Although justifiably known for its world-renowned potatoes, Idaho has much more to offer than just its leading agricultural export, writes Jim Hoehn in Eight Reasons to Move to Idaho.
Idaho is a state in the northwestern region of the United States. It borders the state of Montana to the east and northeast, Wyoming to the east, Nevada and Utah to the south, and Washington and Oregon to the west. To the north, it shares a small portion of the Canadian border with the province of British Columbia. With a population of around 1.6 million and an area of 83,569 square miles (216,440 km2), 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.
Nestled against the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon, Idaho offers a scenic mix of rivers, jagged peaks and farmland with the lowest cost of living of the 11 western states. Although the 11th-largest state in terms of size, Idaho ranks 39th in population. Boise, the state capital, has a population of 218,281, but is the only city with a population of more than 100,000.
Idaho prior to European settlement was inhabited by Native American peoples, some of whom still live in the area. In the early 19th century, Idaho was considered part of the Oregon Country, an area disputed between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. 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.
Forming part of the Pacific Northwest (and the associated Cascadia bioregion), Idaho is divided into several distinct geographic and climatic regions. In the state’s north, the relatively isolated Idaho Panhandle is closely linked with Eastern Washington, with which it shares the Pacific Time Zone – the rest of the state uses the Mountain Time Zone. The state’s south includes the Snake River Plain (which contains most of the population and agricultural land), while the south-east incorporates part of the Great Basin. Idaho is quite mountainous, and contains several stretches of the Rocky Mountains. Additionally, around 38 percent of Idaho’s land is held by the United States Forest Service, the most of any state.