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Pocatello ( ) is the county seat and largest city of Bannock Countymarker, with a small portion on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in neighboring Power Countymarker, in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Idahomarker. It is the principal city of the Pocatello metropolitan area, which encompasses all of Bannock and Power counties. As of the 2000 census the population of Pocatello was 51,466 (2006 estimate: 53,932) with a metro population of 83,303.

Pocatello is the fourth-largest city in the state, slightly larger than Idaho Fallsmarker. In 2007, Pocatello was ranked twentieth on Forbes list of Best Small Places for Business and Careers.

Pocatello is the home of Idaho State Universitymarker and the manufacturing facility of ON Semiconductor. Founded as an important stop on the first railroad in Idaho during the gold rush, the city later became an important center for agriculture. It is located along the Portneuf Rivermarker where it emerges from the mountains onto the Snake River Plain, along the route of the Oregon Trail. The city is named after Chief Pocatello, a chief of the Shoshoni tribe who granted the right-of-way for the railroad across the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. The city is served by the Pocatello Regional Airportmarker.


The section of the city along the Portneuf River was inhabited by the Shoshoni and Bannock peoples for several centuries before the arrival of Europeans into the area in the early 19th century. In 1834, Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth, a U.S. fur trader, established Fort Hallmarker as a trading post north of the present location of the city. The post was later acquired by the Hudson's Bay Company and became an important stop on the Oregon Trail, a branch of which descended the Portneuf through the present-day location of the city. A replica of the Fort Hall trading post is now operated as museum in southern Pocatello.

The discovery of gold in Idaho in 1860 brought the first large wave of U.S. settlers to the region. The Portneuf Valley became an important conduit for transportation of goods and freight. In 1877, railroad magnate Jay Gould of the Union Pacific Railroad acquired and extended the Utah and Northern Railway, which had previously stopped at the Utahmarker border, into Idaho through the Portneuf Canyon. "Pocatello Junction", as it was first called, was founded as a stop along this route during the gold rush. After the gold rush subsided, the region began to attract ranchers and farmers. By 1882, the first residences and commercial development appeared in Pocatello.

Pocatello absorbed nearby Alamedamarker in 1962 and briefly became the largest city in the state, ahead of Boise. Pocatello was the third largest city in the state (behind Boise and Idaho Falls) until the late 1990s, when rapid growth in the Treasure Valley of southwestern Idaho placed Nampamarker and Meridianmarker ahead of Idaho Falls and Pocatello, which are now the state's fourth and fifth largest cities, respectively.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all land.


Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 60 65 75 86 97 103 104 104 98 91 75 64
Norm High °F 32.5 39 48.5 58.5 67.7 78.3 87.5 86.8 75.7 62 44.5 33.8
Norm Low °F 16.3 20.9 27.3 32.6 39.2 45.7 50.9 49.9 41.8 33.3 24.9 16.8
Rec Low °F -30 -33 -12 13 20 28 34 30 19 7 -14 -29
Precip (in) 1.14 1.01 1.38 1.18 1.51 0.91 0.7 0.66 0.89 0.97 1.13 1.1


As of the census of 2000, there were 51,466 people, 19,334 households, and 12,973 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,822.5 people per square mile (703.7/km²). There were 20,627 housing units at an average density of 730.4/sq mi (282.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.32% White, 0.72% African American, 1.35% Native American, 1.15% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 2.18% from other races, and 2.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.94% of the population. The top 5 ethnic groups in Pocatello are.

· English - 21%· German - 16%· Irish - 9%· Danish - 4%· Swedish - 4%

There were 19,334 households out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.6% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 16.7% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,326, and the median income for a family was $41,884. Males had a median income of $33,984 versus $22,962 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,425. About 10.7% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.9% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.


Idaho State Universitymarker (ISU) is a public university operated by the state of Idaho. Originally an auxiliary campus of the University of Idahomarker and then a state college, it became the second university in the state in 1963. The ISU campus is in Pocatello, with outreach programs in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Boise, and Twin Falls. The university's crown jewel is the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center, which occupies a prominent location overlooking Pocatello and the lower Portneuf River Valley. The center's three venues provide state-of-the-art performance space, including the Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall.Idaho State's athletics teams compete in the Big Sky Conference, the football and basketball teams play in Holt Arenamarker.

Pocatello has three public high schools:

  • Pocatello High Schoolmarker ("Poky High") is a four-year public secondary school, with a current enrollment of 1140 students. PHS was opened in 1892, and was a senior high school (grades 10–12) until recently. Its mascot is the Indian and the colors are red, blue, and white. The school's athletic teams compete in class 4A, the state's second highest classification.

  • Highland High Schoolmarker is a four-year secondary public school. Opened in 1963, its current faculty is 72 with an enrollment of 1,465 students in four grades. The school mascot is the Ram and the school colors are black and red. Until the fall of 2002, Highland was a senior high school (grades 10-12); the graduating class of 2006 was the first to graduate after attending all four years at Highland. The school's athletic teams compete in class 5A, the state's highest classification.

  • Century High Schoolmarker is a four-year public secondary school, opened in 2000 for grades 9–12 with a current enrollment of 971 students. The school mascot is the Diamondback and the school colors are purple, teal, black, and white. The school's athletic teams compete in class 4A, the second-highest classification.

Feeding the high schools are three public middle schools, thirteen public elementary schools, two public charter schools, and various alternative and church-based private schools and academies.

Notable natives and residents


  • The North American Vexillological Association ranked Pocatello's flag 150th of 150 city flags in its 2004 American City Flags Survey.
  • In Pocatello, it was against the law not to smile. Today, this law is remembered with the annual Smile Fest.
  • On December 10, 1987, representatives from the American Bankers Association declared Pocatello the “U. S. Smile Capital.”
  • Pocatello is home to Idaho State Universitymarker and also Holt Arena, a multipurpose indoor stadium. Holt Arena is the home of the Real Dairy Bowl, a junior college football Bowl game. Holt Arena also plays host to the Simplot Games, the nation's largest indoor high school track-and-field meet.
  • The Idaho Gateway Chorus, a barbershop singing group, is based in Pocatello.
  • The Pocatello Zoomarker features only native Idaho species and is located in Ross Park.
  • The Pocatello region is the setting for Ruth Ozeki's novel All Over Creation and for Tom Spanbauer's Now Is the Hour.
  • Noted classic gamer Ash Covey currently resides in Pocatello, he has held several officially recognized gaming world records for such arcade classics as Turbo Pac-Man and other versions of Pac-Man.
  • Classic gamer Lance Parry currently resides in Pocatello. He ranks second in the world for arcade classic Lunar Lander.

Sister cities


  1. Table 4: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Idaho, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 (SUB-EST2006-04-16) Accessed 16 July 2007
  2. Best Small Places For Business And Careers -
  3. Pocatello Weather
  4. Pocatello - Ancestry & family history - ePodunk
  5. Pocatello High School
  6. Highland High School, Pocatello, ID-Home of the Rams!
  7. Century High School

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