People can’t seem to get enough of those Idaho potatoes. Why do we say that? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2022 Idaho was the second-fastest growing state in the nation, after Florida.
In 2018 alone, almost 18,000 new residents moved to Idaho from California, followed by thousands more newcomers from Arizona, Colorado, and Montana.
The moderate Idaho cost of living is likely contributing to the migration, so let’s take a closer look at what it costs to build a life in the Gem State.
What’s the Average Cost of Living in Idaho?
Average Cost of Living in Idaho: $39,739 per year
If you move to Idaho, you won’t be looking at a particularly expensive or particularly affordable lifestyle. According to MERIC data gathered in the third quarter of 2022, Idaho has the 28th-lowest cost of living in the United States, putting it in the middle of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
For a lower cost of living, you might want to head directly east to Wyoming, which has the 16th lowest cost of living.
While these rankings give a general idea of how expensive a state is to live in, you may still wonder: What is the average cost of living in Idaho?
You can expect to spend about $39,739 a year on total personal consumption, according to 2021 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis . This is how that lump sum breaks down.
Average Housing Costs in Idaho: $762 to $1,776 per month
Housing is likely your biggest ongoing expense, no matter what state you live in. The typical Idaho home value was about $429,606 in February 2023, compared with a typical U.S. home value of $359,000 nationwide, according to Zillow.
Whether you own or rent, as well as how large your rental is, can affect how much you’ll spend monthly. Here’s what that spending might look like, per 2021 census data:
• Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,395
• Median studio rent: $762
• Median one-bedroom rent: $819
• Median two-bedroom rent: $936
• Median three-bedroom rent: $1,554
• Median four-bedroom rent: $1,309
• Median five-bedroom (or more) rent: $1,776
• Median gross rent: $1,035
The specific area of Idaho you live in can also affect how much you’ll spend. These are the typical home values for some of Idaho’s major cities, according to Zillow, in January 2023.
Another ongoing expense you need to budget for is utilities. This is what that spending may look like in an average month in Idaho.
Average Idaho Bill
Cable & Internet
Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Sales, Revenue, and Average Price, 2021; Inspirecleanenergy.com; DoxoInsights, U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report 2022; and Rentcafe.com, What Is the Average Water Bill?
Groceries & Food
Average Grocery & Food Costs in Idaho: $275 per person, per month
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Idaho’s average annual (non-restaurant) food cost is $3,296 per person, so that’s about $275 a month.
The Council for Community and Economic Research ranks the food costs in major American cities. The only Idaho cities researchers examined were Boise and Twin Falls. These are their respective grocery costs rankings for the second quarter of 2022.
Grocery Items Index
Average Transportation Costs in Idaho: $5,316 to $15,073 per year
How much you’ll spend getting around each year is affected by where you live and what you or your family’s transportation needs are.
Average Health Care Costs in Idaho: $6,714 per person, per year
Health care is a major expense in every state in the country. In Idaho, the average annual cost of health care is $6,714 per person, according to the 2021 Bureau of Economic Analysis Personal Consumption Expenditures by State report.
How much you would actually spend depends on location, medical needs, and coverage.
Average Child Care Costs in Idaho: $728 to $1,002 or more per child, per month
Funding child care is a challenge for many parents, which isn’t surprising when you can spend around $1,000 a month on child care in states like Idaho.
Residents who need help financing child care in Idaho can look into the Idaho Child Care Program , which pays part of child care costs for eligible working families.
This is what the average child care costs are in Idaho, according to 2021 data from costofchildcare.org .
MERIC viewed the affordability in Idaho more favorably, ranking the state as having the 28th lowest cost of living in the United States.
What City Has the Lowest Cost of Living in Idaho?
The Council for Community and Economic Research pinpointed Twin Falls and Boise as major Idaho cities considered most affordable.
Located about a two-hour drive south of Boise, the small city of Twin Falls has just over 53,000 residents and a cost-of-living index of only 91.3. It is known for its vicinity to the Snake River Canyon and beautiful Shoshone Falls. With its low cost of living and relatively close proximity to a big city, Twin Falls might be a good option for those looking for scenic views and local farm town vibes.
The housing market here has been red-hot, but Boise’s cost-of-living index of 107.7 could be considered tame for a big city. For comparison’s sake, the cost-of-living index in the Los Angeles metro area is 150.7. Boise, the capital, is a beautiful and outdoorsy city with almost a quarter-million residents, and downtown abounds with coffee shops, craft breweries, and trendy eateries.
SoFi Home Loans
The Idaho cost of living is neither super high nor ultra low. Folks have been flocking to the rugged, scenic Gem State. Maybe you’re next.
Although there are many home loans on the market to choose from, SoFi offers a range of mortgage loans at competitive interest rates and with as little as 5% down.
SoFi Loan Products
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