Idaho is a beautiful state that is located in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. There are some breathtaking views and many areas that are filled with wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. When you’re looking for the best place to live, the environment is an important aspect, but even more important is the livability score of a city or community. These scores are determined by the crime rate, the cost of housing, the local economy and job market, the crime rate, the quality of education, and the amenities nearby. We’ve identified the 20 best places to live in Idaho based upon these criteria, for your consideration.
Boise, Idaho – Population 220,859
Boise is the capital city of the state of Idaho and it also serves as the cultural center of the state. This city is given an overall rating of A- on a rating scale where A+ is the best and F shows a poor livability score. The city gets an A- on education with options for good schools with high graduation rates and test scores. Although there are cities in the state with better schools, it still rates high. There are plenty of amenities in the town such as the State Capitol, the Boise Art Museum, the Egyptian Theatre, Zoo Boise, The Julia Davis Park, and year-round outdoor activities. The city is the starting place for outdoor adventures such s hiking, biking, skiing, whitewater rafting and much more. It’s a relatively safe town with a moderate crime rate. The cost of living is $100 less than the national average per month and although it’s metro, you only need to drive 20 minutes to be in the wilderness.
Moscow, Idaho – Population 24,833
Moscow gets an overall rating of A. The public schools are rated one grade above Boise with an A rating. the main features which make this city such a great place to live is that there are so many beautiful places to visit. This is a small town with great restaurants and several businesses. The town is highly rated for a small place to live, although some might discover that there’s not a lot to do unless you really love the great outdoors. The median home value is $209,700 and the unemployment rate is 9.3%. The education system is highly rated and this is the 27th best in the state of all Idahoan cities with monthly rent averaging $800.
Pierce Park, Idaho – Population 21,927
Pierce Park is a highly desirable neighborhood which is a suburb of Boise. It’s ranked as the 18th best place to live in Idaho with an overall score of A. The public schools get a B+ rating, and the neighborhood is quite small. If you’re looking for a suburb that offers the feeling of rural living within a stone’s throw of a larger metropolitan area, with tons of amenities within a 10-minute drive, then this might be an ideal neighborhood for you.
Depot Branch, Idaho – Population 9.566
Depot Branch is another neighborhood in the Boise area, which is highly rated as one of the best places to live in the region. It’s within walking distance of most amenities. The overall rating is A-. The schools get a B+ rating which is still above average. The crime rate is low in Depot Branch and it’s ideal if you enjoy living in a neighborhood that offers a small-town feeling with low crime rates and easy access to a larger metropolitan area.
Sugar City, Idaho – Population 1,300
Sugar City, Idaho is a lovely small community with a low population of just 1,300 people. This neighborhood offers some of the best quality in real estate with affordable prices with a median home value of $168,300. This is below the national average making it an affordable place to live. The crime rates are so low that they’re practically non-existent. The public schools are highly rated which makes this a great place to raise your family. The town is small and there aren’t many restaurants nearby, which is about the only downside if you love living in a small community.
Sun Valley, Idaho – Population 1,500
Sun Valley is the feeling of a small rural village. It’s the 15th best place to live in Idaho for those who enjoy a cozy and quaint little town with a close-knit community of residents. Sun Valley is one of the best retirement communities in the state to live in, but it’s also a great place to raise kids because the schools are small, so they get more one on one attention, and it’s a safe community with very low crime rates.
St Anthony, Idaho – Population 3,470
St. Anthony is also s small community, although a little more than twice the size of Sun Valley, it’s a friendly and welcoming town. The median home value is $106,000 with monthly rent at about $600 per month. This is one of the most affordable towns in Idaho to live in. The only drawback is that there is only one school available and it offers all grade levels with good performance and high standards. It’s a safe community with low crime rates, making it a good place to raise a family.
Rexburg, Idaho – Population 26,000
Rexburg is yet another small city in Madison County. It’s the home of Brigham-Young University Idaho so the population ebbs and flows with the college semesters and breaks. Rexburg is a safe community with a friendly environment. For a small town there are lots of options for entertainment and there’s a lot to do. It’s a great place to raise a family and it’s remarkably calm for a college town.
Idaho Falls, Idaho – Population 61,076
Idaho Falls is one of the most desirable places to live in Idaho because it’s packed with amenities and the cost of living is low. This is a major city and it offers plenty of cinemas, restaurants, a bowling alley, a Zoo, and a Museum. There are lots of shopping and dining venues in Idaho Falls, and it’s also home to Idaho State University along with the University of Idaho.
Pocatello, Idaho – Population 55,193
Pocatello is a medium-sized city with affordable housing. The median housing value is $133,000 but there are even better deals in the area. The housing is in good supply in the area and the crime rating is far below the national average, making this a safe and secure place to live. It’s a conservative area adn it’s quiet and friendly. Pocatello is a college town that has a cozy feeling. Property prices in the Pocatello area are some of the most affordable in all of Idaho. For $70,000 you can invest in a quaint 3-bedroom family home. We say invest, any property under $100,000 would be considered a ‘project’.
Garden City, Idaho – Population 11,300
Garden city is a small town that is located on the outskirts of Boise. It’s a commuter suburb which is also considered a neighborhood of Boise. It’s a diverse community of hard-working people with easy access to the larger city within just a few driving miles. There are lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation and activities. The average rent price if $775 per month, the cost of living is moderate and the job market in the area is good. Garden city is the home of high performing schools and parents have their choice of 35 public schools in the neighborhood.
Hailey, Idaho – Population 8,282
Hailey is a small town located in Blaine County. It’s in close proximity to the Sawtooth National Forest which provides several opportunities for outdoor recreation and activities. The schools are rated as being good with a low crime rate and a community environment. Hailey is known for having the best range of public schools within the state, making it a good place to raise a family. The community is diverse and the median household income is $61,000 per year.
Ammon, Idaho – Population 14,000
Ammon is another smaller community which is located on the outside of Idaho Falls. The property prices are affordable and the median monthly rent is just $761. It’s an affordable place to live and it’s less than an hour’s drive to get to the amenities of the larger city Idaho Falls where there is ample entertainment, dining, and shopping. There are 22 public schools in Ammon which have an A- rating, performing above the national average. This is an excellent choice for people who want to raise a family in a safe and desirable community.
Lewiston, Idaho – Population 32,484
Lewiston is a city where higher education is taken seriously. The household income is higher than the national average, and the median home value is $167,200, which is on a more affordable scale. The unemployment rate is low at 5.3$ adn the city is moving up on the livability scale. Lewiston borders Washington State and it was once the capital of Idaho until Boise replaced it in 1864.
Ketchum, Idaho – Population 2,763
Ketchum is the closest town in Idaho to Sun Valley. It’s a suburban town that has a rural vibe. There is a broad range of outdoor activities available for the residents of Ketchum. The housing prices in Ketchum are higher than the national average, and you can get a 4 bedroom 4 bath family home for $899,000. The reason for the high home pricing is that real estate in the area has a high value because of the high desirability, good schools and low crime rating in the area.
Mountain Home, Idaho – Population 13,904
If you like living in a small cozy community then Mountain Home is an excellent choice in the state of Idaho. This city with a population of residents that is just under 14,000 has affordable housing with the median home value at $128,900. The average household income is $46,739 and the cost of living in the community is affordable.
Chubbuck, Idaho – Population 14,326
Chubbuck is just a little larger than Mountain home. It’s moving up on the livability scale gaining 2 places in just one year. The median home value is an affordable $158,200 and the unemployment rate is a reasonable 6.1% suggesting there are plenty of job opportunities in the area. The crime rate is the 29th lowest of all cities in the state of Idaho and the schools are some of Idaho’s best. The median household income is $53,354 per year.
Star, Idaho – Population 7,255
Star is a small community for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This small town is moving up on the livability scale. It’s one of the most desirable places to live int he state with the first best unemployment rate of just 2.6% telling us that most of the residents are employed. The median home value is $206,800 which is the fourth-best in the state. It’s the 3rd best city to live in for the state of Idaho. The median household is the 7th highest in the state and the crime rate is low, ranking 8th best overall in Idaho.
Eagle, Idaho – Population 22,711
Eagle is approximately three times the size of Star, and it’s located on Highway 44. The city offers a community-oriented environment with a decent range of high performing public schools. It’s an easy commute to Boise city if you choose to work there or want to enjoy the full amenities of a larger city. The cost of living is reasonable in Eagle with the median home cost at $274,000. The climate is mild for most of the year and the town is known for its whitewater kayaking on the Payette River and fly fishing on the Boise River. The average household income is $90,000.
Meridian, Idaho – Population 88,247
Meridian is a larger city that is ranked as the number one place to live in the state of Idaho. This is the case for a few years running. It’s an affordable place to live with the median home value at $199,100 and a low unemployment rate of just 4.3%. This tells us that there are amply employment opportunities in the area.There are 47 schools to choose from in the community and most boast above average test scores. Because of its high livability ratings, Meridian is one of the fastest-growing cities in Idaho. It’s the home of Meridian Symphony Orchestra and Eagle Island State Park, located on the lake. There are plenty of things to do for entertainment and lots of shopping and dining venues. The median annual income is the second-highest in the state and the crime rate is the 6th lowest.