State of Idaho - ID

Idaho is a state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The state's capital and largest city is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans." Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state.

According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2004, Idaho had an estimated population of 1,393,262. The state's postal abbreviation is ID. Idaho is nicknamed the Gem State because of its abundance of natural resources. The state motto is Esto Perpetua (Latin for "Let it be perpetual").

Southern Idaho, including the Boise metropolitan area, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Twin Falls are in the Mountain Time Zone. Areas north of the Salmon River, including Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, and Lewiston, are in the Pacific Time Zone.

Map of Idaho Idaho Population Density Map Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed in the Owyhee Mountains about 50 miles southwest of Boise, Idaho. Crooked Creek in Gospel Hump Wilderness, Idaho Idaho landscapeFurther information: List of Idaho counties
Idaho borders Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and the Canadian province of British Columbia (the Idaho-BC border is 48 miles (77 km) long). The landscape is rugged with some of the largest unspoiled natural areas in the country. It is a Rocky Mountain state with exciting scenery and enormous natural resources. The state has towering, snow-capped mountain ranges, swirling white rapids, peaceful lakes and steep canyons. The churning waters of Snake River rush through Hells Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Shoshone Falls plunges down rugged cliffs from a height greater than that of Niagara Falls.

The major rivers in Idaho are the Snake River, the Clearwater River and the Salmon River. Other significant rivers include the Boise River and the Payette River.

Idaho's highest point (12,662 feet) is Borah Peak in the Lost River Mountains north of Mackay. Idaho's lowest point is in Lewiston, where the Clearwater River joins the Snake River and continues into Washington.

Coeur d'Alene Lake
Priest Lake
Payette Lake (McCall)
Pend Oreille
Lake Lowell
Henry's Lake
Stanley lake
Redfish Lake
Alturas Lake
Petit Lake
Sawtooth Lake

[edit] Adjacent states
British Columbia of Canada - north
Washington - West by north
Oregon - West by south
Nevada - southwest
Utah - southeast
Wyoming - east by south
Montana - east by north

Main article: History of Idaho
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. 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 United Kingdom until the United States gained undisputed jurisdiction in 1846. Between then and the creation of the Idaho Territory in 1863, parts of the present-day state were included in the Oregon, Washington, and Dakota Territories. The new territory included most of present-day Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

After some tribulation as a territory, including the chaotic transfer of the territorial capital from Lewiston to Boise and a federal attempt to split the territory between Washington Territory and the state of Nevada, 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 changed itself from an agricultural and tourism state into a science and technology center. Science and technology has become the largest single economic center (over 25% of the State's total revenue) within the State and is greater than agriculture, forestry and mining combined.

Origin of name
Idaho is perhaps the only state that was likely named as the result of a hoax. In 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[1][2]. 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 County 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[citation needed] Willing's account that the name "Idaho" derived from the Shoshone term "ee-da-how".

Historical populations
year Population


1870 14,999
1880 32,610
1890 88,548
1900 161,772
1910 325,594
1920 431,866
1930 445,032
1940 524,873
1950 588,637
1960 667,191
1970 712,567
1980 943,935
1990 1,006,749
2000 1,293,953
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 makes Idaho the sixth fastest-growing state after Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Utah. From 2004 to 2005, Idaho was the third fastest grower, surpassed only by Nevada and Arizona.

Nampa, 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. Growth of 5% or more over the same period has also been observed in Caldwell, Coeur d'Alene, Meridian and Twin Falls [3].

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'Alene, Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Lewiston.

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

Demographics of Idaho (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 96.99% 0.65% 2.14% 1.36% 0.23%
2000 (hispanic only) 7.53% 0.10% 0.28% 0.07% 0.03%
2005 (total population) 96.81% 0.84% 2.05% 1.48% 0.22%
2005 (hispanic only) 8.70% 0.17% 0.27% 0.08% 0.03%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 10.24% 42.33% 5.93% 20.25% 6.65%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-hispanic only) 8.78% 33.87% 5.74% 19.96% 7.09%
Growth 2000-2005 (hispanic only) 27.65% 89.80% 7.17% 25.37% 3.90%

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%).

A church in Idaho CityIn 2001, the religious affiliations of the people of Idaho were as follows: [4]

Christian – 79%
Protestant – 50%
Baptist – 10%
Methodist – 10%
Lutheran – 3%
Presbyterian – 3%
Other Protestant or general Protestant – 24%
Roman Catholic – 15%
LDS (Mormon) – 14%
Other Religions – <1%
Non-Religious – 20%
As with many other Western states, the percentage of Idaho's population identifying themselves as "non-religious" is higher than the national average.

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. Other important agricultural products are beans, lentils, sugar beets, cattle, dairy products, wheat, and barley.

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 Idaho National Laboratory (INL), a government lab for nuclear energy research, is also an important part of the eastern Idaho economy.

Today, the largest industry in Idaho is the science and technology sector. It amounts 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, Boise 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, in southwestern Idaho, since the 1970s, which is devoted primarily to laserjet printer production.[5]. Dell, Inc. operates a major customer support call center in Twin Falls.

The state personal income tax ranges from 1.6% to 7.8% in 8 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.

Major highways


U.S. Highway 2
U.S. Highway 12


U.S. Highway 95
U.S. Highway 93
Interstate 15

Interstate 184

Interstate 84
U.S. Highway 20
U.S. Highway 26
U.S. Highway 30
Interstate 84
Interstate 86
Interstate 90

Law and government
Boise, Idaho, state capitol
State government
The constitution of Idaho provides for 3 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. Afterwards it was an appointed position and ultimately done away with entirely in 1974.

Idaho is an alcohol monopoly or Alcoholic beverage control state.

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 Jim Risch, who succeeded to the office in May 2006. Risch became governor upon the resignation of his predecessor, Dirk Kempthorne, who was confirmed as United States Secretary of the Interior by the United States Senate on May 26, 2006.

Risch will serve as governor until January 2007, when he will be succeeded by the winner of the 2006 gubernatorial election.

Further information: List of Idaho Governors

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 Boise, Pocatello, Blaine County and the northern Panhandle.

List of Idaho senators and representatives

Presidential elections results Year Republican Democratic
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 Democratic. 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. 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, but Democrats have had at least one elected official in a statewide office at any given time.

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 Senators Larry Craig and 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. No Democrat has won a U.S. House race in Idaho since Larry LaRocco in 1992.

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, George W. Bush carried Idaho by a margin of 38 percentage points and 68.4% of the vote, winning in 43 of 44 counties. Only Blaine County, which contains the Sun Valley ski resort, supported John Kerry.

Important cities and towns
Population > 100,000 (urbanized area)

(state capital)
Population > 10,000 (urbanized area)

Coeur d'Alene - Home of North Idaho College, major tourist hub
Idaho Falls
Moscow - Home of the University of Idaho
Mountain Home
Pocatello - Home of Idaho State University
Post Falls
Twin Falls
Smaller Towns and Cities

Driggs - skiing (Grand Targhee)
Island Park - snowmobiling
Kellogg - skiing (Silver Mountain)
Malad City
McCall - major tourist hub
Rigby - television birthplace
Soda Springs - world's only captive geyser
St. Anthony - sand dunes
St. Maries
Sun Valley - major year-round resort with world-class skiing

National Parks of Idaho
California National Historic Trail
City of Rocks National Reserve
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Minidoka Internment National Monument
Nez Perce National Historical Park
Oregon National Historic Trail
Yellowstone National Park
Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge
Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area

State Parks
List of Idaho state parks
Bear Lake State Park
Box Canyon State Park
Bruneau Dunes State Park
Castle Rocks State Park
City of Rocks State Park
Coeur d'Alene Parkway
Dworshak State Park
Eagle Island State Park
Farragut State Park
Harriman State Park
Hells Canyon
Hells Gate State Park
Henrys Lake State Park
Heyburn State Park
Lake Cascade State Park
Lake Walcott State Park
Lucky Peak State Park
Malad Gorge State Park
Massacre Rocks State Park
Mary Minerva McCroskey State Park
Niagara Springs State Park
Old Mission State Park
Ponderosa State Park
Priest Lake State Park
Round Lake State Park
Three Island Crossing State Park
Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
Winchester Lake State Park
Yankee Fork State Park


Colleges and universities
Albertson College of Idaho
Boise State University
Brigham Young University-Idaho
Idaho State University
Lewis-Clark State College
Northwest Nazarene University
University of Idaho
North Idaho College
College of Southern Idaho

Professional sports teams
Idaho is too insignificant to have any major league sports teams. It does, however, maintain a few minor league teams.

Idaho's Minor League baseball teams are:

Boise Hawks
Idaho Falls Chukars
Other minor league sports teams:

Idaho Stampede
Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Ballbusters

Official State Emblems
State Bird: Mountain bluebird
State Dance: Square dance
State Fish: Cutthroat trout
State Flower: Syringa
State Fossil: Hagerman Horse (Equus simplicidens)
State Fruit: Huckleberry
State Gem: Idaho star garnet
State Horse: Appaloosa
State Insect: Monarch butterfly
State Raptor: Peregrine falcon


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