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Is Boise the Fastest Growing City in Idaho?

Boise: Is It the Fastest Growing City in Idaho?

Hey, Dave Edwards, Treasure Valley Dave, in Boise, Idaho. And I’m going through the internet here to find news stories that might answer some of your questions. So the last several years, Idaho’s been growing, growing, growing. You would think Boise, the capital, is Idaho’s biggest and fastest growing city. But these recent headlines are saying that Boise’s shrinking. 

So, what’s up with that? Let’s get into the deep dive here. 

Is Boise Shrinking?

So this story comes from our friends at KIDO Talk Radio, specifically Kevin Miller. He starts with some exciting information on our topic today.

Americans Continue to Move to Idaho

Well, that’s true. Nineteen cities experienced growth, while Idaho’s capital Boise did not. Boise’s mayor, Mayor McLean, has been plagued by scandals and lawsuits. Is that why people aren’t staying in Boise? Is that why they’re moving out?

Several public interest groups fear that the quaintness of Idaho’s capital may be lost due to the greed of overzealous developers. Meridian, Nampa, and other Idaho cities have been benefiting, and folks who live in Boise continue to struggle with high taxes and escalating home prices.

No Affordable Homes in Boise

Mayor McLean ran on a platform about affordable housing, but few have seen affordable homes in Boise. When she got into office, she started doing the same thing that we see in other left-leaning liberal cities. 

Maybe she’s trying to turn Boise into Portland or San Francisco by putting in these audacious requirements for these terrible, mean, old developers. After all, they need to build low-income housing for free to give out to people and bear those costs by other people buying their houses. And is that really how the affordable housing market is supposed to work? Nobody read any books on economics back in school. Probably too busy doing protests or sit-ins or something. I’m not sure.

Boise's Shrinking Population

Here’s another story again from another one from KIDO Talk Radio. This one comes from Chris Cruise. (Thanks, Chris!) So he says that he is “gobsmacked”. That means this is going to be serious.

He said, “We’re shocked, stunned, and amazed. Unless you live under a rock in the Metaverse, you’ve absolutely heard that Boise is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.” Well, yeah, we have heard that.

“In fact, we’re all wrong!” he says.

Boise’s population shrunk by over 1,300 people. Some other large cities in Idaho aren’t experiencing the same loss. Star, Caldwell, and Nampa all saw increases, leaving Boise on an island of loss.

“Why?” He asked. “Why?”

No Elbow Room in Boise

Well, Becky, the Boise Regional Realtor’s president, said people want more wiggle room. They want some more elbow room. Well, that’s true. I know that Boise recently updated their zoning catalog and all its rules.

Now, you can have more houses in less space — more dense, more California-ish. So that’s the direction Boise’s going. Bless their hearts.

Boise Is NOT Shrinking

So back to this number… is Boise shrinking

Our friends here at BoiseDev.com got some great information in it. So Don Day deep dives into this and says that the Idaho Department of Labor has used the US Census Bureau’s data. They found this surprising data point that there are only 1,387 fewer people in Boise.

“And analysts suspect high housing costs contribute to the loss in the Boise population, forcing households with children to seek more affordable housing in nearby community.” That’s probably true. As I understand it, it is more expensive to develop in Boise because of some of these onerous Marxist rules that they’re putting in place. 

Or perhaps the market is speaking, and people want more elbow room. So developers are building out further away from the big city. And so the sign coming in off the freeway says 205,000. And that’s like a village when you get down in most places in California — that’s hardly anybody. 

So our big city problems up here are nothing on the scale of what you guys have in California, Portland, or Seattle. It’s just a night and day difference. But we want to keep this lovely place free from Marxism and hooligans. That’s why we need you to move up here: to help us ensure that when we vote politicians in, they are held accountable.


Going back to this story here. The Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS) digs deep into the numbers, and then they report to different government agencies so they can do their planning. So the whole thing about COMPASS is they have to be accurate.

Austin Miller at COMPASS says that they look at things very granularly. On the other hand, the Census has expansive brush strokes. So what’s true?

Well, Miller says that no estimate is perfect at the end of the day. “They’re all estimates,” he says. “None of them are perfectly accurate. If you take everything with a grain of salt, as long as they’re close, which they are.”

Boise isn’t shrinking a lot, if any. It isn’t growing a lot, if any. It’s like holding steady, which is weird because all these other towns in Idaho are having some growth.

Idaho Cities Are Growing

According to Kevin Miller again, Nampa, Meridian, and other cities have been growing. Meridian grew by 3.2%. Well, that’s alright. Caldwell, 3.2%. That’s not Boise either, is it? Post Falls, 3.6%. Wow. Why? It’s cold up there. But still, it’s got friendly people. 

Nampa comes in at number two, 4.2%. This is excellent growth, although it’s not ridiculous. And Little Star grew 13%. Now, that’s a good chunk of change. But mind you; it was smaller to start with. So the Star will have a little more growing pains because they’re smaller. About the same amount of people moved to Nampa as did to Star. Nampa is more extensive and has more infrastructure, so we can absorb that.

The Verdict

To put a bow on it, Idaho’s still great. Idaho’s still growing. Boise is staying about the same, and that’s because people are voting with their feet. And it shows. 

Canyon County, where Nampa and Caldwell is… do you know who’s moving to Canyon County the most? It’s not people from California. It’s not people from Oregon. It’s people from Ada County. That would be Boise and Meridian. So most of the growth in Canyon County is due to people leaving Ada County. 

Perhaps part of that may be seen during that lockdown thing we had a couple of years ago. Canyon County handled that so much differently and more with freedom in mind than, say, Ada County did. 

That’s especially true for Boise — I mean McLean. If anybody deserved a moniker that had something to do with Marxism during that time, it might’ve been her. Just an opinion; I could be wrong. 

So anyway, Canyon County’s great. Idaho’s great. Treasure Valley’s great. And well, that’s about it. As always, Treasure Valley Dave, looking forward to helping you get home. 

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