and how long you lived there. I am looking to retire in Idaho, but want someplace with very little rain or snow.

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