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Idaho ( ) is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States of Americamarker. The state's largest city and capital is Boisemarker. Residents are called "Idahoans." Idaho was admitted to the Unionmarker on 3 July 1890 as the 43rd state.

Idaho is a mostly mountainous state larger than the whole of New Englandmarker. It is landlocked, surrounded by the states of Washingtonmarker, Oregonmarker, Nevadamarker, Utahmarker, Wyomingmarker, Montanamarker and the Canadian Province of British Columbiamarker. However, the network of dams and locks on the Columbia River and Snake River make Lewiston, Idahomarker the farthest inland seaport on the west coast of the continental United States.

To residents of the state and regular visitors, Idaho is regarded as a highly outdoors-oriented community. Central Idaho is home to one of North America's oldest ski resorts, Sun Valley, where the world's first chairlift was installed. Snow sports are important keystones of Idaho's identity, with a ski resort adjacent to nearly every urban area. Whitewater rafting and kayaking are among the state's major pastimes. Hell's Canyonmarker and the Salmon River boast some of North America's finest whitewater, with the nearby town of Riggins, IDmarker serving as the state's informal whitewater capital.

According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2008 the population for Idaho was estimated to be 1,523,816. The state's postal abbreviation is ID. Idaho's nickname is the Gem State because nearly every known gem has been found there. In addition, Idaho is one of only two places in the world where star garnets can be found (the other is the Himalaya Mountainsmarker, in Indiamarker), and is the only place six pointed star garnets have been found. The state motto is Esto Perpetua (Latin for "Let it be forever").


Digitally colored elevation map of Idaho.
Idaho Population Density Map
Sixty percent of Idaho's land is held by the National Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management, and it leads the nation in forest service land as a percentage of total area.
Crooked Creek in Gospel Hump Wilderness, Idaho
A scenic part of the Snake River in Idaho Falls.

Idaho borders six states and one Canadianmarker province. The states of Washingtonmarker and Oregonmarker are to the west, Nevadamarker and Utahmarker are to the south, and Montanamarker and Wyomingmarker are to the east. Idaho also shares a short border ( ) with the Canadian province of British Columbiamarker to the north. The landscape is rugged with some of the largest unspoiled natural areas in the United States. It is a 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 Snake River rush through Hells Canyonmarker, the deepest canyon in the United States.

Shoshone Fallsmarker plunges down rugged cliffs from a height greater than that of Niagara Fallsmarker.The major rivers in Idaho are the Snake River, the Clark Fork/Pend Oreille River, the Clearwater River and the Salmon River. Other significant rivers include the Coeur d'Alene Rivermarker, the Spokane River, the Boise River and the Payette Rivermarker. The Port of Lewistonmarker, at the confluence of the Clearwater and the Snake Rivers is the farthest inland seaport on the West Coast.

Idaho's highest point is Borah Peakmarker, , in the Lost River Rangemarker north of Mackaymarker. Idaho's lowest point, , is in Lewistonmarker, where the Clearwater River joins the Snake River and continues into Washingtonmarker. The Sawtooth Range is often considered Idaho's most famous mountain range.

Map of Idaho
Idaho, including the Boise metropolitan area, Idaho Fallsmarker, Pocatellomarker, and Twin Fallsmarker are in the Mountain Time Zone. (A legislative oddity ( § 264) theoretically placed this region in the Central Time Zone, but this error was corrected with a 2007 Amendment.) Areas north of the Salmon River, including Coeur d'Alenemarker, Moscowmarker, Lewistonmarker, and Sandpointmarker are in the Pacific Time Zone and revolve commercially and culturally around Spokane, Washingtonmarker.


Idaho has much variation in its climate. Although the state's western border is located about from the Pacific Oceanmarker, the maritime influence is still felt in Idaho, especially in the winter when cloud cover, humidity, and precipitation are at their highest points. 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 a mostly elevated altitude. The maritime influence is lowest in the southeastern part of the state where the precipitation patterns are often reversed, with wetter summers and drier winters, and seasonal temperature differences more extreme, showing a more continental climate.

Climate in Idaho can be hot, although extended periods over for the maximum temperature are rare. Hot summer days are tempered by the low relative humidity and cooler evenings during summer months since, for most of the state, the highest diurnal difference in temperature is often in the summer. Winters can be cold, although extended periods of bitter cold weather below zero are unusual.

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Idaho Cities.
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Boise 37/24 44/29 54/34 62/39 71/47 80/54 89/60 88/60 77/51 64/41 48/32 37/24
Lewiston 39/28 46/31 54/36 62/41 70/47 78/54 88/59 88/59 77/51 62/41 47/34 39/28
Pocatello 32/16 39/21 48/27 58/33 68/39 78/46 88/51 87/50 76/42 62/33 44/25 34/17



Humans may have been present in the Idaho area as long as 14,500 years ago. Excavations at Wilson Butte Cavemarker near Twin Fallsmarker in 1959 revealed evidence of human activity, including arrowheads, that rank among the oldest dated artifacts in North America. Native American tribes predominant in the area included the Nez Perce in the north and the Northern and Western Shoshone in the south.

Idaho, as part of the Oregon Country, was claimed by both the United States and Great Britainmarker 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.

Between then and the creation of the Idaho Territory in 1863, parts of the present-day state were included in the Oregonmarker, Washington, and Dakota Territories. The new territory included most of present-day Idaho, Montanamarker, and Wyomingmarker. The first organized communities, within the present borders of Idaho, were established in 1860.

After some tribulation as a territory, including the chaotic transfer of the territorial capital from Lewistonmarker to Boisemarker, disenfranchisement of Mormon polygamists, and a federal attempt to split the territory between Washington Territory and the state of Nevadamarker, Idaho achieved statehood in 1890. The economy of the state, which had been primarily supported by metal mining, shifted towards agriculture and tourism.

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.

The Idaho State Historical Society preserves and promotes Idaho’s cultural heritage.

Origin of name

Lake Coeur d'Alene in North Idaho.
was possibly named as the result of a hoax (the so-called "Idahoax") although this is disputed. The exact origin of the name remains a mystery. In the early 1860s, when the United States Congress was considering organizing a new territory in the Rocky Mountains, eccentric lobbyist George M. Willing suggested the name "Idaho," which he claimed was derived from a Shoshone language term meaning "the sun comes from the mountains" or "gem of the mountains." Willing later claimed that he had made up the name himself. Congress ultimately decided to name the area Colorado Territory when it was created in February 1861.

However, the name "Idaho" did not go away. The same year Congress created Colorado Territory, a county called Idaho Countymarker was created in eastern Washington Territory. The county was named after a steamship named Idaho, which was launched on the Columbia River in 1860. It is unclear whether the steamship was named before or after Willing's claim was revealed. Regardless, a portion of Washington Territory, including Idaho County, was used to create Idaho Territory in 1863.

Despite this lack of evidence for the origin of the name, many textbooks well into the 20th century repeated as fact Willing's account that the name "Idaho" derived from the Shoshone term "ee-da-how".

An excerpt from an Idaho History Textbook:
"Idaho" is a Shoshoni 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 the English language. 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".

Chief Joseph Seltice, of the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Nation, posits another possible origin of the name. In his history of the tribe, Saga of the Coeur d'Alene Indians, he writes:
    Some sources claim that the name "Idaho" comes from an Indian word, "Ee-dah-how," meaning "Gem of the Mountains." This expression may have come from some other Tribe, and it would have a different meaning for them than it would for the Coeur d'Alenes.
As the Coeur d'Alenes understood the word "Idaho," it would be more correctly pronounced "Ah-d'Hoo." It means "greetings by surprise," indicating friendship, but surprise.
The first syllable conveys to the mind, "All are welcome, from wherever you come; but keep the friendly peace. We welcome you with out-stretched arms, and this entitles us to permanent friendship."
The last syllable is a surprise and exclamation point. The expression means that all are welcome, "though we are surprised to see so many different strangers. The first dawn of day welcomes you as the sun rises." This expression was used by many of the Coeur d'Alenes on the Bitterroot Mountains to greet all who come.
So to all who read these words: "Welcome, with open arms! We're just surprised that there are so many of you!"


As of 2005, Idaho has an estimated population of 1,429,096, which is an increase of 33,956, or 2.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 135,140, or 10.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 58,884 people (that is 111,131 births minus 52,247 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 75,795 people into the state. 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 sixth fastest-growing state after Arizonamarker, Nevadamarker, Floridamarker, Georgiamarker, and Utahmarker. From 2004 to 2005, Idaho grew the third-fastest, surpassed only by Nevada and Arizona.

Nampamarker, the state's second largest city, has experienced particularly strong growth in recent years. According to census estimates Nampa has grown 22.1% to nearly 65,000 residents between 2000 and 2003. As of 2007, the population in Nampamarker was estimated at 84,000. Growth of 5% or more over the same period has also been observed in Caldwellmarker, Coeur d'Alenemarker, Meridianmarker, Post Fallsmarker and Twin Fallsmarker.[1873]

Since 1990, Idaho's population has increased by 386,000 (38%).

The Boise Metropolitan Area (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'Alenemarker, Idaho Fallsmarker, Pocatellomarker and Lewistonmarker.

As of 2006, six official micropolitan statistical areas are based in Idaho. Twin Falls is the largest of these.

The center of population of Idaho is located in Custer Countymarker, in the town of Stanleymarker.

The largest reported ancestries in the state are: German (18.9%), English (18.1%), Irish (10%), American (8.4%), Norwegian (3.6%), Swedish (3.5%).


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Idaho Falls Temple.

According to the 15th annual Idaho Public Policy study ([1874], 2004) by the Social Science Research Center at BSU, the ambiguous religious affiliations of Idahoans break down roughly as follows.

  • Protestant – 29.3%
  • LDS (Mormon) – 22.8%
  • Catholic – 14.3%
  • Non-Denominational Christian – 13.6%
  • None – 12.7%
  • Other – 7.2%

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 311,425; (2007: 399,427) the Roman Catholic Church with 130,847; the Assemblies of God with 18,745; and the United Methodist Church with 17,683.


American Falls Dam
Gross state product for 2004 was US$43.6 billion. The per capita income for 2004 was US$26,881.Idaho is an important agricultural state, producing nearly one third of the potatoes grown in the United States.

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 located in Gooding, Idahomarker. It has a capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year of barrel cheese and belongs to the Glanbiamarker group. The Idaho National Laboratorymarker (INL), a government lab for nuclear energy research, is also 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 breweries located across the nation.

Today, the largest industry in Idaho is the science and technology sector. It accounts for over 25% of the State's total revenue and 70%+ of the State's exports (in dollars). Idaho's industrial economy is growing, with high-tech products leading the way. Since the late 1970s, Boisemarker has emerged as a center for semiconductor manufacturing. Boise is the home of Micron Technology Inc., the only U.S. manufacturer of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips. Hewlett-Packard has operated a large plant in Boise since the 1970s, which is devoted primarily to LaserJet printers production.[1875] Dell, Inc. operates a major customer support call center in Twin Falls. AMI Semiconductor, whose worldwide headquarter locates in Pocatellomarker, is a widely recognized innovator in state-of-the-art integrated mixed-signal semiconductor products, mixed-signal foundry services, and structured digital products. Coldwater Creek, a women's clothing retailer, is headquartered in Sandpointmarker. Fortune 500 Sun Microsystems has two offices in Boise and a parts depot in Pocatello. Sun brings $4M in annual salaries and over $300M of revenue to the state each year.

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%. 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.

Idaho has a state gambling lottery which contributed $333.5 million in payments to all Idaho public schools and Idaho higher education from 1990 - 2006.


Electricity Generation in Idaho

The energy landscape of Idaho 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 best hydroelectric power resources in the nation and its geologically active mountain areas have significant geothermal power and wind power potential. These realities have shaped much of the state’s current energy landscape.

The state’s numerous river basins allow hydroelectric power plants to provide 556 thousand MWh, which amounts to about three-fourths of Idaho’s electricity output. 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 thousand 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 thousand MWh but still needs to import half of its electricity from out-of-state to meet demand.

While Idaho’s 515 trillion Btu total energy consumption is relatively low compared to 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 352 million Btu is currently just above the national average of 333 million Btu.

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.Given that Idaho has no crude oil reserves and a limited supply of natural gas, the state’s most realistic method of meeting this projected increase in demand is to develop its ample renewable resources.


Major highways
Idaho is among the few states in the nation without a major freeway linking the two largest metropolitan areas of Boisemarker in the south and Coeur d'Alenemarker in the north. 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 that the state's highway infrastructure faces a $200 million per year shortfall in maintenance and upgrades. Interstate 84 is the main highway linking the Southeast and Southwest portions of the state, along with Interstate 86 and Interstate 15.

Major federal aid highways in Idaho:

North North/South West/East Southwest

Air Travel

Major airports include the Boise International Airportmarker serving the southwest region of Idaho, and the Spokane International Airportmarker (actually located in Spokane, Washingtonmarker), which serves northern Idaho. Other airports with scheduled service are the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airportmarker serving the Palouse; the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airportmarker, serving the Lewis-Clark Valley and north central Idaho; The Magic Valley Regional Airportmarker in Twin Falls; the Idaho Falls Regional Airportmarker; and the Pocatello Regional Airportmarker.

Rail Travel

Idaho is served by two transcontinental railroads. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe connects North Idaho with Seattlemarker, Portlandmarker and Spokanemarker to the west, and Minneapolismarker and Chicagomarker to the east. The BNSF travels through Kootenaimarker, Bonnermarker and Boundarymarker Counties. The Union Pacific Railroad crosses southern Idaho traveling between Portland, Green River, WY, and Ogden, Utahmarker and serves Boisemarker, Nampamarker, Twin Fallsmarker, and Pocatellomarker. Amtrak's Empire Builder crosses northern Idaho, with its only stop being in Sandpointmarker. There has been a push recently to return Amtrak service to southern Idaho as well.


The Port of Lewistonmarker 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 here to Portlandmarker, where goods are loaded on ocean-going vessels.

Law and government

State capitol building in Boise

State Constitution

The Constitution of Idaho is roughly modeled on the national constitution with several additions. The constitution defines the form and function 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, the State of Idaho has limited debt (construction bonds, etc).

Idaho Code

All of Idaho's state laws are contained in the Idaho Code. The code is amended through the Legislature with the approval of the Governor. Although extensive, the code is exceptionally easy to read and interpret.

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. Idaho still operates under its original (1889) state constitution.

Since 1946, statewide elected constitutional officers have been elected to four-year terms. They include: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller (Auditor before 1994), Treasurer, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Last contested in 1966, Inspector of Mines was an original elected constitutional office. Afterward it was an appointed position and ultimately done away with entirely in 1974.

Idaho's government has an alcohol monopoly.

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 C. L. "Butch" Otter, who was elected in 2006.

Legislative Branch

Idaho's 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 that their position as a legislator is not their main occupation.

Terms for both the Senate and 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 Boisemarker, Pocatellomarker, Blaine Countymarker and the northern Panhandle.

See also List of Idaho senators and representatives

Judicial Branch

The highest court in Idaho is the Idaho Supreme Courtmarker. 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 serdistricts.


Idaho is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. As of 1919 there were 44 counties in the state, ranging in size from 410 to 8,502 square miles (1,062 to 22,020 square kilometers).
County name County seat Year founded Population 2008 Est. Percent Area (sq. m.) Percent
Adamarker Boisemarker 1864 380,920 25.00 % 1,060 1.21 %
Adamsmarker Councilmarker 1911 3,499 0.23 % 1,370 1.57 %
Bannockmarker Pocatellomarker 1893 80,812 5.30 % 1,147 1.31 %
Bear Lakemarker Parismarker 1893 5,798 0.38 % 1,049 1.20 %
Benewahmarker St. Mariesmarker 1915 9,352 0.61 % 784 0.90 %
Binghammarker Blackfootmarker 1885 43,903 2.88 % 2,120 2.42 %
Blainemarker Haileymarker 1895 21,731 1.43 % 2,661 3.04 %
Boisemarker Idaho Citymarker 1864 7,504 0.49 % 1,907 2.18 %
Bonnermarker Sandpointmarker 1907 41,168 2.70 % 1,920 2.19 %
Bonnevillemarker Idaho Fallsmarker 1911 99,135 6.51 % 1,901 2.17 %
Boundarymarker Bonners Ferrymarker 1915 10,962 0.72 % 1,278 1.46 %
Buttemarker Arcomarker 1917 2,751 0.18 % 2,234 2.55 %
Camasmarker Fairfieldmarker 1917 1,126 0.07 % 1,079 1.23 %
Canyonmarker Caldwellmarker 1891 183,939 12.07 % 604 0.69 %
Cariboumarker Soda Springsmarker 1919 6,826 0.45 % 1,799 2.06 %
Cassiamarker Burleymarker 1879 21,348 1.40 % 2,580 2.95 %
Clarkmarker Duboismarker 1919 910 0.06 % 1,765 2.02 %
Clearwatermarker Orofinomarker 1911 8,176 0.54 % 2,488 2.84 %
Custermarker Challismarker 1881 4,254 0.28 % 4,937 5.64 %
Elmoremarker Mountain Homemarker 1889 28,997 1.90 % 3,101 3.54 %
Franklinmarker Prestonmarker 1913 12,454 0.82 % 668 0.76 %
Fremontmarker St. Anthonymarker 1893 12,551 0.82 % 1,896 2.17 %
Gemmarker Emmettmarker 1915 16,513 1.08 % 566 0.65 %
Gooding County, Idahomarker Goodingmarker 1913 14,295 0.94 % 734 0.84 %
Idahomarker Grangevillemarker 1861/1864 15,448 1.01 % 8,502 9.71 %
Jeffersonmarker Rigbymarker 1913 23,860 1.57 % 1,106 1.26 %
Jeromemarker Jeromemarker 1919 20,468 1.34 % 602 0.69 %
Kootenaimarker Coeur d'Alenemarker 1864 137,475 9.02 % 1,316 1.50 %
Latah Moscowmarker 1886 35,906 2.36 % 1,077 1.23 %
Lemhimarker Salmonmarker 1869 7,808 0.51 % 4,570 5.22 %
Lewismarker Nezpercemarker 1911 3,594 0.24 % 480 0.55 %
Lincolnmarker Shoshonemarker 1895 4,503 0.30 % 1,206 1.38 %
Madisonmarker Rexburgmarker 1914 37,456 2.46 % 473 0.54 %
Minidokamarker Rupertmarker 1913 18,645 1.22 % 763 0.87 %
Nez Percemarker Lewistonmarker 1861/1864 38,975 2.56 % 856 0.98 %
Oneidamarker Malad Citymarker 1864 4,130 0.27 % 1,202 1.37 %
Owyheemarker Murphymarker 1863 10,877 0.71 % 7,697 8.79 %
Payettemarker Payettemarker 1917 22,966 1.51 % 410 0.47 %
Powermarker American Fallsmarker 1913 7,683 0.50 % 1,443 1.65 %
Shoshonemarker Wallacemarker /1861/1864 12,913 0.85 % 2,636 3.01 %
Tetonmarker Driggsmarker 1915 8,833 0.58 % 451 0.52 %
Twin Fallsmarker Twin Fallsmarker 1907 74,284 4.87 % 1,928 2.20 %
Valleymarker Cascademarker 1917 8,862 0.58 % 3,734 4.27 %
Washingtonmarker Weisermarker 1879 10,206 0.67 % 1,474 1.68 %
Total Counties: 44 Total 2008 Population Est.: 1,523,816 Total Area: 87,530 square miles
  • three counties were first designated as such by the Washington Territorial Legislature in 1861; they were subsequently re-designated as Idaho counties in 1864


Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 61.5% 403,012 36.1% 236,440
2004 68.38% 409,235 30.26% 181,098
2000 67.17% 336,937 27.64% 138,637
1996 52.18% 256,595 33.65% 165,443
1992 42.03% 202,645 28.42% 137,013
1988 62.08% 253,881 36.01% 147,272
1984 72.36% 297,523 26.39% 108,510
1980 66.46% 290,699 25.19% 110,192
1976 59.88% 204,151 37.12% 126,549
1972 64.24% 199,384 26.04% 80,826
1968 56.79% 165,369 30.66% 89,273
1964 49.08% 143,557 50.92% 148,920
1960 53.78% 161,597 46.22% 138,853

After the Civil War, many Southern Democrats moved to Idaho Territory. As a result, the early territorial legislatures were solidly Democrat-controlled. In contrast, most of the territorial governors were appointed by Republican Presidents and were Republicans themselves. This led to sometimes bitter clashes between the two parties. In the 1880s, Republicans became more prominent in local politics.

Since statehood, the Republican Party has usually been the dominant party in Idaho, as there was a polar shift in social and political stance between the two parties, when the Democrats became more liberal and the Republicans more conservative. In the 1890s and early 1900s, the Populist Party enjoyed prominence while the Democratic Party maintained a brief dominance in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Since World War II, most statewide elected officials have been Republicans.

Idaho Congressional delegations have also been generally Republican since statehood. Several Idaho Democrats have had electoral success in the House over the years, but the Senate delegation has been a Republican stronghold for decades. Several Idaho Republicans, including current Senator Mike Crapo, have won reelection to the Senate, but only Frank Church has won reelection as a Democrat. Church was the last Idaho Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race, in 1974. Walt Minnick's 2008 win in the First Congressional District was the state's first Democratic Congressional victory in 16 years.

In modern times, Idaho has been a reliably Republican state in presidential politics as well. It has not supported a Democrat for president since 1964. Even in that election, Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater by less than two percentage points. In 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 Countymarker, which contains the Sun Valleymarker ski resort, supported John Kerry, who owns a home in the area. In 2008 Barack Obama's 36.1 percent showing was the best for a Democratic presidential candidate in Idaho since 1976. However, Republican margins were narrower in 1992 and 1996.

In the 2006 elections, Republicans, led by gubernatorial candidate C. L. "Butch" Otter, won all of the state's constitutional offices and retained both of the state's seats in the United States House of Representatives. 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.

Important cities and towns

Population > 100,000 (urbanized area) Population > 50,000 (urbanized area) Population > 30,000 (urbanized area) Population > 10,000 (urbanized area) Smaller Towns and Cities

National Parks, Reserves, Mounuments and Historic sites

Image:City of rocks view NPS.jpg|City of Rocks National ReserveImage:Scoria field at Craters of the Moon NM-750px.JPG|Craters of the Moon National Monument

National Recreation Areas

National Wildlife Refuges

National Conservation Areas

State Parks


Colleges and universities

Idaho State University in Pocatello.
University of Idaho in Moscow.
Boise State University in Boise.
Boise State University in Boise.
The Idaho State Board of Education oversees three comprehensive universities. The University of Idahomarker in Moscowmarker was the first university in the state (founded in 1889). A land-grant institution, the UImarker is the state's flagship university. Idaho State Universitymarker in Pocatellomarker opened in 1901 as the Academy of Idaho and was granted university status in 1963. Boise State Universitymarker is the most recent school to attain university status in Idaho, and is primarily geared toward being a commuter school for part-time undergraduate students. The school opened in 1932 as Boise Junior College and became Boise State University in 1974. Lewis-Clark State College in Lewistonmarker is the only public, non-university 4 year college in Idaho.

Idaho has three regional community colleges: North Idaho Collegemarker in Coeur d'Alenemarker; College of Southern Idahomarker in Twin Fallsmarker; and The College of Western Idaho in Nampamarker, which opened in 2009.

Private institutions in Idaho are Brigham Young University-Idahomarker in Rexburgmarker, which is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; The College of Idahomarker in Caldwellmarker, which still maintains a loose affiliation with the Presbyterian Church; Northwest Nazarene Universitymarker in Nampamarker; and New Saint Andrews College in Moscowmarker, of reformed Christian theological background.


Club Sport League
Boise Hawks Baseball Minor League Baseball
Boise State Broncos NCAA Division 1 College Sports
Idaho Vandals NCAA Division 1 College Sports
Idaho State Bengals NCAA Division 1 College Sports
Idaho Falls Chukars Baseball Minor League Baseball
Idaho Stampede Basketball NBA Development League
Boise Burn Arena football af2
Idaho Steelheads Ice hockey East Coast Hockey League

Boise is the host to the largest 5 K run for women, the St. Luke's Women's Fitness Celebration.

Official State Emblems

Notable Idahoans

See also


  1. Just, Rick. "Star Garnet." Idaho Snapshots. Meridian, Idaho: Radio Idaho, 1990. 9.
  2. Western States Data Public Land Acreage
  8. "Mormon" Entry for The Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States, David S.Tanenhaus
  9. [1]
  10. [2]
  11. "IDAHO in the Pacific Northwest". Barber -Martin. 1956. Caxton Printers Ltd. Library of Congress 55-5192.
  13. "Zuivelzicht" April 25, 2007
  15. Idaho Secretary of State Election Division, "November 4, 2008 General Election Results"
  16. [3]
  17. 2008 statewide totals
  18. Idaho history homepage

External links

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