Do you live in one of the best places in Idaho?
We all see the stories come through our Facebook feeds 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.
Here are the best places to live in Idaho:
- Meridian (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Eagle (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Star (Homes For Sale)
- Moscow (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Rexburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Chubbuck (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Ammon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Hailey (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Lewiston (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Post Falls (Photos | Homes For Sale)
Well, it looks like you should check out Meridian if you’re thinking of moving to Idaho — it’s the best the Gem State has to offer according to the data.
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Idaho.
For more Idaho reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Idaho
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Idaho
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Idaho
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 30 cities, 60 towns, and 113 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
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 30, 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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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.
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 6th lowest crime in Idaho also makes it very appealing.
You can’t argue with large bank accounts and sunshine, can you?
The city with 22,711 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 24th shortest commutes and 1st highest incomes are an added bonus.
Star broke into the top ten best places to live in Idaho on the back of a low unemployment and a quality schools system.
It placed 1st overall for its low unemployment rate and the 7th highest median income of any place in our analysis.
However, it only has the 30th shortest average commute time of any place in Idaho.
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 9.3% is still really good for this town near the Washington state line.
Moscow was originally named Paradise Valley in 1872, for good reason.
The city with a population of 27,114 has a stellar 10.8% unemployment rate and the 1st 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.
Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Chubbuck is a wonderful place to live in this state.
The relatively stable household incomes and below average crime rates don’t hurt either!
While it may not be as great as some other places on this list, Chubbuck still holds its own in in Idaho.
With a population of just 14,767, 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?
Taking a similar route to the top ten as many others on this list, Hailey ranked highly for adjusted median income (6th), crime (2nd), and unemployment (10th).
With a population of 8,058 it was one of the smaller in the top ten and its government website actually goes to pains to say that it’s a “community though not a city”.
But don’t listen to what they say people of Hailey, you can be anything you want.
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.
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s A LOT of demand to live in Post Falls.
Post Falls ranked impressively high for its crime rate (20th overall) and its short commute times (18th).
We think that’s worth the price of admission.
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 2019.
Best Towns To Live In Idaho
- Tyhee (Pop. 1,066)
- Ketchum (Pop. 2,719)
- Dalton Gardens (Pop. 2,356)
- Iona (Pop. 2,266)
- Hidden Springs (Pop. 2,474)
- Lincoln (Pop. 2,808)
- Grangeville (Pop. 3,153)
- Sun Valley (Pop. 1,398)
- Soda Springs (Pop. 2,963)
- Robie Creek (Pop. 1,570)
Best Small Towns To Live In Idaho
- Hayden Lake (Pop. 731)
- Fernan Lake Village (Pop. 152)
- Blanchard (Pop. 233)
- Bennington (Pop. 283)
- Genesee (Pop. 951)
- Conkling Park (Pop. 74)
- Bloomington (Pop. 220)
- Troy (Pop. 888)
- Dover (Pop. 709)
- Wardner (Pop. 155)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Idaho according to the data:
- Weiser (Pop. 5,350)
- Nampa (Pop. 87,896)
- Emmett (Pop. 6,590)
For more Idaho reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Idaho For 2018
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Idaho
- 10 Safest Places In Idaho
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Idaho
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Idaho