Idaho State Capital: Boise

Idaho, a northwestern state famous for its mountains, snow, natural history and cultural heritage calls Boise its official capital and has done so since 1866. The city today sits some 2,700 feet above sea level, and it is called home by at least 240,000 as of 2020.

A Bit of History

Boise was not the first capital of Idaho; it came second after the first capital of Idaho was named in Lewiston. Similar to other states, the original capital started as another location, but Boise did have its roots as a spread out community and military installation in its first years. After settlers started making their home in the Boise Valley, much to the chagrin of migratory tribes that had called the area a seasonal home for centuries, Boise was actually a cluster of homes and small structures along the Boise River. Fort Boise, was established in the 1830s and re-armed again in the 1860s when frictions with indigenous tribes in the region led to outright conflicts.

A Far Bigger Presence in 2021

The greater Boise area today is actually made up of territory in five different counties. While the City itself is one third of the total, the greater region reaches almost 750,000 in population. That makes Boise officially the 80th largest city in the Union today. Physically, the City’s footprint spreads over approximately 80 square miles which is essentially 99 percent plus land a small fraction associated with the Boise River itself. The City also has the advantage that much of its physical geography is flat land, producing a prime real estate location undisturbed by natural form and obstacles for most of Boise’s development.

Needing Equilibrium for Growth

For the near future Boise finds itself in what is a growing problem with local wages and income growth running slow but housing prices skyrocketing. The City and larger region has long been a magnate for retirees and families relocating from the far west and east coast to find a more rural feel in big sky country. That increasing inflow has not been met with sufficient new housing, so locals in the area are finding themselves challenged with high value real estate pressures up 75 percent over the last five years and a local job market that isn’t matching the cost side of the picture, growing only 14 percent in income in the same period.