Moving to Idaho: State Relocation Guide

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Idaho is probably “potatoes.” But this state has more to offer beyond its tasty spuds, including beautiful scenery, an affordable cost of living, and excellent healthcare — all of which make it a great place to live. 

Idaho, otherwise known as the Gem State, has a reputation for being environmentally friendly and having beautiful landscapes. The capital city of Boise is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, and the housing prices are extremely affordable. 

The prospect of moving to Idaho can be intimidating. The state has a mix of urban, suburban, and rural areas spread out over a vast distance. 

If you have never lived in the Northwest, there are many factors to consider like climate, cost of living, education, and healthcare services. This helpful relocation guide will tell you all you need to know when contemplating moving to the Gem State.

Climate 

Your location in Idaho will be crucial to figuring out what type of climate to expect. Idaho has a mix of mountainous terrain and valleys in the great outdoors. Residents living near the mountains should expect cooler summers and high snowfall in the winter. 

Alternatively, individuals in the valleys with wide-open spaces will have less snow and higher temperatures in the summer.

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One thing is for sure: Idaho winters are cold. The temperature can fluctuate between 15-35 degrees from November to February. And if you’re living in the mountains, single-digit temperatures can be expected. This climate will be quite an adjustment for anyone moving from the South. 

Despite a chilly winter season, Idaho has warm summers. From May through September, Idaho’s average high temperatures range from 70-93 degrees. July and August are the hottest months of the year with significantly higher temperatures than the winter months.

Taxes

Idaho has one of the lowest property taxes in America. Given the state’s large size, the average property tax will slightly vary between rural and urban areas. 

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In 2020, the average property tax for rural Idaho residents was 0.798% and 1.129% for urban residents. These taxes go towards maintaining roads, parks, law enforcement, and education services. 

On average, Idaho homeowners can expect to pay around $1,575 in property taxes. These taxes are $1,000 lower than the national average. Bannock County has the highest average property tax rate in Idaho. However, homeowners still pay less than the national average. 

When purchasing goods or services in the state of Idaho, individuals are charged a 6% sales tax. 

Cost of Living

Compared to the national average, Idaho has an affordable cost of living in most categories. However, their median home price and average housing costs are more expensive than the U.S. average. The high median cost of homes could be due to a recent boom of residents relocating to Treasure Valley.

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Treasure Valley, located in Ada County, is an area within Idaho that contains major cities like Boise, Middleton, and Nampa. This area has seen rapid growth in businesses, job opportunities, population, and housing development. 

As of December 2021, the median home value was $546,000, and prospective residents were likely to pay $15,000 over the asking price to obtain a home in this coveted area. This significant growth may have inflated Idaho’s median home value and housing costs.

However, other counties in Idaho have more affordable housing options. For example, Gooding County and Gem County have low tax rates and median home values of $143,600 and $159,300, respectively. 

If you aren’t looking to live near the city, you’ll likely find a home for a lower cost than in many other states. 

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Idaho has a lower average salary—$58,478/year or $28/hour—compared to the national average wage of $66,665/year. Before moving to Idaho, you should determine which county to live in to help evaluate your financial needs. A lower-than-average salary rate may not be feasible for individuals who want to live near Boise.

Healthcare

Healthcare is an important factor to consider before moving to Idaho.

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Idaho sits comfortably at #24 in the U.S. for healthcare. This state has an excellent ranking for the quality of healthcare services—#12. However, accessing these healthcare services may prove difficult for some residents, as access is ranked #39. 

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare offers Medicaid services to low-income families and individuals with disabilities, and assists state residents who need home health aides. 

The Katie Beckett program helps families who have children with complex medical needs such as seizure disorders, Autism, and chronic conditions that impact the child’s quality of life. 

Education

In terms of education, Idaho sits in the middle of U.S. rankings at #29. Looking deeper into this score, Pre-K to Grade 12 services rank #23 in the nation, whereas Idaho’s higher education ranks slightly less favorably at #30. 

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Despite these facts, Idaho has some interesting potential colleges for prospective students. The University of Idaho ranks #179 for national colleges and prides itself in its beautiful campus. 

The College of Idaho ranks #136 for a liberal arts education. And while Boise State University remains unranked, this college is the only one in the nation that offers a degree in Raptor Biology.

Notable Highlights

There are a lot of reasons to love Idaho, but we’d be remiss not to discuss a large piece of Idaho’s identity: their love for potatoes. Potatoes are the pride and joy of Idaho, so much so that the state created the Idaho Potato Commission to ensure the authenticity of their spuds. 

History buffs with an affinity for potatoes might enjoy taking a trip to the Idaho Potato Museum to learn all about the various potato farms and fun spud facts. Beyond the Idaho Potato Museum, order french fries in a local establishment and try Idaho fry sauce, a mayonnaise-based sauce mixed with ketchup and mustard. 

But potatoes aren’t the only highlight of Idaho. Known as “The Gem State,” Idaho has found almost every kind of gemstone within its state territory. One of these rare minerals is the star garnet, an exclusive gemstone only found in Idaho and India. 

Sun Valley, Idaho is a resort city that offers a wide variety of food, entertainment, and outdoor activities to enjoy. 

Winter sports enthusiasts will love visiting Bald Mountain. This ski resort offers riders various trails and difficulty levels on 140 acres of land. Sun Valley is also home to Dollar Mountain, a family-friendly course for novice skiers and snowboarders. 

Given Idaho’s natural landscape, mountain biking is popular among residents. Bald Mountain Bike Park is a highly rated trail in Idaho for intermediate bikers. With a vast amount of mountain bike trails throughout the state, any rider from novice to expert can find a great riding location. 

Once you’re done hitting the trails, hop into one of Idaho’s natural hot springs. Idaho has at least 24 different hot spring locations across the state. Visitors to the springs will be greeted with a gorgeous view of Idaho’s natural landscape. Some of these locations even overlook the mountains. 

Best Places to Live

As you can see, there is a lot to love about the Gem State. But truth be told, the process of moving to a new state can feel intimidating for anyone. 

Here are some useful tips and tricks to make your move as smooth as possible: 

  • Consider the climate Depending upon the state you are moving from, the environment of Idaho could be warmer or colder. Take a look at the temperature so you can pack away clothes you won’t need immediately and prepare appropriate attire. 
  • Secure your essentials — Keep important documents in a safe, secure location that will be easy to reach when you need them. 
  • Pack smart — Donate or discard any items you don’t want to take with you. Carefully wrap fragile items and label your boxes accordingly. 
  • Transport your car — Guardian Auto Transport provides an excellent state-to-state shipping service that ensures your vehicle will arrive safely at your new location. 

Now that you have considered these moving suggestions, let’s look at the top 5 places to live in Idaho: 

Highlands

Highlands is a neighborhood in Boise, Idaho with a population of 5,061 and a sparse suburban feel. Highlands has excellent public schools, making this a popular location for young professionals looking for job opportunities and to start a family. 

This neighborhood is also known for its exciting nightlife, dining experiences, and local parks. However, purchasing a home in the area of Highland will be expensive. This neighborhood has a median home value of $523,111. 

Central Hills

Central Hills is very similar to Highlands but with half the population. This small neighborhood in Boise has approximately 2,163 residents with a sparse suburban feel. 

More than half of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher. Located in Ada county, Central Hills has an above-average median home value of $501,800. 

East End

East End is another popular neighborhood in the Boise area with a dense suburban feel. They have a larger population of 11,926 people and an excellent public school system. Residents in this area tend to vote conservatively on the political spectrum. 

East End is close to downtown Boise and has a low crime rate. So, there are a lot of activities available in this safe community.  

Boise Heights

Boise Heights is a small community of mostly retired individuals with conservative views. Their population of 2,649 is spread out across the sparse suburban area. 

Much like Highlands, buying a house in Boise Heights will be pricey. On average, homes in this neighborhood go for a whopping $554,349. 

North End

While North End is another neighborhood in the big city of Boise, there are some key differences that make it stand apart from the other highly rated places to live. 

North End has a population of 12,890 and most residents lean liberal. This neighborhood has a dense suburban feel and offers highly rated public and private schools, perfect for raising a family. 

Conclusion

Idaho has so much more to offer than just potato crops. The taxes are low, the quality of healthcare is great, the mountainous terrain is beautiful. This is a great place to live for nature enthusiasts and winter sports lovers alike. 

Moving to Idaho can put a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on your car, but Guardian Auto Transport is here to help. 

Our team of professionals will help you transport your vehicle to Idaho or ship from state to state, so you can focus on the essentials. Answer a few questions about your upcoming move and receive an instant quote for vehicle transport.

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