|State of Idaho|
|Nickname(s): Gem State|
|Motto(s): Esto perpetua|
(and largest city)
|Largest metro||Boise metropolitan area|
83,570 sq mi
|- Width||305 miles (491 km)|
|- Length||479 miles (771 km)|
|- % water||0.98|
|- Latitude||42° N to 49° N|
|- Longitude||111°03′ W to 117°15′ W|
|- Total||1,612,136 (2013 est)|
19.2/sq mi (7.40/km2)
|- Highest point||
12,662 ft (3,859 m)
|- Mean||5,000 ft (1,520 m)|
|- Lowest point||
Confluence of Snake and Clearwater River; Lewiston
713 ft (217 m)
|Before statehood||Idaho Territory|
|Admission to Union||July 3, 1890 (43rd)|
|Governor||C. L. "Butch" Otter (R)|
|Lieutenant Governor||Brad Little (R)|
|- Upper house||Senate|
|- Lower house||House of Representatives|
Mike Crapo (R)
Jim Risch (R)
|U.S. House delegation||
1-Raúl Labrador (R)
2-Mike Simpson (R) (list)
|- north of Salmon River||Pacific: UTC −8/−7|
|- remainder||Mountain: UTC −7/−6|
|Abbreviations||ID, List of U.S. state abbreviations ID, US-ID|
Idaho () is a state in the northwestern region of the United States. Idaho is the 14th largest, the 39th most populous, and the 7th least densely populated of the 50 United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state.
Idaho is a mountainous state with an area larger than that of all of New England. It borders the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north, Montana to the northeast, Wyoming to the east, Nevada and Utah to the south, and Washington and Oregon to the west. The network of dams and locks on the Columbia River and Snake River make the city of Lewiston the farthest inland seaport on the Pacific coast of the contiguous United States.
Idaho's nickname is the "Gem State", because nearly every known type of gemstone has been found there. In addition, Idaho is one of only two places in the world where star garnets can be found in any significant quantities, the other being India. Idaho is sometimes called the "Potato State" owing to its popular and widely distributed crop. The state motto is Esto Perpetua (Latin for "Let it be forever").
- Etymology 1
- Climate 2.1
- Lakes/Rivers 2.2
- History 3
- Religion 4.1
- Economy 5
- Energy 6
- Highways 7.1
- Airports 7.2
- Railroads 7.3
- Ports 7.4
Law and government 8
- State Constitution 8.1
- Idaho Code 8.2
State government 8.3
- Executive Branch 8.3.1
- Legislative Branch 8.3.2
- Judicial Branch 8.3.3
- Counties 8.3.4
- Politics 8.3.5
- Important cities and towns 9
- National Parks, Reserves, Monuments and Historic sites 10
- National Recreation Areas 11
- National Wildlife Refuges 12
National Conservation Areas 13
- State parks 13.1
- Colleges and universities 14.1
- Sports 15
- Official state emblems 16
- Idahoans 17
- See also 18
- References 19
- External links 20
The exact origin of the name remains a mystery. In the early 1860s, when the Shoshone language term meaning "the sun comes from the mountains" or "gem of the mountains". Willing later claimed that he had simply invented the name. Congress ultimately decided to name the area Colorado Territory when it was created in February 1861. Thinking they would get a jump on the name, locals named a community in Colorado "Idaho Springs".
However, the name "Idaho" did not fall into obscurity. The same year Congress created Colorado Territory, a county called Idaho County was created in eastern Washington Territory. The county was named after a steamship named Idaho, which was launched on the Columbia River in 1860. It is unclear whether the steamship was named before or after Willing's claim was revealed. Regardless, a portion of Washington Territory, including Idaho County, was used to create Idaho Territory in 1863.
Despite this lack of evidence for the origin of the name, many textbooks well into the 20th century repeated as fact Willing's account that the name "Idaho" derived from the Shoshone term "ee-da-how".
An excerpt from a 1956 Idaho history textbook:
- "Idaho" is a Shoshoni Indian exclamation. The word consists of three parts. The first is "Ee", which in English conveys the idea of "coming down". The second is "dah" which is the Shoshoni stem or root for both "sun" and "mountain". The third syllable, "how", denotes the exclamation and stands for the same thing in Shoshoni that the exclamation mark (!) does in the English language. The Shoshoni word is "Ee-dah-how", and the Indian thought thus conveyed when translated into English means, "Behold! the sun coming down the mountain".
According to local knowledge, the name Idaho originated from the Nez Perce language and stands for "the Land of many Waters", a kidney-shaped drainage area in north central Idaho in which a multitude of rivers come together. These rivers include the Snake, the Salmon, the Clearwater, North Fork Clearwater, the Selway, and more. The famed steamboat was probably named 'Idaho' because it voyaged along the Columbia river to "the Land of many Waters".
Idaho borders six states and one Canadian province. The states of Shoshone Falls plunges down rugged cliffs from a height greater than that of Niagara Falls. The major rivers in Idaho are the Snake River, the Clark Fork/Pend Oreille River, the Clearwater River, the Salmon River. Other significant rivers include the Coeur d'Alene River, the Spokane River, the Boise River, and the Payette River. The Salmon River empties into the Snake in Hells Canyon and forms the southern boundary of Nez Perce County on its north shore, of which Lewiston is the county seat. The Port of Lewiston, at the confluence of the Clearwater and the Snake Rivers is the farthest inland seaport on the West Coast at 465 river miles from the Pacific at Astoria, Oregon.
Idaho's highest point is Borah Peak, 12,662 ft (3,859 m), in the Lost River Range north of Mackay. Idaho's lowest point, 710 ft (216 m), is in Lewiston, where the Clearwater River joins the Snake River and continues into Washington. The Sawtooth Range is often considered Idaho's most famous mountain range. Other mountain ranges in Idaho include the Bitterroot Range, the White Cloud Mountains, the Lost River Range, the Clearwater Mountains, and the Salmon River Mountains.
Idaho has two time zones, with the dividing line approximately midway between Canada and Nevada. Southern Idaho, including the Boise metropolitan area, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Twin Falls, are in the Mountain Time Zone. A legislative error (15 U.S.C. ch. 6 §264) theoretically placed this region in the Central Time Zone, but this was corrected with a 2007 amendment. Areas north of the Salmon River, including Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, Lewiston, and Sandpoint, are in the Pacific Time Zone, which contains less than a quarter of the state's population and land area.
Idaho has much variation in its climate. Although the state's western border is located about 350 miles (560 km) from the Pacific Ocean, the maritime influence is still felt in Idaho, especially in the winter when cloud cover, humidity, and precipitation are at their maximum extent. This influence has a moderating effect in the winter where temperatures are not as low as would otherwise be expected for a northern state with predominantly high elevations. The maritime influence is least prominent in the eastern part of the state where the precipitation patterns are often reversed, with wetter summers and drier winters, and seasonal temperature differences more extreme, showing a more semi-arid continental climate.
Climate in Idaho can be hot, although extended periods over 98 °F (37 °C) for the maximum temperature are rare, except for the lowest point in elevation, Lewiston, which correspondingly sees very little snow. Hot summer days are tempered by the low relative humidity and cooler evenings during summer months since, for most of the state, the highest diurnal difference in temperature is often in the summer. Winters can be cold, although extended periods of bitter cold weather below zero are unusual. This is what led the railroad tycoon Harriman family to develop the famous ski resort, Sun Valley. Idaho's all-time highest temperature of 118 °F (48 °C) was recorded at Orofino on July 28, 1934; the all-time lowest temperature of −60 °F (−51 °C) was recorded at Island Park Dam on January 18, 1943.
|Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various Idaho cities. (°F)|
- Alturas Lake
- Bear Lake (Idaho-Utah)
- Clearwater River
- Dierkes Lake
- Hayden Lake
- Henry's Lake
- Hidden Lake
- Lake Cascade
- Lake Cleveland
- Lake Coeur d'Alene
- Lake Lowell
- Lake Walcott
- Payette Lake, (McCall)
- Pend Oreille
- Little Redfish Lake
- Lucky Peak Lake
- Pettit Lake
- Priest Lake
- Redfish Lake
- Sawtooth Lake
- Stanley Lake
- Warm Lake
- Williams Lake(Salmon)
- Snake River
- Boise River
Humans may have been present in the Idaho area as long as 14,500 years ago. Excavations at Wilson Butte Cave near Twin Falls in 1959 revealed evidence of human activity, including arrowheads, that rank among the oldest dated artifacts in North America. American Indian peoples predominant in the area included the Nez Percé in the north and the Northern and Western Shoshone in the south.
An early presence of French-Canadian trappers is visible in names and toponyms that have survived to this day: Nez Percé, Cœur d'Alène, Boisé, Payette, some preexisting the Lewis and Clark and Astorian expeditions which themselves included significant numbers of French and Metis guides recruited for their familiarity with the terrain.
Idaho, as part of the Oregon Country, was claimed by both the United States and Great Britain until the United States gained undisputed jurisdiction in 1846. From 1843 to 1849, present-day Idaho was under the de facto jurisdiction of the Provisional Government of Oregon. When Oregon became a state, what is now Idaho was in what remained of the original Oregon Territory not part of the new state, and designated as the Washington Territory.
Between then and the creation of the
|Nevada • Utah|
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on July 3, 1890 (43rd)
- State of Idaho government.
- Idaho at DMOZ
- Energy Profile for Idaho, .
- Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
- "Idaho Newspapers", US newspapers.
- Idaho State Databases (wiki), Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association – Annotated list of searchable databases produced by Idaho state agencies.
- Idaho State Facts, USDA.
- Log Cabins in America: The Finnish Experience (teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan), National Park Service.
- The History of Idaho, State government.
- "States", Quick facts, US: Census Bureau.
- Real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of Idaho, USGS.
- Geographic data related to Idaho at OpenStreetMap
- "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013" (
- "Beauty Reset". NGS data sheet.
- "Elevations and Distances in the United States".
- Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
- "Western States Data Public Land Acreage". Wildlandfire.com. November 13, 2007. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "USDA Forest Service – Comment Form". Fs.fed.us. April 1, 2005. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- Just, Rick. "Star Garnet." Idaho Snapshots. Meridian, Idaho: Radio Idaho, 1990. 9.
- "Garnet Digging at the Emerald Creek Garnet Area".
- "Star Garnet: The Gem of Life". StarGemstones.com. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
- Rees, John E (1928) . "Idaho – its meaning, origin and application". Internet Archive. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "Idaho". Encarta. MSN. Archived from the original on November 1, 2009.
- "Did Idaho Get Its Name As a Result of a Hoax?". Museum of hoaxes. April 25, 2006. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "Origins of the Name "Idaho" and How Idaho Became a Territory in 1863", Idaho Museum of Natural History (.
- "Idaho", Etym online (dictionary).
- Barber; Martin (1956). Idaho in the Pacific Northwest. Caxton Printers; Library of Congress. 55-5192.
- "Port of Lewiston". US history. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "Sawtooth Range". Idaho climbing guide. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "Part of Idaho in fourth zone". U.S. Code. Washington, D.C., U.S.: House of representatives. 264.
- "Climate of Idaho". WRCC. DRI. February 20, 1954. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- Weather Idaho, US travel weather.
- "David Thompson's Trading Post". Idaho Forts. American Forts Network.
- "Fur Trade Posts In Idaho" (
- "Donald MacKenzie's Post". Idaho Forts. American Forts Network.
- Bennett, Eldon T. "An Early History of Franklin". Franklin, ID. Retrieved May 19, 2008.
- "Elias Davidson Pierce and the Founding of Pierce" (PDF). Idaho State Historical Society. August 1966. Retrieved May 19, 2008.
- "Territorial Government in Idaho, 1863–1869" (PDF). Reference (48). ID,
- Tanenhaus, David S. "Mormon" (PDF). The Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States (entry). Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- Schwantes, Carlos (1991). In Mountain Shadows: a History of Idaho. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
- Doyle, Randall (2004). A political dynasty in North Idaho, 1933–1967. University Press. p. 7.
- "The Power of Idaho" (whitepaper). ID: Economic Development Association. 2004. Retrieved October 7, 2007.
- "Decennial Census".
- "Idaho", QuickFacts, US: Census Bureau, retrieved July 12, 2013.
- Exner, Rich (June 3, 2012). "Americans under age 1 now mostly minorities, but not in Ohio: Statistical Snapshot".
- Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States
- Population of Idaho: Census 2010 and 2000 Interactive Map, Demographics, Statistics, Quick Facts
- 2010 Census Data
- "Idaho". QuickFacts. US: Census Bureau. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "Population and Population Centers by State".
- "Religious Landscape Study" (PDF) (report). Pew forum. 2-22. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "State Membership Report". Data Archives. The Arda. 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- "GDP by State Database".
- "Idaho". Quick facts. US: Census. 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- Zuivelzicht, April 25, 2007.
- "Today in History: March 4". Memory. Washington, DC, US: Library of Congress. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "About Clearwater". 2014.
- "Conservatism given credit by Samuelson". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. November 10, 1966. p. 1.
- "Sales tax rate history". State of Idaho. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Fundivo: "Best and Worst States for Business Owners"
- "Facts At a Glance". Idaho Lottery. 2007. Archived from the original on June 13, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2007.
- "2007 Idaho Energy Plan" (
- "Idaho Energy Profile". Energy Information Administration. 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance Frequently Asked Questions". Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance. 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "FAQ". Idaho Energy Complex. 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "Renewable Energy Technical Potential", GIS, NREL.
- US Installed Wind Capacity, Wind powering America.
- Sherwood, Lawrence ‘Larry’ (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved June 29, 2011.
- Sherwood, Lawrence ‘Larry’ (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved August 16, 2012.
"FAQ". ITD. 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
The transportation department also oversees federal grants to 15 rural and urban public transportation systems, provides state rail planning and rail-project development and supports bicycle and pedestrian projects.
- "Idaho District Court Websites". ID: ISC. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
- "Pierce". Idaho History. July 7, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- General Election Results, ID: Secretary of State Election Division, November 4, 2008.
- "ID", Elections 1 998 (profile), NCSL, 2006
- "Statewide totals", Election (results), ID: State government, 2008.
- "State Symbols". ID: Secretary of State. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- "Reference" (
- Outline of Idaho – organized list of topics about Idaho
- List of counties in Idaho
- Index of Idaho-related articles
- List of companies based in Idaho
- State Amphibian: Tiger salamander
- State Bird: Mountain Bluebird
- State Dance: Square Dance
- State Fish: Cutthroat trout
- State Flower: Syringa (Philadelphus lewisii)
- State Fossil: Hagerman Horse (Equus simplicidens)
- State Fruit: Huckleberry
- State Gem: Idaho star garnet
- State Horse: Appaloosa
- State Motto: Esto perpetua ("Let it be perpetual")
- State Insect: Monarch butterfly
- State Raptor: Peregrine falcon
- State Song: Here We Have Idaho
- State Tree: Western White Pine
- State Vegetable: Potato
|Idaho state symbols|
|Animal and Plant insignia|
|Tree||Western White Pine|
|Slogan(s)||Great Potatoes. Tasty Destinations.|
|Song(s)||Here We Have Idaho|
Released in 2007
|Lists of United States state symbols|
Official state emblems
High school sports are overseen by the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA).
Boise is the host to the largest 5 km run for women, the St. Luke's Women's Fitness Celebration.
|Boise Hawks||Baseball||Northwest - (Class A)|
|Boise State Broncos||NCAA||Div I FBS – MWC|
|Idaho Vandals||NCAA||Div I FBS – WAC|
|Idaho State Bengals||NCAA||Div I FCS – Big Sky|
|Idaho Falls Chukars||Baseball||Pioneer - (Rookie)|
|Idaho Stampede||Basketball||NBA D-League|
|Idaho Steelheads||Ice hockey||ECHL|
Central Idaho is home to one of North America's oldest ski resorts, Sun Valley, where the world's first chairlift was installed in 1936. Other noted outdoor sites include Hell's Canyon, the Salmon River, and its embarkation point of Riggins.
- Boise Bible College
- Boise State University
- Brigham Young University-Idaho
- College of Idaho
- College of Southern Idaho
- College of Western Idaho
- Eastern Idaho Technical College
- Idaho State University
- Lewis-Clark State College
- New Saint Andrews College
- North Idaho College
- Northwest Nazarene University
- University of Idaho
Private institutions in Idaho are Boise Bible College, affiliated with congregations of the Christian churches and churches of Christ; Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, which is affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a sister college to Brigham Young University; The College of Idaho in Caldwell, which still maintains a loose affiliation with the Presbyterian Church; Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa; and New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, of reformed Christian theological background.
Idaho has three regional community colleges: North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene; College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls; and College of Western Idaho in Nampa, which opened in 2009. A public technical college, Eastern Idaho Technical College, operates in Idaho Falls.
The Idaho State Board of Education oversees three comprehensive universities. The University of Idaho in Moscow was the first university in the state (founded in 1889). It opened its doors in 1892 and is the land-grant institution and primary research university of the state. Idaho State University in Pocatello opened in 1901 as the Academy of Idaho, attained four-year status in 1947 and university status in 1963. Boise State University is the most recent school to attain university status in Idaho. The school opened in 1932 as Boise Junior College and became Boise State University in 1974. Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston is the only public, non-university 4-year college in Idaho. It opened as a normal school in 1893.
Colleges and universities
- Bear Lake State Park
- Bruneau Dunes State Park
- Castle Rocks State Park
- City of Rocks National Reserve
- Coeur d'Alene Parkway State Park
- Dworshak State Park
- Eagle Island State Park
- Farragut State Park
- Harriman State Park
- Hells Gate State Park
- Henrys Lake State Park
- Heyburn State Park
- Lake Cascade State Park
- Lake Walcott State Park
- Land of the Yankee Fork State Park
- Lucky Peak State Park
- Massacre Rocks State Park
- McCroskey State Park
- Old Mission State Park
- Ponderosa State Park
- Priest Lake State Park
- Round Lake State Park
- Thousand Springs State Park
- Three Island Crossing State Park
- Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
- Winchester Lake State Park
National Conservation Areas
- Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge
- Camas National Wildlife Refuge
- Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge
- Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge
- Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge
- Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge
National Wildlife Refuges
National Recreation Areas
- California National Historic Trail
- City of Rocks National Reserve
- Craters of the Moon National Monument
- Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
- Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
- Minidoka National Historic Site
- Nez Perce National Historical Park
- Oregon National Historic Trail
- Yellowstone National Park
National Parks, Reserves, Monuments and Historic sites
- American Falls – first town to be entirely relocated
- Arco – first city to be lit by electricity generated from a nuclear power plant
- Bonners Ferry – northernmost major town in Idaho
- Buhl – "Trout capital of the world"
- Bone- population 2, but still has gas station
- Cascade - Lake Cascade and dam
- Driggs – skiing (Grand Targhee)
- Filer – suburb of Twin Falls
- Homedale - "Gateway to the Owyhees"
- Island Park – snowmobiling, world-class fishing
- Kimberly – suburb of Twin Falls
- Kellogg – skiing (Silver Mountain Ski Resort)
- Lapwai- "Lep'wey"- Business Headquarters of the Nez Perce Tribe
- Malad City - where Utah buys Lottery tickets
- McCall – skiing (Brundage Mountain Resort) and Recreation Payette Lake
- Melba, Idaho - south of Nampa, Idaho
- Middleton - small town
- Montpelier - bank robbed by the wild bunch
- Mullan – silver/lead/zinc mining
- New Meadows - at the 45th parallel north
- New Plymouth – first planned community in Idaho, third west of the Rocky Mountains
- Oakley – famous pioneer town, home of many historic buildings
- Orofino – site of Dworshak Dam, highest straight-axis dam in Western hemisphere
- Paris – Bear Lake County seat
- Parma - site of Old Fort Boise
- Payette – Payette County seat
- Plummer- CDA tribal headquarters
- Preston- location of the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite and the annual International Bed Races
- Rupert- Minidoka County seat
- Rigby – television birthplace
- Salmon – gateway to "River of No Return" (Salmon River)
- Sandpoint – skiing (Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort) and recreation Lake Pend Oreille
- Shelley – home of the Russet potato
- Soda Springs – U.S.'s only captive geyser
- St. Anthony – sand dunes and several lava tubes
- St. Maries – Benewah County seat
- Stanley, Idaho – heart of the Sawtooth mountains
- Star, Idaho - suburb of Boise
- Sun Valley – year-round resort with world-class skiing
- Wallace – historic district and Shoshone County seat
- Weiser – Washington County seat, home of the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest
- Wilder - hometown of former governor Phil Batt
- Worley – casino
- Smaller Towns and Cities
- Ammon – Suburb of Idaho Falls
- Blackfoot – Home of the Idaho Potato Museum
- Chubbuck, Idaho-Suburb of Pocatello
- Eagle – Suburb of Boise
- Garden City – Suburb of Boise
- Kuna – Suburb of Boise
- Moscow – Home of the University of Idaho
- Mountain Home – U.S. Air Force Base
- Post Falls
- Rexburg – Home of Brigham Young University-Idaho
- Population > 10,000 (urbanized area)
- Caldwell – Home of the College of Idaho
- Coeur d'Alene – Home of North Idaho College, major tourist hub
- Lewiston – Home of Lewis-Clark State College, Seaport
- Twin Falls – Home of College of Southern Idaho, BASE jumping
- Population > 30,000 (urbanized area)
- Idaho Falls – Location of the main offices of the Idaho National Laboratory
- Nampa – Home of Northwest Nazarene University
- Pocatello – Home of Idaho State University
- Meridian – Suburb of Boise, Fastest growing city in Idaho
- Population > 50,000 (urbanized area)
- Boise (state capital)
- Population > 100,000 (urbanized area)
Important cities and towns
Republicans lost one of the House seats in 2008 to Minnick, but Republican Jim Risch retained Larry Craig's Senate seat for the GOP by a comfortable margin.
In the 2006 elections, Republicans, led by gubernatorial candidate CL "Butch" Otter, won all the state's constitutional offices and retained both of the state's seats in the United States House of Representatives. However, Democrats picked up several seats in the Idaho Legislature, notably in the Boise area.
In modern times, Idaho has been a reliably Republican state in presidential politics as well. It has not supported a Democrat for Blaine County, which contains the Sun Valley ski resort, supported John Kerry, who owns a home in the area. In 2008 Barack Obama's 36.1 percent showing was the best for a Democratic presidential candidate in Idaho since 1976. However, Republican margins were narrower in 1992 and 1996.
Idaho Congressional delegations have also been generally Republican since statehood. Several Idaho Democrats have had electoral success in the House over the years, but the Senate delegation has been a Republican stronghold for decades. Several Idaho Republicans, including current Senator Mike Crapo, have won reelection to the Senate, but only Frank Church has won reelection as a Democrat. Church was the last Idaho Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race, in 1974. Walt Minnick's 2008 win in the First Congressional District was the state's first Democratic Congressional victory in 16 years.
Since statehood, the Republican Party has usually been the dominant party in Idaho, as there was a polar shift in social and political stance between the two parties, when the Democrats became more liberal and the Republicans more conservative. At one time, Idaho had two Democratic parties, one being the mainstream and the other called the Anti-Mormon Democrats, lasting into the early 20th century. In the 1890s and early 1900s, the Populist Party enjoyed prominence while the Democratic Party maintained a brief dominance in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Since World War II, most statewide elected officials have been Republicans. The last time the Democratic Party held a majority in either house of the state legislature was the House of Representatives in 1958 by one seat. However, Democrats did hold the governorship from 1971 to 1995, despite the state's Republican tilt.
After the Civil War, many Midwestern and Southern Democrats moved to the Idaho Territory. As a result, the early territorial legislatures were solidly Democrat-controlled. In contrast, most of the territorial governors were appointed by Republican presidents and were Republicans themselves. This led to sometimes-bitter clashes between the two parties, including a range war with the Democrats backing the sheepherders and the Republicans the cattlemen. That ended with the "Diamondfield" Jack Davis murder trial. In the 1880s, Republicans became more prominent in local politics.
|2012||64.5 % 420 390||32.6 % 212 699|
|2008||61.5 % 403 012||36.1 % 236 440|
|2004||68.38 % 409 235||30.26 % 181 098|
|2000||67.17 % 336 937||27.64 % 138 637|
|1996||52.18 % 256 595||33.65% 165,443|
|1992||42.03% 202,645||28.42% 137,013|
|1988||62.08% 253,881||36.01% 147,272|
|1984||72.36% 297,523||26.39% 108,510|
|1980||66.46% 290,699||25.19% 110,192|
|1976||59.88% 204,151||37.12% 126,549|
|1972||64.24% 199,384||26.04% 80,826|
|1968||56.79% 165,369||30.66% 89,273|
|1964||49.08% 143,557||50.92% 148,920|
|1960||53.78% 161,597||46.22% 138,853|
Idaho license plates begin with a county designation based on the first letter of the county's name. Where a letter is at the beginning of more than one name, a number accompanies precedingly in alphabetical order. This reflects an anomalous coincidental situation wherein 10 counties begin with B, seven with C and four with L, which is 21 of the 44 counties.
Three counties were first designated as such by the Washington Territorial Legislature in 1861; they were subsequently redesignated as Idaho counties in 1864. The 1861 Nez Percé county has since been broken up into Nez Percé, Lewis, Boundary, Benewah, Latah, Kootenai, and Clearwater counties.
Total Counties: 44. Total 2008 Population Est.: 1 523 816. Total Area: 87,530 square miles (226,700 km2).
|Ada||Boise||1A||1864||380 920||25.00 %||1 060||1.21 %|
|Adams||Council||2A||1911||3 499||0.23 %||1,370||1.57 %|
|Bannock||Pocatello||1B||1893||80,812||05.30 %||1,147||1.31 %|
|Bear Lake||Paris||2B||1893||5,798||00.38 %||1,049||1.20 %|
|Benewah||St. Maries||3B||1915||9,352||00.61 %||784||0.90 %|
|Bingham||Blackfoot||4B||1885||43,903||02.88 %||2,120||2.42 %|
|Blaine||Hailey||5B||1895||21,731||01.43 %||2,661||3.04 %|
|Boise||Idaho City||6B||1864||7,504||00.49 %||1,907||2.18 %|
|Bonner||Sandpoint||7B||1907||41,168||02.70 %||1,920||2.19 %|
|Bonneville||Idaho Falls||8B||1911||99,135||06.51 %||1,901||2.17 %|
|Boundary||Bonners Ferry||9B||1915||10,962||00.72 %||1,278||1.46 %|
|Butte||Arco||10B||1917||2,751||00.18 %||2,234||2.55 %|
|Camas||Fairfield||1C||1917||1,126||00.07 %||1,079||1.23 %|
|Canyon||Caldwell||2C||1891||183,939||12.07 %||604||0.69 %|
|Caribou||Soda Springs||3C||1919||6,826||00.45 %||1,799||2.06 %|
|Cassia||Burley||4C||1879||21,348||01.40 %||2,580||2.95 %|
|Clark||Dubois||5C||1919||910||00.06 %||1,765||2.02 %|
|Clearwater||Orofino||6C||1911||8,176||00.54 %||2,488||2.84 %|
|Custer||Challis||7C||1881||4,254||00.28 %||4,937||5.64 %|
|Elmore||Mountain Home||E||1889||28,997||01.90 %||3,101||3.54 %|
|Franklin||Preston||1F||1913||12,454||00.82 %||668||0.76 %|
|Fremont||St. Anthony||2F||1893||12,551||00.82 %||1,896||2.17 %|
|Gem||Emmett||1G||1915||16,513||01.08 %||566||0.65 %|
|Gooding||Gooding||2G||1913||14,295||00.94 %||734||0.84 %|
|Idaho||Grangeville||I||1861/1864||15,448||01.01 %||8,502||9.71 %|
|Jefferson||Rigby||1J||1913||23,860||01.57 %||1,106||1.26 %|
|Jerome||Jerome||2J||1919||20,468||01.34 %||602||0.69 %|
|Kootenai||Coeur d'Alene||K||1864||137,475||09.02 %||1,316||1.50 %|
|Latah||Moscow||1L||1888||35,906||02.36 %||1,077||1.23 %|
|Lemhi||Salmon||2L||1869||7,808||00.51 %||4,570||5.22 %|
|Lewis||Nezperce||3L||1911||3,594||00.24 %||480||0.55 %|
|Lincoln||Shoshone||4L||1895||4,503||00.30 %||1,206||1.38 %|
|Madison||Rexburg||1M||1914||37,456||02.46 %||473||0.54 %|
|Minidoka||Rupert||2M||1913||18,645||01.22 %||763||0.87 %|
|Nez Perce||Lewiston||N||1861/1864||38,975||02.56 %||856||0.98 %|
|Oneida||Malad City||1O||1864||4,130||00.27 %||1,202||1.37 %|
|Owyhee||Murphy||2O||1863||10,877||00.71 %||7,697||8.79 %|
|Payette||Payette||1P||1917||22,966||01.51 %||410||0.47 %|
|Power||American Falls||2P||1913||7,683||00.50 %||1,443||1.65 %|
|Shoshone||Wallace||S||1861/64||12 913||0.85 %||2 636||3.01 %|
|Teton||Driggs||1T||1915||8 833||0.58 %||451||0.52 %|
|Twin Falls||Twin Falls||2T||1907||74 284||4.87 %||1 928||2.20 %|
|Valley||Cascade||V||1917||8 862||0.58 %||3 734||4.27 %|
|Washington||Weiser||W||1879||10 206||0.67 %||1 474||1.68 %|
Idaho is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. Since 1919 there are 44 counties in the state, ranging in size from 410 to 8 502 square miles (1 062 to 22 020 square kilometers).
The highest court in Idaho is the Idaho Supreme Court. There is also an intermediate appellate court, the Idaho Court of Appeals, which hears cases assigned to it from the Supreme Court. The state's District Courts serve seven judicial districts.
The Idaho Legislature has been continuously controlled by the Republican Party since the late 1950s, although Democratic legislators are routinely elected from Boise, Pocatello, Blaine County and the northern Panhandle.
Idaho's legislature is part-time. However, the session may be extended if necessary, and often is. Because of this, Idaho's legislators are considered "citizen legislators", meaning that their position as a legislator is not their main occupation.
The governor of Idaho serves a four-year term, and is elected during what is nationally referred to as midterm elections. As such, the governor is not elected in the same election year as the president of the United States. The current governor is Republican CL "Butch" Otter, who was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.
Idaho's government has an alcohol monopoly.
Last contested in 1966, Inspector of Mines was an original elected constitutional office. Afterward it was an appointed position and ultimately done away with entirely in 1974.
Since 1946, statewide elected constitutional officers have been elected to four-year terms. They include: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller (Auditor before 1994), Treasurer, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The constitution of Idaho provides for three branches of government: the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Idaho has a bicameral legislature, elected from 35 legislative districts, each represented by one senator and two representatives.
All of Idaho's state laws are contained in the Idaho Code. The code is amended through the Legislature with the approval of the Governor. Idaho still operates under its original (1889) state constitution.
The Constitution of Idaho is roughly modeled on the national constitution with several additions. The constitution defines the form and functions of the state government, and may be amended through plebiscite. Notably, the state constitution presently requires the state government to maintain a balanced budget. As result, Idaho has limited debt (construction bonds, etc.).
Law and government
The Port of Lewiston is the farthest inland Pacific port on the west coast. A series of dams and locks on the Snake River and Columbia River facilitate barge travel from Lewiston to Portland, where goods are loaded on ocean-going vessels.
The Union Pacific Railroad also crosses southern Idaho traveling between Portland, Oregon, Green River, Wyoming, and Ogden, Utah and serves Boise, Nampa, Twin Falls, and Pocatello. There has been a recent call to return Amtrak service to southern Idaho.
Idaho is served by three transcontinental railroads. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) connects the Idaho Panhandle with Seattle, Portland, and Spokane to the west, and Minneapolis and Chicago to the east. The BNSF travels through Kootenai, Bonner, and Boundary counties. The Union Pacific Railroad crosses North Idaho entering from Canada through Boundary and Bonner, and proceeding to Spokane. Canadian Pacific Railway uses Union Pacific Railroad tracks in North Idaho carrying products from Alberta to Spokane and Portland, Oregon. Amtrak's Empire Builder crosses northern Idaho, with its only stop being in Sandpoint. Montana Rail Link also operates between Billings, Montana and Sandpoint, Idaho.
Major airports include the Boise Airport serving the southwest region of Idaho, and the Spokane International Airport (located in Spokane, Washington), which serves northern Idaho. Other airports with scheduled service are the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport serving the Palouse; the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport, serving the Lewis-Clark Valley and north central and west central Idaho; The Magic Valley Regional Airport in Twin Falls; the Idaho Falls Regional Airport; and the Pocatello Regional Airport.
Major federal aid highways in Idaho:
Idaho is among the few states in the nation without a major freeway linking its two largest metropolitan areas, Boise in the south and Coeur d'Alene in the north. U.S. Route 95 (US-95) links the two ends of the state, but like many other highways in Idaho, it is badly in need of repair and upgrade. In 2007, the Idaho Transportation Department stated that the state's highway infrastructure faces a $200 million per year shortfall in maintenance and upgrades. I-84 is the main highway linking the southeast and southwest portions of the state, along with I-86 and I-15.
The Idaho Transportation Department is the government agency responsible for Idaho's transportation infrastructure, including operations and maintenance as well as planning for future needs. The agency is also responsible for overseeing the disbursement of federal, state, and grant funding for the transportation programs of the state.
|Idaho Grid-Connected PV Capacity (MW)|
|Idaho Wind Generation (GWh, Million kWh)|
In addition, Idaho also has the 6th fastest growing population in the United States with the population expected to increase by 31% from 2008 to 2030. This projected increase in population will contribute to a 42% increase in demand by 2030, further straining Idaho’s finite hydroelectric resources.
While Idaho’s 515 trillion BTU total energy consumption is low compared with other states and represents just 0.5% of United States consumption, the state also has the nation’s 11th smallest population, 1.5 million, so its per capita energy consumption of 352 million Btu is currently just above the national average of 333 million Btu. As the 13th‑largest state in terms of land area (83,570 sq. mi=53,485,000ac), distance creates the additional problem of "line loss". When the length of an electrical transmission line is doubled, the resistance to an electric current passing through it is also doubled.
The state’s numerous river basins allow hydroelectric power plants to provide 556,000 MWh, which amounts to about three-fourths of Idaho’s electricity generated in the state. Washington State provides most of the natural gas used in Idaho through one of the two major pipeline systems supplying the state. Although the state relies on out-of-state sources for its entire natural gas supply, it uses natural gas-fired plants to generate 127,000 MWh, or about ten percent of its output. Coal-fired generation and the state’s small array of wind turbines supplies the remainder of the state’s electricity output. The state produces 739,000 MWh but still needs to import half of its electricity from out-of-state to meet demand.
Most of the energy consumed in Idaho is imported from other states. Imports account for more than 80% of total energy consumption, including all of Idaho's natural gas and petroleum supplies and more than half of its electricity. Of the electricity consumed in Idaho in 2005, 48% came from hydroelectricity, 42% was generated by burning coal and 9% was generated by burning natural gas. The remainder came from other renewable sources such as wind.
The energy landscape of Idaho is favorable to the development of renewable energy systems. The state is rich in renewable energy resources but has limited fossil fuel resources. The Snake River Plain and smaller river basins provide Idaho with some of the best hydroelectric power resources in the nation and its geologically active mountain areas have significant geothermal power and wind power potential. These realities have shaped much of the state’s current energy landscape.
In 2014, Idaho emerged as the second most small business friendly state, ranking behind Utah, based on a study drawing upon data from over 12,000 small business owners.
The sales tax was introduced at 3% in 1965, easily approved by voters, where it remained until 1983.
The state sales tax is 6% with a very limited, selective local option up to 6.5%. Sales tax applies to the sale, rental or lease of tangible personal property and some services. Food is taxed, but prescription drugs are not. Hotel, motel, and campground accommodations are taxed at a higher rate (7% to 11%). Some jurisdictions impose local option sales tax.
The state personal income tax ranges from 1.6% to 7.8% in eight income brackets. Idahoans may apply for state tax credits for taxes paid to other states, as well as for donations to Idaho state educational entities and some nonprofit youth and rehabilitation facilities.
A number of Fortune 500 companies started in or trace their roots to Idaho, including Safeway in American Falls, Albertsons in Boise, JR Simplot across southern Idaho, and Potlatch Corp. in Lewiston. Zimmerly Air Transport in Lewiston-Clarkston was one of the five companies in the merger centered around Varney Air Lines of Pasco, Washington, which became United Airlines and subsequently Varney Air Group that became Continental Airlines.
Today, the largest industry in Idaho is the science and technology sector. It accounts for over 25% of the state's total revenue and over 70% of the state's exports. Idaho's industrial economy is growing, with high-tech products leading the way. Since the late 1970s, Boise has emerged as a center for semiconductor manufacturing. Boise is the home of Micron Technology, the only U.S. manufacturer of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips. Micron at one time manufactured desktop computers, but with very limited success. Hewlett-Packard has operated a large plant in Boise since the 1970s, which is devoted primarily to LaserJet printers production. Clearwater Analytics is another rapidly growing investment accounting and reporting software firm headquartered in Boise, reporting on over $1 trillion in assets. ON Semiconductor, whose worldwide headquarters in Pocatello, is a widely recognized innovator in modern integrated mixed-signal semiconductor products, mixed-signal foundry services, and structured digital products. Coldwater Creek, a women's clothing retailer, is headquartered in Sandpoint. Sun Microsystems (now a part of Oracle Corporation) has two offices in Boise and a parts depot in Pocatello. Sun brings $4 million in annual salaries and over $300 million of revenue to the state each year.
Locally, a variety of industries are important. Outdoor recreation is a common example ranging from numerous snowmobile and downhill and cross-country ski areas in winter to the evolution of Lewiston as a retirement community based on mild winters, dry, year-round climate and one of the lowest median wind velocities anywhere, combined with the rivers for a wide variety of activities. Other examples would be ATK Corporation, which operates three ammunition and ammunition components plants in Lewiston. Two are sporting and one is defense contract. The Lewis-Clark valley has an additional independent ammunition components manufacturer and the Chipmunk rifle factory until it was purchased in 2007 by Keystone Sporting Arms and production was moved to Milton, Pennsylvania. Four of the world's six welded aluminum jet boat (for running river rapids) manufacturers are in the Lewiston-Clarkston, WAvalley. Wine grapes were grown between Kendrick and Juliaetta in the Idaho Panhandle by the French Rothschilds until Prohibition. In keeping with this, while there are no large wineries or breweries in Idaho, there are numerous and growing numbers of award winning boutique wineries and microbreweries in the northern part of the state.
Important industries in Idaho are food processing, lumber and wood products, machinery, chemical products, paper products, electronics manufacturing, silver and other mining, and tourism. The world's largest factory for barrel cheese, the raw product for processed cheese is located in Gooding, Idaho. It has a capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year of barrel cheese and belongs to the Glanbia group. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is the largest Department of Energy facility in the country, and one of the most contaminated from years of nuclear weapons related processing and haphazard storage of chemical and radioactive waste. It contains every known type of nuclear waste and receives nearly one billion dollars annually from the DOE budget for cleaning up previous contamination, and managing storage of remaining above ground nuclear waste. INL resides over one of the largest fresh water aquifers in North America, the Snake River Plain Aquifer, the most significant water source for south central and south east Idaho. INL is an important part of the eastern Idaho economy. Idaho also is home to three facilities of Anheuser-Busch which provide a large part of the malt for breweries located across the nation.
Gross state product for 2012 was $58.2 billion, and the per capita income based on 2012 GDP and 2012 population estimates was $36,472. Idaho is an important agricultural state, producing nearly one-third of the potatoes grown in the United States. All three varieties of wheat, Dark Northern Spring, Hard Red, and Soft White are grown in the state. Nez Perce County is considered a premier Soft White growing locale.
The largest denominations by number of members in 2010 were The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 409 265; the Catholic Church with 123 400; the non-denominational Evangelical Protestant with 62 637; and the Assemblies of God with 22 183.
|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints||23|
|Eastern Orthodox||< 0.5|
|Other Christian||< 0.5|
|Don't know/refused||< 0.5|
According to a report produced by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the self-identified religious affiliations of Idahoans over the age of 18 as of 2008 are:
As of 2006, six official micropolitan statistical areas are based in Idaho. Twin Falls is the largest of these.
The Boise Metropolitan Area (officially known as the Boise City-Nampa, ID Metropolitan Statistical Area) is Idaho's largest metropolitan area. Other metropolitan areas in order of size are Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Lewiston.
From 1990 to 2010, Idaho's population increased by over 560 000 (55%).
Nampa, about 20 miles (30 km) west of downtown Boise, became the state's second largest city in the late 1990s, passing Pocatello and Idaho Falls. Nampa's population was under 29, 000 in 1990 and grew to over 81, 000 by 2010. Located between Nampa and Boise, Meridian also experienced high growth, from under 10 000 residents in 1990 to over 75 000 in 2010 and is now Idaho's third largest city. Growth of 5% or more over the same period has also been observed in Caldwell, Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, and Twin Falls.
This made Idaho the sixth Utah. From 2004 to 2005, Idaho grew the third-fastest, surpassed only by Nevada and Arizona.
Idaho had an estimated population of 1,429,096 in 2005, which was an increase of 33,956, or 2.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 135,140, or 10.4%, since 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 58,884 people (that is 111,131 births minus 52,247 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 75,795 people into the state. There are large numbers of Americans of English and German ancestry in Idaho. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 14,522 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 61,273 people.
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
|Two or more races||–||–||2.0%||2.5%|
11.2% of Idaho's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race). As of 2011, 27.2% of Idaho's children under the age of one belonged to racial or ethnic minority groups, meaning that they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white.
- 89.1% of the population was White American
- 0.6% Black or African American
- 1.4% American Indian and Alaska Native
- 1.2% Asian American
- 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
- 2.5% of two or more races.
At the 2010 Census,
In recent years, Idaho has expanded its commercial base as a tourism and agricultural state to include science and technology industries. Science and technology have become the largest single economic center (over 25% of the state's total revenue) within the state and are greater than agriculture, forestry and mining combined.
Idaho was one of the hardest hit of the Pacific Northwest states during the Great Depression. Prices plummeted for Idaho's major crops: in 1932 a bushel of potatoes brought only $.10 compared to $1.51 in 1919, while Idaho farmers saw their annual income of $686 in 1929 drop to $250 by 1932.
After some tribulation as a territory, including the chaotic transfer of the territorial capital from Lewiston to Boise, disenfranchisement of Mormon polygamists upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1877, and a federal attempt to split the territory between Washington Territory which gained statehood in 1889, a year before Idaho, and the state of Nevada which had been a state since 1863, Idaho achieved statehood in 1890. The economy of the state, which had been primarily supported by metal mining, shifted towards agriculture, forest products and tourism.
The first permanent, substantial incorporated community was Lewiston in 1861.