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Looking to find a gem of a place to retire in the Gem State? Look no further, because we've used science and data to determine the hottest spots in Idaho to call home for those looking to permanently hang up their office apparel.
Idaho may not immediately come to mind when thinking of states to retire in, but if you're an outdoors enthusiast with nothing but time on your hands, it's got a lot going for it. Those that want to keep fit with winter sports will love having access to Sun Valley in Sawtooth National Recreation Forest. For folks who prefer hiking, there's Hell's Canyon, which will, names aside, provide heavenly trails and (for those without heart conditions) intense whitewater rafting. And if you just want to kick back and enjoy some startling beauty, there's Idaho's Shoshone Falls, also known as "the Niagara of the west."
So just where are the best places to retire in Idaho? Most of these places are off the beaten track, with most being a few hours away from the nearest big cities. Emmett is the closest place on this list to Boise, while Rexburg is the only place under an hour from Idaho Falls. Three of the cities on this list (Moscow, Hailey, and Lewiston) are also featured on our list of best places to live in Idaho, so you know that they're not solely catering to older communities.
Grab your baked potatoes, settle down beside Lake Coeur d'Alene, and read on to learn the best places to retire in Idaho.
These cities are sure to satisfy your retirement priorities, whatever they may be. It's good to note that 40% of this list overlaps with our list of best cities for families in Idaho, so you might just have an easy time convincing the kids and/or grandkids to move somewhere close by.
You might be asking just how we determined which spots have the most going on for retired folks. To weed out some anomalies that pop up with super-small communities, we only looked at places with a population of at least 5,000, which left us with 23 cities to rank. Then we looked at data from the Census, the FBI's Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights. Finally, we examined which places had plenty to do, a higher median age, a low cost of living, and a low crime rate. By ranking each of the 23 cities on a scale of 1 to 23, with lower numbers being better, we arrived at our result.
Which city ranked as the #1 spot to retire in Idaho? According to the data, Preston is the best spot to spend your retirement in the Gem State.
For more Idaho state reading:
- Best Places To Live In Idaho
- Cheapest Places To Live In Idaho
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Idaho
- Best Places To Retire In America
The 10 Best Places To Retire In Idaho For 2020
Preston is a city in Franklin County, Idaho, United States. The population was 5,204 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Franklin County. It is part of the Logan, Utah-Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Emmett is a city in Gem County, Idaho, United States. The population was 6,557 at the 2010 census, up from 5,490 in 2000. It is the county seat and the only city in the county. Emmett is part of the BoiseNampa, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Hailey is a city in and the county seat of Blaine County, in the Wood River Valley of the central part of the U.S. state of Idaho.
The city is named after John Hailey, a two-time Congressional delegate from the Idaho Territory.
Payette is a city in and the county seat of Payette County, Idaho, United States. The population was 7,433 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Ontario, ORID Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Moscow is a city in northern Idaho along the state border with Washington, with a population of 23,800 at the 2010 census. The county seat and largest city of Latah County, Moscow is the home of the University of Idaho, the state's land grant institution and primary research university, as well as the home of New Saint Andrews College, a Christian liberal arts college.
Rupert is the county seat and largest city of Minidoka County, Idaho, United States. It is part of the Burley Micropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,554 at the 2010 census.
Lewiston is a city in north central Idaho and the county seat of Nez Perce County. It is the second-largest city in the northern Idaho region, behind Coeur d'Alene, and ninth-largest in the state. Lewiston is the principal city of the Lewiston, ID - Clarkston, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Nez Perce County and Asotin County, Washington. As of the 2010 census, the population of Lewiston was 31,894, up from 30,904 in 2000.
Blackfoot is a city in Bingham County, Idaho, United States. The population was 11,899 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Bingham County. Blackfoot boasts the largest potato industry in any one area, and is known as the "Potato Capital of the World." It is the site of the Idaho Potato Museum, and the home of the world's largest baked potato and potato chip. Blackfoot is also the location of the Eastern Idaho State Fair, which operates between Labor Day weekend and the following weekend.
Rexburg is a city in Madison County, Idaho, United States. The population was 25,484 at the 2010 census, up from 17,257 in 2000. The city is the county seat of Madison County and its largest city. Rexburg is the principal city of the Rexburg, ID Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Fremont and Madison Counties. The city is home to Brigham Young University-Idaho, a private institution operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Idaho Falls is a city in and the county seat of Bonneville County, Idaho, United States, and is the largest city in Eastern Idaho. As of the 2010 census, the population of Idaho Falls was 56,813, with a metro population of 136,108. As of 2016, the population was estimated at 60,211.
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Gem State for 2020
To create our list of the best places in Idaho to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Gem State -- 224 cities and towns.
We then narrowed it down to places with at least 5,000 people that weren't townships. This left us with 23 places from across the state.
- Low cost of living as measured by rent
- Low crime
- Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
- Nice weather
- Distance to the closest international airport
- Other retirees (High median age)
We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 23, with the lowest number being the best.
Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Preston, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers. You can download the data here.
Maybe You're Not Ready To Retire In Idaho Yet...
So there you have it, the best place to retire in Idaho goes to Preston.
If you're not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:
For more Idaho reading, check out: