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People can’t seem to get enough of those Idaho potatoes. Why do we say that? In recent years Idaho has been the fourth-most popular state to move to, according to U.S. News & Report.
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: $35,459 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 2021, Idaho has the 25th-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 18th 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 $35,459 a year on total personal consumption, according to 2020 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis . This is how that lump sum breaks down.
Average Housing Costs in Idaho: $625 to $1,309 per month
Housing is likely your biggest ongoing expense, no matter what state you live in. The typical Idaho home value was about $446,000 in late 2021, compared with a typical value of $313,000 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 2019 census data:
• Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,270
• Median studio rent: $625
• Median one-bedroom rent: $681
• Median two-bedroom rent: $843
• Median three-bedroom rent: $1,081
• Median four-bedroom rent: $1,309
• Median gross rent: $880
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 late 2021.
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 2021; and Rentcafe.com, What Is the Average Water Bill?
Groceries & Food
Average Grocery & Food Costs in Idaho: $270 per person, per month
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Idaho’s average annual (non-restaurant) food cost is $3,243 per person, so that’s about $270 a month.
The Council for Community and Economic Research ranks the food costs in major American cities. The only Idaho city researchers examined was Boise. This is Boise’s grocery costs ranking for the second quarter of 2021.
Grocery Items Index
Average Transportation Costs in Idaho: $4,900 to $13,317 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: $6,169 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 $6,169 per person, according to the 2020 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: $865 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 .
Type of Child Care
Average Cost Per Month, Per Child
Home-based Family Child Care
Highest Marginal Tax Rate in Idaho: 6.925%
Idaho assesses a state income tax in graduated brackets that are dictated by income level.
MERIC viewed the affordability in Idaho more favorably, ranking the state as having the 25th 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 Boise as the major Idaho city considered most affordable.
The housing market here has been red-hot, but Boise’s cost-of-living index of 102.7 could be considered tame for a big city. For comparison’s sake, the cost-of-living index in the Los Angeles metro area is 148.9. 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.
Photo credit: iStock/Mike Worley SoFi Loan Products
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