Moving to Idaho
A quarter of Idaho’s population resides in or around Boise, and almost every major town in the south of the state sits along the Snake River or one of its tributaries. Outside of the Snake River plain, Idaho becomes parched and mountainous, but every bit as beautiful. From early settlers’ hand-dug irrigation ditches all the way up to modern-day French fries, Idahoans are resourceful and know how to make the most of the land and water around them.
Moving to Idaho? These tips can make your move to the Gem State sparkle with efficiency.
Summer temperatures can reach into the 90s, so if you’re moving to ID during these months, try to avoid heavy lifting during the peak heat of the day.
The central Idaho Mountains are less prosperous than the rest of the state, with fewer roads and service areas. If you’re moving to Idaho to this region, fill up your gas tank at every service area and bring along a well-stocked toolbox and first-aid kit, as well as plenty of water and some provisions.
Most of the cities host festivals and events such as rodeos, which draw thousands of visitors. Remember to plan your move around these dates to avoid crowds, blocked roads and traffic congestion.
Boise, Nampa and Coeur d’Alene can be busy all year round due to commuters and tourists. Check traffic conditions before hitting the road.
You don’t need a moving permit when moving to ID, but especially in the cities, it’s a good idea to find out what local parking restrictions apply in order to avoid getting a ticket.
Before moving to ID, remember to change your address with USPS so your mail makes it to Idaho with you.
Check out our downloadable planners and checklists.
Cities and Metro Areas
When moving to Idaho, you’ll have many unique cities from which to choose. There’s environmentally-conscious and beautiful Boise, Nampa, known for its wineries, and Idaho Falls, one of the nation’s best adventure towns.
Coeur d’Alene is a picturesque resort town, and you’re sure to find a happy home in Pocatello, where frowning was proclaimed unlawful in 1948. Other popular cities to consider include Meridian, Twin Falls, Lewiston, Caldwell and Moscow, all great places to call home after moving to Idaho.
Cost of Living
Compared to the US average, the cost of living in Idaho is approximately 20% lower, making it one of the most affordable western states in which to live. In part, this is due to the local production of food products, which decreases transportation costs and consequently the shelf price of groceries.
In addition, Idaho has one of the lowest population densities in the country and land isn’t as costly as in some other states. Combined with the fact that the state doesn’t collect property taxes, even if local governments do, it’s easy to see why the homeownership rate is almost 73%.
With an average household income of $40,500 and an average commute time of just 20 minutes, it’s clear that fuel prices aren’t as big of a budgeting issue for residents as they are in a state like California. After moving to Idaho, you’ll enjoy utilities prices lower than the national average as well.
West Idaho’s climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean, with milder and wetter winters than you’d expect for a state in such a northern location. East Idaho has a semi-arid continental climate with wet summers and dry winters. Overall in the state, summers are hot and dry with highs of around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but summer evenings are cool and can offer respite from the heat of the day. Winters can be cold, with averages of 35 degrees Fahrenheit. All of the state gets snowfall, so remember to bring your winter coat when moving to ID!
Idaho has a number of quality educational institutions, from kindergarten all the way through graduate schools. What follows are some of the most renowned schools and colleges.
- Elementary: Three of the top-ranked elementary schools are Thomas Jefferson Charter in Caldwell, Thatcher Elementary School in Thatcher, and Longfellow Elementary School in Boise.
- High School: Meridian is home to four of the top 10 high schools, including Meridian Medical Arts Charter, Renaissance High School, Compass Public Charter School and Meridian Technical Charter High.
- Higher Education: If you’re moving to ID, you’ll have access to a number of excellent universities and colleges, including Brigham Young University-Idaho, Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.
Before moving to ID, visit the Official Website of the State of Idaho to find up-to-date information about anything pertaining to living and working in the Gem State.
- Taxes: Idaho doesn’t levy an excise tax. However, it will levy a 6% sales tax on any untaxed vehicle you bring in from out-of-state.
- Tolls: There are no toll roads in Idaho.
- Voter Registration: After moving to Idaho, you can register to vote at your County Clerk’s office.
- Trash & Recycling: Though trash and recycling are handled by your city, most cities contract private companies to take care of this. In Boise, for example, Republic Services is in charge of waste management.
- Obtaining an ID Driver’s License: You must apply for an Idaho driver’s license within 90 days of moving to Idaho; if you want a commercial driver’s license, you must apply within 30 days. Students and members of the military who maintain their primary residencies elsewhere are not required to transfer their licenses. The cost to transfer a four-year driver’s license is $30, and an eight-year license costs $55.
- Vehicle Registration: You’re required to register your vehicle at your local county assessor’s motor vehicle office within 90 days of moving to ID. The fees are between $35 and $60, depending on the age of the vehicle and your county of residence. It costs $14 to transfer a title and $14 to record any lien.
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