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Idaho () is a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
in the
Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a geographic region in western bounded by its coastal waters of the to the west and, loosely, by the to the east. Though no official boundary exists, the most common conception includes the U.S. states of , , ...
region of the United States. It borders the state of
Montana Montana () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Montana
to the east and northeast,
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The List of U.S. states and territories by area, 10th largest state by area, it is also the List of U.S. states and territories b ...
to the east,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
and
Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its so ...

Utah
to the south, and
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
and
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...

Oregon
to the west. To the north, it shares a small portion of the Canadian border with the province of
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British C ...

British Columbia
. With a population of approximately 1.8 million and an area of , Idaho is the 14th largest, the 13th least populous and the 7th least densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. The state's capital and largest city is
Boise Boise () is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercas ...

Boise
. For thousands of years Idaho has been inhabited by
Native American peoples The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European colonization of the Americas, European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peopl ...
. In the early 19th century, Idaho was considered part of the
Oregon Country In the 19th century, the Oregon Country was a disputed region of the Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a geographic region in western North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphe ...
, an area disputed between the United States and the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
. It officially became U.S. territory with the signing of the Oregon Treaty of 1846, but a separate
Idaho Territory The Territory of Idaho was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 3, 1863, until July 3, 1890, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as Idaho Idaho () is a U.S. state, ...
was not organized until 1863, instead being included for periods in
Oregon Territory The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States and the founding of the United States: Kingdom of Great Britain, British claims are indicated in red and pink, while Spanish claims are in orange and yellow. ...
and
Washington Territory The Territory of Washington was an organized incorporated territory of the United States and the founding of the United States: Kingdom of Great Britain, British claims are indicated in red and pink, while Spanish claims are in orange and yellow ...
. Idaho was eventually admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, becoming the 43rd state. Forming part of the Pacific Northwest (and the associated Cascadia bioregion), Idaho is divided into several distinct geographic and climatic regions. The state's north, the relatively isolated
Idaho Panhandle The Idaho Panhandle—locally known as North Idaho—is a salient region of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contigu ...

Idaho Panhandle
, is closely linked with
Eastern Washington Eastern Washington is the region of the U.S. state of Washington located east of the Cascade Range. It contains the city of Spokane (the second largest city in the state), the Tri-Cities, the Columbia River The Columbia River (Upper C ...
with which it shares the
Pacific Time Zone The Pacific Time Zone (PT) is a time zone A time zone is an area that observes a uniform for , and purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries between and their instead of strictly following , because it is convenient for a ...
—the rest of the state uses the
Mountain Time Zone The Mountain Time Zone of North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bor ...
. The state's south includes the
Snake River Plain The Snake River cutting through the plain leaves many canyons and Canyon#List of gorges">gorges, such as this one near Twin Falls, Idaho , 2008 The Snake River Plain is a geology, geologic feature located primarily within the U.S. state of Id ...

Snake River Plain
(which has most of the population and agricultural land). The state's southeast incorporates part of the
Great Basin The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the ...
. Idaho is quite mountainous, and contains several stretches of the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similari ...

Rocky Mountains
. The
United States Forest Service The United States Forest Service (USFS) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands. The Forest Service manages of land. Major divisions of the agency inc ...
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 Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is one of the national laboratories of the United States Department of Energy The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box ...
, which is the country's largest
Department of EnergyA Ministry of Energy or Department of Energy is a government department in some countries that typically oversees the production of fuel and electricity; in the United States, however, it manages nuclear weapons development and conducts energy-relate ...
facility. Idaho's agricultural sector supplies many products, but the state is best known for its
potato The potato is a starch#Food, starchy tuber of the plant ''Solanum tuberosum'' and is a root vegetable native to the Americas. The plant is a perennial plant, perennial in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Wild potato species can be found thro ...

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.


Etymology

The name's origin remains a mystery. In the early 1860s, when the
U.S. Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Wa ...

U.S. Congress
was considering organizing a new territory in the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similari ...

Rocky Mountains
, the name "Idaho" was suggested by George M. Willing, a politician posing as an unrecognized delegate from the unofficial
Jefferson Territory 400px, Map of Jefferson Territory The Territory of Jefferson was an extralegal and unrecognized United States territory that existed from October 24, 1859 until the creation of the Colorado Territory The territory was organized in the wake ...

Jefferson Territory
. Willing claimed that the name was derived from a
Shoshone The Shoshone or Shoshoni ( or ) are a Tribe (Native American), Native American tribe with four large cultural/linguistic divisions: * Eastern Shoshone: Wyoming * Northern Shoshone: southern Idaho * Western Shoshone: Nevada, northern Utah * Goshu ...
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 The Territory of Colorado was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 28, 1861, until August 1, 1876, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Colorado. The territory was organized in the w ...
instead when it was created in February 1861, but by the time this decision was made, the town of
Idaho Springs, Colorado The City of Idaho Springs is a Statutory City that is the most populous municipality of Clear Creek County, Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West region of the United States. It e ...
had already been named after Willing's proposal. The same year Congress created Colorado Territory, a county called Idaho County was created in eastern
Washington Territory The Territory of Washington was an organized incorporated territory of the United States and the founding of the United States: Kingdom of Great Britain, British claims are indicated in red and pink, while Spanish claims are in orange and yellow ...
. The county was named after a
steamship A steamship, often referred to as a steamer, is a type of steam-powered vessel Steam-powered vessels include steamboats and steamships. Smaller steamboats were developed first. They were replaced by larger steamships which were often ocean-going. ...

steamship
named Idaho, which was launched on the
Columbia River The Columbia River (Upper Chinook Upper Chinook, endonym Kiksht, also known as Columbia Chinook, and Wasco-Wishram after its last surviving dialect, is a recently extinct language of the US Pacific Northwest. It had 69 speakers in 1990, of w ...

Columbia River
in 1860. 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 The Territory of Idaho was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 3, 1863, until July 3, 1890, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as Idaho Idaho () is a U.S. state, ...
, 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" is a
Shoshoni The Shoshone or Shoshoni ( or ) are a Native American tribe with four large cultural/linguistic divisions: * Eastern Shoshone: Wyoming Wyoming () is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States The United States of ...
Indian exclamation. The word consists of three parts. The first is "Ee", which in English conveys the idea of "coming down". The second is "dah" which is the Shoshoni stem or root for both "sun" and "mountain". The third syllable, "how", denotes the exclamation and stands for the same thing in Shoshoni that the exclamation mark (!) does in English. The Shoshoni word is "Ee-dah-how", and the Indian thought thus conveyed when translated into English means, "Behold! the sun coming down the mountain.
An alternative etymology attributes the name to the
Plains Apache The Plains Apache are a small Southern Athabaskan group who live on the Southern Plains of North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be d ...
word "ídaahę́" (enemy) that was used in reference to the
Comanche The Comanche or Nʉmʉnʉʉ ( com, Nʉmʉnʉʉ; "the people") are a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants ...

Comanche
.


History

Humans may have been present in the Idaho area as long as 14,500 years ago. Excavations at Wilson Butte Cave near Twin Falls in 1959 revealed evidence of human activity, including arrowheads, that rank among the oldest dated artifacts in North America. American Indian peoples predominant in the area included the Nez Percé in the north and the Northern and Western
Shoshone The Shoshone or Shoshoni ( or ) are a Tribe (Native American), Native American tribe with four large cultural/linguistic divisions: * Eastern Shoshone: Wyoming * Northern Shoshone: southern Idaho * Western Shoshone: Nevada, northern Utah * Goshu ...

Shoshone
in the south. A Late
Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the is the third and last subdivision of the or Old . Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and years ago (the beginning of the ), according to some theories coinciding with the ...
site was identified at Cooper's Ferry in western Idaho near the town of Cottonwood by archaeologists in 2019. Based on evidence found at the site, first people lived in this area 15,300 to 16,600 years ago, predating the
Beringia Beringia is defined today as the land and maritime area bounded on the west by the Lena River The Lena (russian: link=no, Ле́на, ; evn, Елюенэ, ''Eljune''; sah, Өлүөнэ, ''Ölüöne''; bua, Зүлхэ, ''Zülkhe''; mn, З ...
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 Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an 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 North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
by land, as previously theorized. On the contrary, they probably came through the water, using a
Pacific The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific
coastal road. An early presence of French-Canadian trappers is visible in names and
toponym Toponymy, toponymics, or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''toponyms Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''wikt: ...
s: Nez Percé, Cœur d'Alène, Boisé, Payette, some preexisting the
Lewis and Clark Lewis may refer to: Names * Lewis (given name) Lewis () is a masculine English-language given name. It was coined as an anglicisation Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the p ...

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 In the 19th century, the Oregon Country was a disputed region of the Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a geographic region in western North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphe ...
, 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 The Provisional Government of Oregon was a popularly elected settler government created in the Oregon Country In the 19th century, the Oregon Country was a disputed region of the Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a geogra ...
. 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. Between then and the creation of the
Idaho Territory The Territory of Idaho was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 3, 1863, until July 3, 1890, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as Idaho Idaho () is a U.S. state, ...
on March 4, 1863, at Lewiston, parts of the present-day state were included in the
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...
,
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
, and
Dakota Dakota may refer to: * Dakota people, a sub-tribe of the Sioux ** Dakota language, their language From this origin, Dakota may also refer to: Places United States * Dakota, Georgia, an unincorporated community * Dakota, Illinois, a town * Dak ...
Territories. The new territory included present-day Idaho,
Montana Montana () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Montana
, and most of
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The List of U.S. states and territories by area, 10th largest state by area, it is also the List of U.S. states and territories b ...
. 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. The first non-indigenous settlement was
Kullyspell HouseKullyspell House (also spelled Kullyspel House) was a fur trading post established in 1809 on Lake Pend Oreille Lake Pend Oreille ( ) in the northern Idaho Panhandle is the largest lake in the U.S. state of Idaho and the List of largest lakes of t ...
, established on the shore of
Lake Pend Oreille Lake Pend Oreille ( ) in the northern Idaho Panhandle The Idaho Panhandle—locally known as North Idaho—is a salient region of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly know ...

Lake Pend Oreille
for fur trading in 1809 by of the
North West Company The North West Company was a fur trading business headquartered in Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the second-most populous city in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and t ...
. In 1812 Donald Mackenzie, working for the
Pacific Fur Company The Pacific Fur Company (PFC) was an American fur trade The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of a world fur market in the early modern period, furs of boreal, polar ...
at the time, established a post on the lower Clearwater River near present-day Lewiston. 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 Boise () is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercas ...

Boise
,
disenfranchisement Disfranchisement, also called disenfranchisement, or voter disqualification is the restriction of suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometime ...
of
Mormon Mormons are a religious Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is v ...
polygamist Polygamy (from Greek language, Late Greek , ''polygamía'', "state of marriage to many spouses") is the practice of marriage, marrying multiple spouses. When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call this poly ...
s upheld by the
U.S. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a coun ...

U.S. Supreme Court
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
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
which had been a state since 1864, Idaho achieved statehood in 1890. Idaho was one of the hardest hit of the
Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a geographic region in western bounded by its coastal waters of the to the west and, loosely, by the to the east. Though no official boundary exists, the most common conception includes the U.S. states of , , ...
states during the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
. 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. During the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial numbe ...

COVID-19 pandemic
, Idaho enacted statewide crisis standards of care as COVID-19 patients overwhelmed hospitals. The state had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country as of mid-October 2021.


Geography

Idaho borders six U.S. states and one Canadian province. The states of
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
and
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...

Oregon
are to the west,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
and
Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its so ...

Utah
are to the south, and Montana and Wyoming are to the east. Idaho also shares a short border with the Canadian province of
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British C ...

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 The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, ...

Rocky Mountain
state with abundant natural resources and scenic areas. The state has snow-capped mountain ranges, rapids, vast lakes and steep canyons. The waters of the
Snake River The Snake River is a major river of the greater Pacific Northwest region in the United States. At long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, in turn the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean. The Snake Ri ...

Snake River
run through
Hells Canyon Hells Canyon is a canyon located along the border of eastern Oregon, a small section of eastern Washington and western Idaho Idaho () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It borders the state of M ...
, the deepest gorge in the United States.
Shoshone Falls Shoshone Falls () is a waterfall A waterfall is an area where water flows over a vertical drop or a series of steep drops in the course of a stream or river. Waterfalls also occur where meltwater drops over the edge of a tabular iceberg or ice ...

Shoshone Falls
falls down cliffs from a height greater than
Niagara Falls Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge, spanning the Canada–United States border, border between the Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Ontario in Canada and the U.S. state, state o ...

Niagara Falls
. By far, the most important river in Idaho is the Snake River, a major tributary of the Columbia River. The Snake River flows out from
Yellowstone Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by ...

Yellowstone
in northwestern
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The List of U.S. states and territories by area, 10th largest state by area, it is also the List of U.S. states and territories b ...
through the
Snake River Plain The Snake River cutting through the plain leaves many canyons and Canyon#List of gorges">gorges, such as this one near Twin Falls, Idaho , 2008 The Snake River Plain is a geology, geologic feature located primarily within the U.S. state of Id ...

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 Pend Oreille River ( ) is a tributary A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main ste ...
, the
Spokane River The Spokane River is a tributary of the Columbia River The Columbia River (Upper Chinook Upper Chinook, endonym Kiksht, also known as Columbia Chinook, and Wasco-Wishram after its last surviving dialect, is a recently extinct language of ...
, and major tributaries of the Snake river, including the Clearwater River, the Salmon River, the
Boise River The Boise River is a U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. , accessed May 3, 2011 tributary of the Snake River in the Northwestern United States. It drains a rugged portion of the Sawtooth Range (Idaho) ...

Boise River
, and the
Payette River The Payette River is an U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline dataThe National Map accessed May 3, 2011 river in southwestern Idaho and is a major tributary of the Snake River. Its headwaters originate in th ...

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 Port of Lewiston, at the confluence of the Clearwater and the Snake Rivers is the farthest inland
seaport A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime Southeast Asia * The Maritimes, the Canadian provinces of ...
on the West Coast at 465 
river mile A river mile is a measure of distance in miles The mile, sometimes the international mile or statute mile to distinguish it from other miles, is a British imperial unit and US customary unit United States customary units (U.S. customary ...
s from the Pacific at
Astoria, Oregon Astoria is a Port, port city and the seat of Clatsop County, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1811, Astoria is the oldest city in the state of Oregon and was the first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. The county is the northwest ...
. 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 valley contains the major cities of
Boise Boise () is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercas ...

Boise
,
Meridian Meridian, or a meridian line may refer to Science * Meridian (astronomy), imaginary circle in a plane perpendicular to the planes of the celestial equator and horizon **Central meridian (planets) * Meridian (geography), an imaginary arc on the E ...
,
Nampa The Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) is the national news agency of the Republic of Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continen ...
, Caldwell, Twin Falls,
Idaho Falls Idaho Falls is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and t ...
, and
Pocatello Pocatello () is the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United Sta ...
. The plain served as an easy pass through the Rocky Mountains for westward-bound settlers on the
Oregon Trail The Oregon Trail was a east–west, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of what is now the state of Kansas ...
, and many settlers chose to settle the area rather than risking the treacherous route through the
Blue MountainsBlue Mountains may refer to: Geography *Blue Mountains (New South Wales), Australia **City of Blue Mountains, a local government area west of Sydney **Blue Mountains Line, a railway line **Blue Mountains National Park **Blue Mountains walking track ...
and the
Cascade Range The Cascade Range or Cascades is a major mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structur ...
to the west. The western region of the plain is known as the
Treasure Valley The Treasure Valley is a valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by erosion of the land su ...

Treasure Valley
, bound between the to the southwest and the
Boise Mountains The Boise Mountains are a mountain range in the U.S. state of Idaho, spanning part of Boise National Forest, Boise and Sawtooth National Forest, Sawtooth List of U.S. National Forests, national forests. The highest point in the range is Two Point M ...
to the northeast. The central region of the Snake River Plain is known as the
Magic Valley The Magic Valley is a region in south-central Idaho constituting Blaine County, Idaho, Blaine, Camas County, Idaho, Camas, Cassia County, Idaho, Cassia, Gooding County, Idaho, Gooding, Jerome County, Idaho, Jerome, Lincoln County, Idaho, Lincoln, M ...
. Idaho's highest point is
Borah Peak Borah Peak, also known as Mount Borah or Beauty Peak, is the highest mountain in the U.S. state of Idaho and one of the most prominent peaks in the contiguous United States. It is located in the central section of the Lost River Range, within the ...
, , in the Lost River Range north of Mackay. Idaho's lowest point, , is in Lewiston, where the Clearwater River joins the
Snake River The Snake River is a major river of the greater Pacific Northwest region in the United States. At long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, in turn the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean. The Snake Ri ...

Snake River
and continues into Washington. The Sawtooth Range is often considered Idaho's most famous mountain range. Other mountain ranges in Idaho include the
Bitterroot Range The Bitterroot Range is a mountain range and a subrange of the Rocky Mountains that runs along the border of Montana and Idaho in the northwestern United States. The range spans an area of and is named after the bitterroot (''Lewisia rediviva'') ...
, the
White Cloud Mountains The White Cloud Mountains are part of the Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the ...
, the Lost River Range, the
Clearwater Mountains The Clearwater Mountains are part of the Rocky Mountains, located in the Idaho Panhandle, panhandle of Idaho in the Western United States, Western United States. The mountains lie between the Salmon River (Idaho), Salmon River and the Bitterroot Ra ...
, and the
Salmon River Mountains The Salmon River Mountains are a major mountain range covering most of the central part of the U.S. state of Idaho. The range is over long and its boundaries are usually defined by the Salmon River (Idaho), Salmon River and its large tributary fork ...
. Idaho has two
time zones Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , through the , into the . It is a component quantity of various s used to events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to of ...
, with the dividing line approximately midway between Canada and
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
. Southern Idaho, including the
Boise metropolitan area The Boise City–Nampa, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (commonly known as the Boise Metropolitan Area or the Treasure Valley) is an area that encompasses Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem, and Owyhee counties in southwestern Idaho. It is distinct ...
,
Idaho Falls Idaho Falls is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and t ...
,
Pocatello Pocatello () is the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United Sta ...
, and Twin Falls, are in the
Mountain Time Zone The Mountain Time Zone of North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bor ...
. A legislative error ( §264) theoretically placed this region in the
Central Time Zone The North American Central Time Zone (CT) is a time zone A time zone is an area that observes a uniform standard time for legal, Commerce, commercial and social purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries between Country, countrie ...
, but this was corrected with a 2007 amendment. Areas north of the Salmon River, including Coeur d'Alene,
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
, Lewiston, and , are in the
Pacific Time Zone The Pacific Time Zone (PT) is a time zone A time zone is an area that observes a uniform for , and purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries between and their instead of strictly following , because it is convenient for a ...
, which contains less than a quarter of the state's population and land area.


Climate

Idaho's
climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a la ...

climate
varies widely. Although the state's western border is about from the Pacific Ocean, the maritime influence is still felt in Idaho, especially in the winter when cloud cover,
humidity Humidity is the concentration of water vapor, water vapour present in the air. Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is generally invisible to the human eye. Humidity indicates the likelihood for precipitation (meteorology), precipitation, d ...

humidity
, and
precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw mod ...
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. In the panhandle, moist air masses from the coast are released as precipitation over the
North Central Rockies forests The North Central Rockies forests is a temperate coniferous forest ecoregion of Canada and the United States. This region overlaps in large part with the North American inland temperate rainforest and gets more rain on average than the South Centra ...
, creating the North American inland temperate rainforest. 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 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 Day, 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 was recorded at Orofino, Idaho, Orofino on July 28, 1934; the all-time lowest temperature of was recorded at Island Park Dam on January 18, 1943.


Lakes and rivers


Protected areas

As of 2018:


National parks, reserves, monuments and historic sites

* California National Historic Trail * City of Rocks National Reserve * Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve * Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument * Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail * Minidoka National Historic Site * Nez Perce National Historical Park * Oregon National Historic Trail * Yellowstone National Park * Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail


National recreation areas


National wildlife refuges and Wilderness Areas


National conservation areas

* Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area


State parks


Demographics


Population

The United States Census Bureau determined Idaho's population was 1,839,106 on July 1, 2020, a 17% increase since the 2010 U.S. census. 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 included a natural increase since the last census of 58,884 (111,131 births minus 52,247 deaths) and an increase due to net Human migration, migration of 75,795 people into the state. There are large numbers of Americans of English and German ancestry in Idaho. Immigration to the United States, 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 ninth List of U.S. states by population growth rate, fastest-growing state after
Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its so ...

Utah
(+14.37%), Texas (+14.14%), Florida (+13.29%), Colorado (+13.25%), North Dakota (+13.01%),
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
(+12.36%), Arizona (+12.20%) and Washington. From 2017 to 2018, Idaho grew the second-fastest, surpassed only by Nevada. Nampa, about west of downtown Boise, became the state's second largest city in the late 1990s, passing Pocatello and Idaho Falls. 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. Growth of 5% or more over the same period has also been observed in Caldwell, Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, Idaho, Post Falls, and Twin Falls. From 1990 to 2010, Idaho's population increased by over 560,000 (55%). The
Boise metropolitan area The Boise City–Nampa, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (commonly known as the Boise Metropolitan Area or the Treasure Valley) is an area that encompasses Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem, and Owyhee counties in southwestern Idaho. It is distinct ...
(officially known as the Boise City-Nampa, ID Metropolitan Statistical Area) is Idaho's largest metropolitan area. Other metropolitan areas in order of size are Coeur d'Alene,
Idaho Falls Idaho Falls is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and t ...
,
Pocatello Pocatello () is the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United Sta ...
and Lewiston. The table below shows the ethnic composition of Idaho's population as of 2016. According to the 2017 American Community Survey, 12.2% of Idaho's population were of Hispanic and Latino Americans, Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race): Mexican Americans, Mexican (10.6%), Stateside Puerto Ricans, Puerto Rican (0.2%), Cuban Americans, Cuban (0.1%), and other Hispanic or Latino origin (1.3%). The five largest ancestry groups were: German Americans, German (17.5%), English Americans, English (16.4%), Irish Americans, Irish (9.3%), American ancestry, American (8.1%), and Scottish Americans, Scottish (3.2%). ;;Birth data ''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.'' * Since 2016, data for births of White Hispanic and Latino Americans, White Hispanic origin are not collected, but included in one ''Hispanic'' group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.


Religion

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: 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 in Idaho, 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 USA, Assemblies of God with 22,183.


Language

English is the state's predominant language. Minority languages include Spanish language, Spanish and various Native American languages of Idaho, Native American languages.


Economy

As of 2016, the state's total employment was 562,282, and the total employer establishments were 45,826. 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
potato The potato is a starch#Food, starchy tuber of the plant ''Solanum tuberosum'' and is a root vegetable native to the Americas. The plant is a perennial plant, perennial in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Wild potato species can be found thro ...

potato
es 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. The world's largest factory for barrel cheese, the raw product for processed cheese is in Gooding, Idaho. It has a capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year of barrel cheese and belongs to the Glanbia group. The
Idaho National Laboratory Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is one of the national laboratories of the United States Department of Energy The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box ...
(INL) is the largest Department of Energy facility in the country by area. INL is an important part of the eastern Idaho economy. Idaho also is home to three facilities of Anheuser-Busch which provide a large part of the malt for Brewery, breweries across the nation. 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 are 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. Wine grapes were grown between Kendrick, Idaho, Kendrick and Juliaetta in the
Idaho Panhandle The Idaho Panhandle—locally known as North Idaho—is a salient region of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contigu ...

Idaho Panhandle
by the French Rothschilds until Prohibition. 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. Since the late 1970s,
Boise Boise () is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercas ...

Boise
has emerged as a center for semiconductor manufacturing. Boise is the home of Micron Technology, the only U.S. manufacturer of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips. Micron at one time manufactured desktop computers, but with very limited success. Hewlett-Packard has operated a large plant in Boise since the 1970s, which is devoted primarily to HP LaserJet, LaserJet printers production. 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 Pocatello () is the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United Sta ...
, is a widely recognized innovator of modern integrated mixed-signal semiconductor products, mixed-signal foundry services, and structured digital products. Coldwater Creek, a women's clothing retailer, is headquartered in . Sun Microsystems (now a part of Oracle Corporation) has two offices in Boise and a parts depot in Pocatello. Sun brings $4 million in annual salaries and over $300 million of revenue to the state each year. A number of Fortune 500 companies started in or trace their roots to Idaho, including Safeway Inc., Safeway in American Falls, Idaho, American Falls, Albertsons (SuperValu), Albertsons in Boise, JR Simplot across southern Idaho, and Potlatch Corp. in Lewiston. 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. Idaho has a Idaho Lottery, state gambling lottery which contributed $333.5 million in payments to all Idaho School district, public schools and List of colleges and universities in Idaho, Idaho higher education from 1990 to 2006. File:2007 ID Proof Rev.png, Idaho 50 State quarters, state quarter File:US ID AmericanFalls.jpg, American Falls Dam File:Wheat harvest.jpg, Wheat harvest on the Palouse


Taxation

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. Hotel, motel, and campground accommodations are taxed at a higher rate (7% to 11%). 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.


Energy

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). As of 2017, Idaho had a regulated electricity market, with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission regulating the three major utilities of Avista, Avista Utilities, Idaho Power, and PacifiCorp, Rocky Mountain Power. 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 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 is just above the national average of . As the 13th‑largest state in terms of land area of , 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 in Idaho, 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. Idaho had 973 MW of installed wind power as of 2020.


Transportation

The Idaho Transportation Department is the government agency responsible for Idaho's transportation infrastructure, including Maintenance, repair and operations, operations and maintenance as well as planning for future needs. The agency is also responsible for overseeing the disbursement of Administration of federal assistance in the United States, federal, state, and Grant (money), grant funding for the transportation programs of the state.


Highways

Idaho is among the few states in the nation without a major freeway linking its two largest metropolitan areas, Boise in the south and Coeur d'Alene in the north. U.S. Route 95 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. Interstate 84 in Idaho, I-84 is the main highway linking the southeast and southwest portions of the state, along with Interstate 86 (Idaho), I-86 and Interstate 15 in Idaho, I-15. Major federal aid highways in Idaho:


Airports

Major airports include the Boise Airport which serves the southwest region of Idaho and the Spokane International Airport (in Spokane, Washington) which serves northern 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 Idaho, north central and west central Idaho; The Magic Valley Regional Airport in Twin Falls; the Idaho Falls Regional Airport; and the Pocatello Regional Airport.


Railroads

Idaho is served by three transcontinental railroads. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) connects the
Idaho Panhandle The Idaho Panhandle—locally known as North Idaho—is a salient region of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contigu ...

Idaho Panhandle
with Seattle, Portland, Oregon, Portland, and Spokane, Washington, Spokane to the west, and Minneapolis and Chicago to the east. The BNSF travels through Kootenai County, Idaho, Kootenai, Bonner County, Idaho, Bonner, and Boundary County, Idaho, Boundary counties. The Union Pacific Railroad crosses North Idaho entering from Canada through Boundary County, Idaho, Boundary and Bonner County, Idaho, Bonner, and proceeding to Spokane. Canadian Pacific Railway uses Union Pacific Railroad tracks in North Idaho carrying products from Alberta, Canada, Alberta to Spokane, Washington, Spokane and Portland, Oregon. Amtrak's Empire Builder crosses northern Idaho, with its only stop being in . Montana Rail Link also operates between Billings, Montana, and Sandpoint, Idaho. The Union Pacific Railroad also crosses southern Idaho traveling between Portland, Oregon, Green River,
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The List of U.S. states and territories by area, 10th largest state by area, it is also the List of U.S. states and territories b ...
, and Ogden, Utah, and serves
Boise Boise () is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercas ...

Boise
,
Nampa The Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) is the national news agency of the Republic of Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continen ...
, Twin Falls, and Pocatello.


Ports

The Port of Lewiston is the farthest inland Pacific port on the west coast. A series of dams and locks on the Snake River and Columbia River facilitate barge travel from Lewiston to Portland, where goods are loaded on ocean-going vessels.


Law and government


State constitution

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 plebiscite. 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.


State government

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. They include: List of Governors of Idaho, Governor, Lieutenant Governor of Idaho, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State of Idaho, Secretary of State, Idaho state controller (Auditor before 1994), Treasurer, Idaho Attorney General, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction. 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 Alcoholic beverage control state, alcohol monopoly; the Idaho State Liquor Division.


Executive branch

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. The current governor is Republican Party (United States), Republican Brad Little, who was elected in 2018.


Legislative branch

Idaho's State legislature (United States), 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. Terms for both the Idaho Senate, Senate and Idaho House of Representatives, House of Representatives are two years. 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, Idaho, Blaine County and the northern Panhandle.


Judicial branch

The highest court in Idaho is the Idaho Supreme Court. There is also an intermediate appellate court, the Idaho Court of Appeals, which hears cases assigned to it from the Supreme Court. The state's District Courts serve seven judicial districts.


Politics

After the American Civil War, Civil War, many Midwestern and Southern Democratic Party (United States), Democrats moved to the Idaho Territory. As a result, the early territorial legislatures were solidly Democrat-controlled. In contrast, most of the territorial governors were appointed by Republican Party (United States), Republican presidents and were Republicans. This led to sometimes-bitter clashes between the two parties, including a range war with the Democrats backing the sheepherders and the Republicans the cattlemen, which ended in the Jack Davis (prospector), "Diamondfield" Jack Davis murder trial. In the 1880s, Republicans became more prominent in local politics. In 1864, Clinton DeWitt Smith removed the territorial seal and the state constitution from a locked safe, and took them to Boise. This effectively moved the capital from where they were stored (Lewiston, Idaho) to the current capital Boise. Since statehood, the Republican Party has usually been the dominant party in Idaho. At one time, Idaho had two Democratic parties, one being the mainstream and the other called the Anti-Mormon Democrats, lasting into the early 20th century. In the 1890s and early 1900s, the Populist Party (United States), Populist Party enjoyed prominence while the Democratic Party maintained a brief dominance in the 1930s during the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
. Since World WarII most statewide-elected officials have been Republicans, though the Democrats did hold the majority in the House (by one seat) in 1958 and the governorship from 1971 to 1995. Idaho Congressional delegations have also been generally Republican since statehood. Several Idaho Democrats have had electoral success in the U.S. House of Representatives over the years, but the United States Senate, Senate delegation has been a Republican stronghold for decades. Several Idaho Republicans, including current Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, have won reelection to the Senate, but only Frank Church has won reelection as a Democrat. Church's 1974 United States Senate election in Idaho, 1974 victory was the last win for his party for either Senate seat, and Walt Minnick's 2008 victory in the Idaho's 1st congressional district, 1st congressional district was the last Democratic win in any congressional race. In modern times, Idaho has been a reliably Republican state in presidential politics. It has not supported a Democrat for president of the United States, president since 1964 United States presidential election, 1964. Even in that election, Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in the state by fewer than two percentage points, compared to a landslide nationally. In 2004 United States presidential election, 2004, Republican George W. Bush carried Idaho by a margin of 38 percentage points and with 68.4% of the vote, winning in 43 of 44 counties. Only Blaine County, Idaho, Blaine County, which contains the Sun Valley, Idaho, Sun Valley ski resort, supported John Kerry, who owns a home in the area. In 2008 United States presidential election, 2008 Barack Obama's 36.1 percent showing was the best for a Democratic presidential candidate in Idaho since 1976 United States presidential election, 1976. However, Republican margins were narrower in 1992 United States presidential election, 1992 and 1976 United States presidential election, 1976. In the 2006 elections, Republicans, led by gubernatorial candidate C. L. Otter, CL "Butch" Otter, won all the state's constitutional offices and retained both of the state's seats in the House. However, Democrats picked up several seats in the Idaho Legislature, notably in the Boise area. Republicans lost one of the House seats in 2008 to Minnick, but Republican Jim Risch retained Larry Craig's Senate seat for the GOP by a comfortable margin. Minnick lost his seat in the 2010 election to Republican State Rep. Raul Labrador.


Education


K–12

As of January 2020, the State of Idaho contains 105 school districts and 62 charter schools. The school districts range in enrollment from two to 39,507 students. Idaho school districts are governed by elected school boards, which are elected in November of odd-numbered years, except for the Boise School District, whose elections are held in September.


Colleges and universities

The Idaho State Board of Education oversees three comprehensive universities. The University of Idaho in
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
was the first university in the state (founded in 1889). It opened its doors in 1892 and is the Land-grant university, land-grant institution and primary research university of the state. Idaho State University in Pocatello opened in 1901 as the Academy of Idaho, attained four-year status in 1947 and university status in 1963. Boise State University is the most recent school to attain university status in Idaho. The school opened in 1932 as Boise Junior College and became Boise State University in 1974. Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston is the only public, non-university four-year college in Idaho. It opened as a normal school in 1893. Idaho has four regional community colleges: North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene; College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls; College of Western Idaho in
Nampa The Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) is the national news agency of the Republic of Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continen ...
, which opened in 2009, College of Eastern Idaho in
Idaho Falls Idaho Falls is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and t ...
, which transitioned from a technical college in 2017. Private institutions in Idaho are Boise Bible College, affiliated with congregations of the Christian churches and churches of Christ; Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho, Rexburg, which is affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a sister college to Brigham Young University; The College of Idaho in Caldwell, which still maintains a loose affiliation with the Presbyterian Church; Northwest Nazarene University in
Nampa The Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) is the national news agency of the Republic of Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continen ...
; and New Saint Andrews College in
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
, of reformed Christian theological background. McCall College is a non-affiliated two-year private college in McCall, Idaho, McCall, which was founded in 2011 and later opened in 2013.


Sports

Central Idaho is home to one of North America's oldest ski resorts, Sun Valley, Idaho, Sun Valley, where the world's first chairlift was installed in 1936. Other noted outdoor sites include
Hells Canyon Hells Canyon is a canyon located along the border of eastern Oregon, a small section of eastern Washington and western Idaho Idaho () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It borders the state of M ...
, the Salmon River, and its embarkation point of Riggins, Idaho, Riggins. The Boise Open professional golf tournament has been played at Hillcrest Country Club (Boise, Idaho), Hillcrest Country Club since 1990 as part of the Korn Ferry Tour. The Open has been part of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals since 2016. High school sports are overseen by the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA). In 2016, Meridian's Michael Slagowski ran 800 meters in 1:48.70. That is one of the 35 fastest 800-meter times ever run by a high school boy in the United States. Weeks later, he would become only the ninth high school boy to complete a mile in under four minutes, running 3:59.53.


In popular culture

Judy Garland performed the elaborate song-and-dance routine "Born in a Trunk in the Princess Theater in Pocatello, Idaho" in the 1954 version of the film ''A Star Is Born (1954 film), A Star is Born''. The 1985 film ''Pale Rider'' was primarily filmed in the Boulder Mountains (Idaho), Boulder Mountains and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho, just north of Sun Valley, Idaho, Sun Valley. River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves starred in the 1991 movie ''My Own Private Idaho'', portions of which take place in Idaho. The 2004 cult film ''Napoleon Dynamite'' takes place in Preston, Idaho; the film's director, Jared Hess, attended Preston High School (Idaho), Preston High School.


See also

* Index of Idaho-related articles * Outline of Idaho


References


External links

* .
Idaho State Guide, from the Library of Congress
* * . * . * . * —Annotated list of searchable databases produced by Idaho state agencies. * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * {{coord, 44.3509, -114.6130, dim:500000_region:US-ID_type:adm1st, name=State of Idaho, display=title Idaho, 1890 establishments in the United States States and territories established in 1890 States of the United States U.S. states with multiple time zones Western United States Contiguous United States