Residents mix and mingle among restaurants and other Eighth Street businesses in Boise on March 20, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
The latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates show the city of Boise lost nearly 1,400 residents from 2021 to 2022, while all of the other top 19 most populated Idaho cities gained residents.
Overall, the state’s population is still growing, but the pace of that growth has slowed from recent years, according to a press release from the Idaho Department of Labor.
The total number of people living in Idaho cities grew by 1.9% or 25,648 new residents, according to the U.S. census data. That’s one tenth of a percent faster than the state rate, and considerably slower than the previous year — July 2020 to July 2021 — which grew by 3.2%, according to the data.
“Analysts suspect high housing costs contribute to the loss in Boise population, forcing households with children to seek more affordable housing in nearby communities,” the press release said.
Six Idaho cities contributing the most growth are in southwestern Idaho, the press release said, while three are in northern Idaho and one is in south central Idaho. Of the top 20 largest cities, only three have populations of more than 100,000 — Boise, Meridian and Nampa.
The city of Paul, located between Rupert and Burley in southeastern Idaho, was Idaho’s fastest growing city with a 20% growth rate and over 250 new residents, according to the U.S. census data. Paul’s total population is just over 1,700. Star followed with a 13% increase of over 1,600 new residents to almost 15,000.
The cities that grew the fastest from July 2021 to July 2022 generally have smaller population levels, while half are in northern Idaho.
Cities with the greatest number of new residents are generally Idaho’s Top 20 largest cities – except for Garden City and Sandpoint. The two cities ranked seventh and eighth respectively, with both adding about 600 residents, according to the data.
Nearly 177 cities reported population growth, with the remaining 22 showing a decline for the 2021-2022 time frame.
A full list of all Idaho cities’ population estimates can be found at lmi.idaho.gov/census.
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