These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Idaho For 2018


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

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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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:

  1. Meridian (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Eagle (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Star (Homes For Sale)
  4. Moscow (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Rexburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Chubbuck (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Ammon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Hailey (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Lewiston (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. 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.

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:

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’.

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 Place 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
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

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.

Meridian, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 88,247
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $199,100 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (7th 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 6th 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

7
/10

Population: 22,711
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $327,800 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (4th best)
More on Eagle: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,255
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $206,800 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (1st best)
More on Star: Real Estate | Data

The Town of Star might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.

The crime rate in Star isn’t amazing, but it’s far below the state average. The homes are valued at $206,800 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Idaho.

If Star can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (2.6% is the 1st highest in the state.

Moscow, ID

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 24,855
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $209,700 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (27th 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 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.

Rexburg, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 27,114
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $182,200 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (29th best)
More on Rexburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Chubbuck, ID

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 14,326
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $158,200 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (16th best)
More on Chubbuck: Real Estate | Data | Photos

We wouldn’t be surprised to see CNN call Chubbuck one of the best places to live in the United States. Not only do the residents all make great livings, there’s essentially no crime in the entire city. And the residents are very involved in the community.

They can’t build homes fast enough here as it seems everyone wants a piece of Chubbuck.

Ammon, ID

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 14,767
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $167,000 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (8th best)
More on Ammon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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?

Hailey, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 8,058
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $266,500 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (10th best)
More on Hailey: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hailey has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.

Just about everyone who wants a job in Hailey has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 4.7% and lowering. And the Hailey police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 2nd lowest in the state here.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?

Lewiston, ID

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 32,484
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $167,200 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (12th 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

8
/10

Population: 30,157
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $168,200 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (13th best)
More on Post Falls: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The crime is the 20th lowest in the state in Post Falls, and there were only 71 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think it’s even safer here than the numbers indicate.

The schools are some of the best in Idaho, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than most every other city in the state. Residents in Post Falls earn $48,894 a year.

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 2018.

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. Weiser (Pop. 5,350)
  2. Nampa (Pop. 87,896)
  3. Emmett (Pop. 6,590)

For more Idaho reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Idaho

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Meridian 88,247 4.3% $199,100
2 Eagle 22,711 4.0% $327,800
3 Star 7,255 2.6% $206,800
4 Moscow 24,855 9.3% $209,700
5 Rexburg 27,114 10.8% $182,200
6 Chubbuck 14,326 6.1% $158,200
7 Ammon 14,767 4.6% $167,000
8 Hailey 8,058 4.7% $266,500
9 Lewiston 32,484 5.3% $167,200
10 Post Falls 30,157 5.4% $168,200
11 Hayden 13,916 5.6% $193,400
12 Mountain Home 13,823 6.8% $132,400
13 Kuna 17,015 6.9% $144,500
14 Preston 5,252 3.4% $145,000
15 Twin Falls 46,623 4.1% $143,400
16 Idaho Falls 58,933 5.3% $143,400
17 Coeur D’alene 47,842 8.2% $172,700
18 Rathdrum 7,357 6.9% $155,400
19 Sandpoint 7,698 4.6% $191,100
20 Blackfoot 11,878 6.1% $121,500
21 Pocatello 54,592 7.2% $135,500
22 Burley 10,382 3.1% $103,200
23 Rupert 5,702 6.1% $97,000
24 Jerome 11,140 4.0% $112,600
25 Middleton 6,416 7.1% $136,300
26 Caldwell 50,288 10.6% $113,000
27 Payette 7,402 8.3% $104,900
28 Weiser 5,350 8.1% $95,500
29 Nampa 87,896 7.8% $120,900
30 Emmett 6,590 13.0% $103,600

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5 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Idaho For 2018

  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. ???????????

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