The State of Idaho – The Gem State

Idaho History:

In the early 19th century the area we now know as Idaho was considered part of the Oregon Country and became a U.S. territory as part of the Oregon Treaty in 1846. The Idaho Territory was organized in 1863, however, it wasn’t until July 3, 1890, that Idaho became the 43rd state.


Lucky Peak State Park, Idaho
Lucky Peak State Park, Idaho

Idaho shares its borders with Wyoming and Montana in the East, Oregon, and Washington in the West, Utah, and Nevada in the south and Canada in the north.  Ranked 14th in size the state covers 83,464 square miles.

The landscapes are very diverse from the arid deserts of the southern portion of the state to the rugged mountain ranges of the northern panhandle. You will also find large areas of fertile fields producing many food crops including potatoes, corn, onions, mint, sugar beets, cherries, grapes, and others.

Idaho’s highest elevation is Borah Peak at 12,662 ft. The lowest elevation is the Confluence of Snake and Clearwater River at Lewiston at 713 ft. The state’s average elevation is 5000 ft.

Cascade/Donnelly Idaho
Cascade/Donnelly Idaho

The area is known for its rugged snow-capped mountain ranges high mountain lakes and rivers that are popular with white water enthusiasts. The state also boasts the largest protected wilderness in the continental US, The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area.

The Snake River flows through the southern portion of the state from Wyoming to Oregon. After making its way across the state it finally flows through Hell’s Canyon, the deepest canyon in the United States, and then into the Columbia River.


The state’s climate is as diverse as its geography. The southern portion of the state will see summers with temperatures in the low to mid 90’s and climbing above 100 degrees on occasion. Southern Idaho winters typically have temperatures in the 20s to mid 30s occasionally dipping below 0 degrees. In the mountain regions of Idaho, you can expect much harsher winter conditions and more mild summers.

Idaho Economy:

According to US Census Bureau, Idaho’s average household income was $64,513.00 in 2016 with a median income of $49,174.00. The EPI says that it will cost a family of three $48,720.00 a year to live in Boise and more in rural areas of the state.  The state’s median home value is $199,500.00.

Boise Idaho
Boise Idaho

The state’s economy ranges from agricultural products to semiconductor manufacturing. Science and Technology is the state’s largest industry accounting for 25% of the state’s revenue and over 70% of the state’s exports. Idaho is most widely known for “The Famous Idaho Potato” which is fitting since we produce nearly one-third of the potatoes grown in the United States. We are also the fastest-growing dairy state now ranking 5th in milk production.

Many major corporations have offices or headquarters in the state.

  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Micron
  • Coldwater Creek
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Albertsons
  • Winco Foods
  • Safeway
  • JR Simplot
  • Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
  • Potlatch Corporation


Idaho was the fastest-growing state in the nation in 2017. The state is ranked 39th most populated and 44th most densely populated. Population estimates in 2017 stated that 1,716,943 people were living here.

The largest population center is the “Treasure Valley” which includes the capital city of Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, CaldwellEmmett, and surrounding areas. This area of the state is home to over one-third of the state’s population.


Idaho has recreation opportunities for every individual taste. The lakes, rivers, and rugged mountains in the area create a sportsman’s paradise. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, snow skiing, whitewater rafting, and kayaking are just a few of the outdoor activities enjoyed in Idaho’s outdoors.

Popular Places to Visit:

  • Coeur D’alene / Lake Coeur D’alene
  • Silverwood Theme Park
  • McCall  / Payette Lake
  • Sun Valley
  • Yellowstone
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument
  • Hell’s Canyon
  • Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness
  • Shoshone Falls
  • City of Rocks National Reserve

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