Boise is the most populous city and capital of Idaho and the county seat of Ada County. Boise is located on the Boise River in the southwestern part of the state.
Boise has an estimated population of 217,000 people, which makes it the 99th largest city in the United States. The larger Boise City-Nampa metropolitan area, which includes five counties, has a population of 620,000 and it is the largest metro area in the state, containing the three largest cities in Idaho: Boise, Nampa, and Meridian. Boise is also the 3rd most populous metro area in the Pacific Northwest after Seattle and Portland.
City Size and Population Density
The city has a population density of 2,592 people per square mile or about 1,000 per square kilometer. The city covers approximately 82.80 square miles (214.45 km2).
Boise has a large ethnic Basque community of about 15,000 people, which is the largest in the United States and the 5th largest outside of Mexico, Chile, Argentina and the Basque Country in France and Spain. There is also a sizeable Basque festival in the city every five years.
The city is home to many religions with the Boise Hare Krishna Temple, an LDS Church temple and the Jewish Ahavath Beth Israel Temple, which is the oldest continually used temple west of the Mississippi.
Idaho has been a refugee resettlement arena since 1975, when it was established as the Indochinese Refugee Assistance Program to help resettle refugees fleeing the overthrow of US-supported governments in South Asia. Initially, the program focused on refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, but it expanded to include Eastern European refugees fleeing Soviet-era regimes.
During the 1980s, most refugees settled in Idaho and Boise, in particular, were Southeast Asian and Eastern European, with many refugees from the Soviet Union arriving at the end of the 1980s particularly evangelical Christians oppressed for their religious beliefs and political dissidents. During the 1990s, more than 5,000 refugees were resettled in Idaho, with more than 50% coming from Herzegovina and Bosnia to escape ethnic cleansing. The other half during this time came from Africa, East Asia, the Near East, Central Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe.
In the 2000s, more than 5,000 refugees have been settled around Boise, mainly refugees from Europe and Central Asia, especially from Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Russia (67%); Africa, especially Liberia, Sudan and Somalia (24%); East Asia, Latin America and the Near East (9%).
Boise Population Growth
Boise is currently the 15th fastest growing city in the United States, according to Forbes. The Boise City-Nampa metropolitan area is growing at a rate of 1.7% per year with a job growth rate that is keeping up. The largest cities in Idaho, including Boise, are rising about three times faster than smaller towns in the state.
- One account of how Boise got its name in the 1800s comes from a story that when French Canadian fur trappers traveling through the desert came across the valley and exclaimed "Les Boise!" or "The Trees!"
- Boise is an Idaho refugee center that welcomes hundreds of people every year from around the world.
- Boise was listed as one of 8 cities in the U.S. that is "Getting it right" by Time magazine in 2014.
- Wheel ruts can still be seen along various spots of the Oregon Trail, which ran through southern Boise.
- The World Center for Birds of Prey is located just outside of Boise and it has played a significant role in the re-establishment of the Peregrine Falcon and getting it removed from the Endangered Species list, at which point an international celebration took place in Boise. The center also breeds the rare California condor.
- Aaron Paul, best known for his role as Jesse Pinkman in the series Breaking Bad, was born in nearby Emmett, Idaho.