This article is about the State of Idaho.
For other uses, see Idaho (disambiguation).
|Before statehood||Oregon Territory, Washington Territory, Idaho Territory|
|Admitted to the Union||July 3, 1890 (43rd)|
|Largest metro||Boise metropolitan area|
|Governor||Brad Little (R)|
|Lieutenant Governor||Janice McGeachin (R)|
|Lower house||House of Representatives|
|Judiciary||Idaho Supreme Court|
|U.S. senators||Mike Crapo (R)
Jim Risch (R)
|U.S. House delegation||1. Russ Fulcher (R)|
|Total||83,569 sq mi (216,443 km)|
|Land||82,643 sq mi (214,044 km)|
|Water||926 sq mi (2,398 km) 1.11%|
|Length||479 mi (771 km)|
|Width||305 mi (491 km)|
|Elevation||5,000 ft (1,520 m)|
|Highest elevation (Borah Peak)||12,662 ft (3,859 m)|
|Lowest elevation (Confluence of Snake and Clearwater River; Lewiston)||713 ft (217 m)|
|Density||21.6/sq mi (8.33/km)|
|Median household income||$52,225|
|Summer (DST)||UTC−06:00 (MDT)|
|Idaho Panhandle||UTC−08:00 (Pacific)|
|Summer (DST)||UTC−07:00 (PDT)|
|ISO 3166 code||US-ID|
|Latitude||42° N to 49° N|
|Longitude||111°03′ W to 117°15′ W|
|Idaho state symbols|
|Amphibian||Tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)|
|Fish||Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii)|
|Flower||Syringa (Philadelphus lewisii)|
|Insect||Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)|
|Tree||Western white pine (Pinus monticola)|
|Fossil||Hagerman horse (Equus simplicidens)|
|Slogan||"Great Potatoes. Tasty Destinations."|
|State route marker|
With a population of approximately 1.7 million and an area of 83,569 square miles (216,440 km), Idaho is the 14th largest, the 12th least populous and the 7th least densely populated of the 50 U.S. states.
The state's capital and largest city is Boise.
For thousands of years Idaho has been inhabited by Native American peoples.
It officially became U.S. territory with the signing of the Oregon Treaty of 1846, but a separate Idaho Territory was not organized until 1863, instead being included for periods in Oregon Territory and Washington Territory.
Idaho was eventually admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, becoming the 43rd state.
The state's south includes the Snake River Plain (which has most of the population and agricultural land).
The state's southeast incorporates part of the Great Basin.
Idaho is quite mountainous, and contains several stretches of the Rocky Mountains.
The United States Forest Service holds about 38% of Idaho's land, the highest proportion of any state.
Industries significant for the state economy include manufacturing, agriculture, mining, forestry, and tourism.
A number of science and technology firms are either headquartered in Idaho or have factories there, and the state also contains the Idaho National Laboratory, which is the country's largest Department of Energy facility.
Idaho's agricultural sector supplies many products, but the state is best known for its potato crop, which comprises around one-third of the nationwide yield.
The official state nickname is the "Gem State", which references Idaho's natural beauty.
The name's origin remains a mystery.
In the early 1860s, when the U.S. was considering organizing a new territory in the CongressRocky Mountains, the name "Idaho" was suggested by George M. Willing, a politician posing as an unrecognized delegate from the unofficial Jefferson Territory.
Willing claimed that the name was derived from a Shoshone term meaning "the sun comes from the mountains" or "gem of the mountains", but it was revealed later that there was no such term and Willing claimed that he had been inspired to coin the name when he met a little girl named "Ida".
Since the name appeared to be fabricated, the U.S. Congress ultimately decided to name the area Colorado Territory instead when it was created in February 1861, but by the time this decision was made, the town of Idaho Springs, Colorado had already been named after Willing's proposal.
It is unclear whether the steamship was named before or after Willing's claim was revealed.
Regardless, part of Washington Territory, including Idaho County, was used to create Idaho Territory in 1863.
Eventually, the name was given to the Idaho Territory, which would later become the U.S. state.
Despite this lack of evidence for the origin of the name, many textbooks well into the 20th century repeated as fact Willing's account the name "Idaho" derived from the Shoshone term "ee-da-how".
A 1956 Idaho history textbook says:
Idaho borders six U.S. states and one Canadian province.
Idaho also shares a short border with the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north.
The landscape is rugged with some of the largest unspoiled natural areas in the United States.
For example, at 2.3 million acres (930,000 ha), the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area is the largest contiguous area of protected wilderness in the continental United States.
Idaho is a Rocky Mountain state with abundant natural resources and scenic areas.
The state has snow-capped mountain ranges, rapids, vast lakes and steep canyons.
The Snake River flows out from Yellowstone in northwestern Wyoming through the Snake River Plain in southern Idaho before turning north, leaving the state at Lewiston before joining the Columbia in Kennewick.
Other major rivers are the Clark Fork/Pend Oreille River, the Spokane River, and major tributaries of the Snake river, including the Clearwater River, the Salmon 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 vast majority of Idaho's population lives in the Snake River Plain, a valley running from across the entirety of southern Idaho from east to west.
The plain served as an easy pass through the Rocky Mountains for westward-bound settlers on the Oregon Trail, and many settlers chose to settle the area rather than risking the treacherous route through the Blue Mountains and the Cascade Range to the west.
The central region of the Snake River Plain is known as the Magic Valley.
The Sawtooth Range is often considered Idaho's most famous mountain range.
Idaho's climate varies widely.
Although the state's western border is 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 state's eastern part where the precipitation patterns are often reversed, with wetter summers and drier winters, and seasonal temperature differences are more extreme, showing a more semi-arid continental climate.
Idaho can be hot, although extended periods over 98 °F (37 °C) are rare, except for the lowest point in elevation, Lewiston, which correspondingly sees 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.
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)|
Lakes and rivers
See also: List of rivers of Idaho
Main article: History of Idaho
Humans may have been present in the Idaho area as long as 14,500 years ago.
Based on evidence found at the site, first people lived in this area 15,300 to 16,600 years ago, predating the Beringia land bridge by about a thousand years.
The discoverers, anthropology professor Loren Davis and colleagues, emphasized that they possess similarities with tools and artifacts discovered in Japan that date from 16,000 to 13,000 years ago.
The discovery also showed that the first people might not have come to North America by land, as previously theorized.
On the contrary, they probably came through the water, using a Pacific coastal road.
An early presence of French-Canadian trappers is visible in names and toponyms: Nez Percé, Cœur d'Alène, Boisé, Payette, some preexisting the Lewis and Clark and Astorian expeditions which themselves included significant numbers of French and Métis 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.
The Lewis and Clark expedition crossed Idaho in 1805 on the way to the Pacific and in 1806 on the return, largely following the Clearwater River both directions.
This post, known as "MacKenzie's Post" or "Clearwater", operated until the Pacific Fur Company was bought out by the North West Company in 1813, after which it was abandoned.
The first attempts at organized communities, within the present borders of Idaho, were established in 1860.
The first permanent, substantial incorporated community was Lewiston in 1861.
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. 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 Supreme CourtNevada which had been a state since 1864, Idaho achieved statehood in 1890.
Prices plummeted for Idaho's major crops: in 1932 a bushel of potatoes brought only ten cents compared to $1.51 in 1919, while Idaho farmers saw their annual income of $686 in 1929 drop to $250 by 1932.
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 had an estimated population of 1,754,208 in 2018, which was an increase of 37,265, from the prior year and an increase of 186,626, or 11.91%, since 2010.
This includes a natural increase since the last census of 58,884 (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.
This made Idaho the tenth fastest-growing state after District of Columbia (+16.74%), Utah (+14.37%), Texas (+14.14%), Florida (+13.29%), Colorado (+13.25%), North Dakota (+13.01%), Nevada (+12.36%), Arizona (+12.20%) and Washington.
From 2017 to 2018, Idaho grew the second-fastest, surpassed only by Nevada.
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 fewer than 10,000 residents in 1990 to more than 75,000 in 2010 and is now Idaho's third largest city.
From 1990 to 2010, Idaho's population increased by over 560,000 (55%).
The Boise metropolitan area (officially known as the Boise City-Nampa, ID Metropolitan Statistical Area) is Idaho's largest metropolitan area.
The table below shows the racial composition of Idaho's population as of 2016.
|Race||Population (2017 est.)||Percentage|
|Black or African American||11,231||0.7%|
|American Indian and Alaska Native||21,323||1.3%|
|Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander||2,343||0.1%|
|Some other race||47,964||2.9%|
|Two or more races||43,914||2.6%|
|Native Hawaiian and||—||—||0.1%||0.1%|
|Two or more races||—||—||2.0%||2.5%|
According to the 2017 American Community Survey, 12.2% of Idaho's population were of Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race): Mexican (10.6%), Puerto Rican (0.2%), Cuban (0.1%), and other Hispanic or Latino origin (1.3%).
Note: Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.
|White:||21,246 (94.9%)||21,696 (94.8%)||21,618 (94.7%)||...||...||...|
|> Non-Hispanic White||17,951 (80.2%)||18,188 (79.5%)||18,087 (79.2%)||17,543 (78.0%)||17,151 (77.3%)||16,574 (77.4%)|
|Asian||491 (2.2%)||501 (2.2%)||516 (2.3%)||363 (1.6%)||366 (1.7%)||348 (1.6%)|
|American Indian||421 (1.9%)||429 (1.9%)||406 (1.8%)||261 (1.2%)||337 (1.5%)||285 (1.3%)|
|Black||225 (1.0%)||250 (1.1%)||287 (1.2%)||217 (1.0%)||243 (1.1%)||233 (1.1%)|
|Hispanic (of any race)||3,422 (15.3%)||3,651 (16.0%)||3,645 (16.0%)||3,614 (16.1%)||3,598 (16.2%)||3,549 (16.6%)|
|Total Idaho||22,383 (100%)||22,876 (100%)||22,827 (100%)||22,482 (100%)||22,181 (100%)||21,403 (100%)|
- Since 2016, data for births of White Hispanic origin are not collected, but included in one Hispanic group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
According to the Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life, the self-identified religious affiliations of Idahoans over the age of 18 in 2008 and 2014 were:
|* Evangelical Protestant||22%||21%|
|* Mainline Protestant||16%||16%|
|* Eastern Orthodox||< 0.5%||1%|
|* Historically Black Protestant||< 0.5%||< 1%|
|* The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints||23%||19%|
|* Jehovah's Witnesses||1%||< 1%|
|* Other Christian||< 0.5%||< 1%|
|* Nothing in particular||n/d||22%|
|Non-Christian faiths, including:||n/d||4%|
|* Muslim||< 0.5%||1%|
|* Jewish||< 0.5%||< 1%|
|* Buddhist||< 0.5%||< 1%|
|* Hindu||< 0.5%||< 1%|
|* Other World religions||< 0.5%||< 1%|
|* Other faiths (New Age, Native American, etc.)||n/d||2%|
|Don't know/refused||< 0.5%||1%|
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, 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.
English is the state's predominant language.
See also: Idaho locations by per capita income
- Total employment 2016
- Total employer establishments
Gross state product for 2015 was $64.9 billion, and the per capita income based on 2015 GDP and 2015 population estimates was $39,100.
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.
Important industries in Idaho are food processing, lumber and wood products, machinery, chemical products, paper products, electronics manufacturing, silver and other mining, and tourism.
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 by area.
INL is an important part of the eastern Idaho economy.
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, WA valley.
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.
Today, Idaho's largest industry is the science and technology sector.
It accounts for over 25% of the state's revenue and over 70% of the state's exports.
Idaho's industrial economy is growing, with high-tech products leading the way.
Micron at one time manufactured desktop computers, but with very limited success.
Boise-based Clearwater Analytics is another rapidly growing investment accounting and reporting software firm, reporting on over $1 trillion in assets.
ON Semiconductor, whose worldwide headquarters is in Pocatello, is a widely recognized innovator of modern integrated mixed-signal semiconductor products, mixed-signal foundry services, and structured digital products.
Sun brings $4 million in annual salaries and over $300 million of revenue to the state each year.
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 which became Continental Airlines.
In 2014, Idaho emerged as the second most small business friendly state, ranking behind Utah, based on a study drawing upon data from more than 12,000 small business owners.
Tax is collected by the Idaho State Tax Commission.
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.
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.
Some jurisdictions impose local option sales tax.
The sales tax was introduced at 3% in 1965, easily approved by voters, where it remained at 3% until 1983.
As of 2017, the primary energy source in Idaho was hydropower, and the energy companies had a total retail sales of 23,793,790 megawatthours (MWh).
Idaho's energy landscape 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 nation's best hydroelectric power resources and its geologically active mountain areas have significant geothermal power and wind power potential.
These realities have shaped much of the state's energy landscape.
Idaho imports most of the energy it consumes.
Imports account for more than 80% of 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 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.
While Idaho's 515 trillion British thermal units (151 TWh) 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 (103 MWh) is just above the national average of 333 million BTU (98 MWh).
As the 13th‑largest state in terms of land area of 83,570 square miles (53,480,000 acres; 216,400 km), 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.
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.
Idaho has an upper-boundary estimate of development potential to generate 44,320 GWh/year from 18,076 MW of wind power, and 7,467,000 GWh/year from solar power using 2,061,000 MW of photovoltaics (PV), including 3,224 MW of rooftop photovoltaics, and 1,267,000 MW of concentrated solar power.
Main article: List of state highways in Idaho
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 the state's highway infrastructure faces a $200 million per year shortfall in maintenance and upgrades.
Major federal aid highways in 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.
Idaho is served by three transcontinental railroads.
The Port of Lewiston is the farthest inland Pacific port on the west coast.
Law and government
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 .
Notably, the state constitution presently requires the state government to maintain a balanced budget.
As result, Idaho has limited debt (construction bonds, etc.).
Idaho Code and Statutes
All of Idaho's state laws are contained in the Idaho Code and Statutes.
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 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.
Since 1946, statewide elected constitutional officers have been elected to four-year terms.
Last contested in 1966, Inspector of Mines was an originally elected constitutional office.
Afterward it was an appointed position and ultimately done away with entirely in 1974.
Idaho's government has an alcohol monopoly.
Further information: List of Governors of Idaho
Further information: Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
Further information: Secretary of State of Idaho
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.
Main article: Idaho Legislature
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 their position as a legislator is not their main occupation.
Legislative elections occur every even numbered year.
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.
Main article: Courts of Idaho
The highest court in Idaho is the Idaho Supreme Court.
The state's District Courts serve seven judicial districts.
Main article: List of counties in Idaho
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 (1,060 to 22,020 km).
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.
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.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho.