These Are The 10 Best Small Towns In Idaho


We used science and data to determine which small towns in Idaho are the best of the best.

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You’ve seen these lists before: Best places to live in Idaho, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Gem State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in Idaho based on numbers–not opinions or hearsay.

We’ll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in Idaho ranked the based–you know, based on science. Here are the 10 Best Small Towns in Idaho (in which to live):

  1. Hayden Lake
  2. Genesee
  3. Troy
  4. Rockford Bay
  5. Inkom
  6. Dover
  7. Kootenai
  8. Cottonwood
  9. Groveland
  10. Paris

If you live in one of these small towns like Hayden Lake, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you–keep reading and we’ll get to just why these small towns made our list.

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How We Determined The Best Small Towns In Idaho

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the Census’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • High School Dropouts (Lower is better)
  • Crime Rates (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 1,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 100 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 100, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in Idaho. Top of that list — Hayden Lake.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 10 best small towns in Idaho. Or feel free to check out the best places overall to live in Idaho.

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1. Hayden Lake


Population 2014: 551
Median Income: $61,488
Median Home Price: $422,400
Crime Per 100k: 924

2. Genesee


Population 2014: 994
Median Income: $56,932
Median Home Price: $150,900
Crime Per 100k: 2,366

3. Troy


Population 2014: 763
Median Income: $65,000
Median Home Price: $164,300
Crime Per 100k: 2,101

4. Rockford Bay


Population 2014: 251
Median Income: $76,667
Median Home Price: $708,300
Crime Per 100k: 924

5. Inkom


Population 2014: 913
Median Income: $52,933
Median Home Price: $127,900
Crime Per 100k: 2,494

6. Dover


Population 2014: 696
Median Income: $72,656
Median Home Price: $281,900
Crime Per 100k: 924

7. Kootenai


Population 2014: 817
Median Income: $42,917
Median Home Price: $150,000
Crime Per 100k: 2,430

8. Cottonwood


Population 2014: 936
Median Income: $40,000
Median Home Price: $121,500
Crime Per 100k: 1,096

9. Groveland


Population 2014: 549
Median Income: $41,964
Median Home Price: $164,200
Crime Per 100k: 2,462

10. Paris


Population 2014: 535
Median Income: $42,917
Median Home Price: $144,100
Crime Per 100k: 2,516

Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we’ll say it again — this list: it’s just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 10 small towns in Idaho are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you’re curious, here are the worst small towns in Idaho:

  1. De Smet
  2. Tensed
  3. Bliss

For more Idaho reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In Idaho

City Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price Crime Per 100k
Hayden Lake 1 551 $61,488 $422,400 924
Genesee 2 994 $56,932 $150,900 2,366
Troy 3 763 $65,000 $164,300 2,101
Rockford Bay 4 251 $76,667 $708,300 924
Inkom 5 913 $52,933 $127,900 2,494
Dover 6 696 $72,656 $281,900 924
Kootenai 7 817 $42,917 $150,000 2,430
Cottonwood 8 936 $40,000 $121,500 1,096
Groveland 9 549 $41,964 $164,200 2,462
Paris 10 535 $42,917 $144,100 2,516
Carey 11 742 $59,063 $185,300 2,459
Albion 12 303 $51,667 $135,900 2,530
Franklin 13 1,002 $46,771 $134,400 1,025
Garden Valley 14 356 $32,313 $358,300 924
Island Park 15 172 $38,125 $193,400 2,219
Weston 16 503 $42,143 $138,300 2,862
Bloomington 17 146 $46,250 $143,800 2,729
Grace 18 832 $47,500 $110,700 2,687
Deary 19 565 $52,368 $128,600 2,640
Bennington 20 230 $36,736 $176,100 2,658
Worley 21 235 $48,333 $77,200 2,869
Menan 22 783 $57,679 $137,500 2,708
Craigmont 23 521 $47,917 $94,200 2,689
Riggins 24 432 $22,250 $171,700 2,426
Newdale 25 312 $32,031 $125,000 2,833
Parker 26 321 $39,875 $123,900 2,808
Dayton 27 460 $46,250 $182,400 2,579
Wallace 28 1,034 $35,714 $157,400 868
Irwin 29 177 $46,250 $147,900 1,993
Donnelly 30 175 $42,273 $184,800 2,441
Potlatch 31 754 $42,109 $113,100 2,913
Winchester 32 306 $32,917 $116,700 2,896
Juliaetta 33 666 $46,250 $122,000 2,594
Wardner 34 168 $38,125 $123,400 2,765
Declo 35 332 $52,500 $104,200 2,940
Nezperce 36 405 $41,875 $87,300 2,934
Kendrick 37 416 $35,982 $135,300 2,652
Firth 38 636 $48,077 $99,700 3,077
Tetonia 39 255 $57,500 $206,000 2,117
Teton 40 683 $40,642 $122,100 2,873
Moore 41 211 $47,813 $114,600 2,899
Richfield 42 474 $45,500 $105,000 3,017
Harrison 43 250 $32,625 $230,900 1,977
Mullan 44 724 $40,536 $84,800 2,815
Clark Fork 45 598 $28,913 $140,100 2,756
Rockford 46 253 $72,589 $137,100 2,622
Mackay 47 530 $37,813 $103,000 2,913
Lava Hot Springs 48 347 $34,792 $129,700 2,604
Idaho City 49 538 $31,250 $150,700 2,490
Leadore 50 233 $35,469 $98,000 3,120
Fairfield 51 483 $37,750 $112,900 2,796
Dietrich 52 379 $49,583 $101,800 3,001
Lewisville 53 511 $26,000 $125,000 2,782
Onaway 54 272 $36,688 $106,300 2,909
Arimo 55 363 $50,781 $96,400 3,078
Hazelton 56 874 $37,929 $100,400 3,156
Athol 57 669 $39,167 $107,100 2,993
Moyie Springs 58 946 $36,167 $128,000 2,913
Crouch 59 276 $26,583 $160,400 2,765
Ferdinand 60 183 $37,500 $104,700 3,045
Horseshoe Bend 61 1,059 $40,000 $72,500 1,131
Mud Lake 62 318 $39,792 $95,000 3,266
Bovill 63 233 $38,750 $68,500 3,215
Council 64 874 $33,409 $98,000 3,000
Downey 65 485 $34,118 $93,400 3,125
Clifton 66 317 $35,179 $131,300 3,027
Basalt 67 414 $38,750 $93,800 3,176
Arbon Valley 68 672 $41,875 $132,400 2,867
Mccammon 69 758 $38,426 $108,200 3,027
Eden 70 393 $32,955 $81,800 3,219
Pierce 71 682 $42,639 $79,700 3,023
Bancroft 72 341 $42,708 $90,600 3,172
Melba 73 576 $34,750 $105,100 3,140
Oakley 74 991 $38,750 $105,800 3,113
Peck 75 219 $34,375 $90,000 3,024
Midvale 76 186 $35,625 $100,000 2,866
New Meadows 77 620 $33,333 $94,000 3,227
Kooskia 78 747 $26,875 $80,600 3,229
Sweetwater 79 91 $46,563 $92,500 2,450
Smiths Ferry 80 116 $28,750 $97,000 3,112
Ririe 81 838 $40,833 $71,700 3,465
Acequia 82 191 $24,375 $85,000 3,415
Dubois 83 616 $36,354 $78,400 3,051
Hauser 84 830 $34,875 $37,500 3,411
Notus 85 462 $37,500 $88,800 3,215
Rockland 86 314 $32,500 $71,300 3,516
Culdesac 87 450 $30,000 $84,000 3,153
Smelterville 88 544 $17,083 $72,200 3,314
Cambridge 89 222 $28,500 $88,400 3,016
Grand View 90 543 $25,000 $103,300 3,097
Castleford 91 189 $26,250 $58,200 3,621
Stites 92 193 $21,667 $72,900 3,191
Weippe 93 340 $37,500 $81,900 3,162
Oldtown 94 282 $34,750 $81,700 3,226
Roberts 95 562 $29,125 $64,500 3,544
Malta 96 107 $21,875 $67,500 3,605
Hollister 97 269 $44,375 $77,000 3,281
Bliss 98 302 $21,739 $65,000 3,257
Tensed 99 80 $22,083 $91,300 3,209
De Smet 100 153 $33,929 $57,500 3,469

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