Idaho Population’s Growth Rate Tied for Fastest in Nation

Idaho’s population totaled 1.75 million as of July 2018, growing at a rate of 2.1 percent from July 2017 and tying with Nevada for the fastest growth rate in the nation.

Utah with 1.9 percent was third. Wyoming declined by 1 percent to 579,300 – one of five states to see a decline during this time.

The national average growth rate was 0.6 percent.

The components of change only reveal broad categories of Idaho’s population growth — 27 percent was from natural increase – births minus deaths – while 73 percent was from in-migration. In-migration totaled 25,776 – 93 percent from other states and 7 percent international in source.

Idaho’s Total In-Migration

While the data lags by one year, 2017 and most recent, state-to-state migration tables provide us some perspective on the dynamics of sources and destinations for migration into and out of Idaho. About 78,500 people were new residents to Idaho. The largest source was California, which contributed more than 20,000 residents to Idaho and accounted for about 27 percent of total in-migration to Idaho.

Four of the six neighboring states were in the top 10 states of highest number of people who had migrated to Idaho. Washington sent the most with almost 8,900, Utah’s 7,200 was third, Oregon was fifth with 3,900 and Nevada eighth with 2,200.

Almost 6,600 new residents to Idaho resided in a foreign country during the previous year and was the fourth largest source of incoming residents, representing 8.4 percent of the total. This is slightly lower than the almost 8,500 new Idaho residents from a foreign country reported for 2016, which was 9.5 percent of the total.

Idaho’s Total Out-Migration

Nearly 57,000 individuals moved out of Idaho during this time period. The primary destination states were Washington, Utah, California and Oregon – the aggregate of which is almost 47 percent of the total of people moving from Idaho. Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Georgia and Florida round out the top 10 destinations.

Idaho’s Net In-Migration

On net, Idaho gained more in-migration from 25 other states than it lost in out-migration. Of these, the total gained more from other states than moved out of Idaho was nearly 26,200, and  60 percent were from California.

Inversely, Idaho lost more residents in out-migration to 23 states than those states contributed to Idaho’s population as in-migration. The net loss to these 23 state was about 11,200. Four of these states include Idaho’s neighbors Washington, Nevada, Oregon and Montana.

Labor Force Growth

Idaho’s fast population growth does not necessarily translate to equivalent growth in labor force. The most recent data shows 1.7 percent labor force growth from December 2017 to December 2018, just slightly faster than the national average of 1.6 percent. Despite leading the nation in population growth, Idaho trails behind its neighboring states in the growth of the labor force, which is defined as people 16 or older who are employed or unemployed but looking for work. However, Nevada’s population increase was accompanied by fast labor force growth as well – 3.5 percent – and the fastest among Idaho’s surrounding states.

Data source:  U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Note: The American Community Survey does not provide the reverse statistic of the number of people moving from Idaho to a foreign country.,
regional economist supervisor, Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 3201