Living in Boise, Idaho – Must Watch Updated Pros and Cons! So in May of 2020, I made my most watched video ever, the Pros and Cons of living in Boise, Idaho! A lot has changed since 2020, so it was time for an update! When you are thinking of leaving California, or any other state, deciding where to move it a big choice! And if living in Boise Idaho or moving to Boise Idaho is at the top of your list, then check out our updated pros and cons of living in Boise Idaho!

So let’s jump into it and take a look back. 

I don’t know if Boise is still considered the 8th safest city in the world, but it still holds true, even after all the influx of everyone moving here in the last 4 years, that Boise and surrounding cities are still considered very safe. You’ll hear the locals complain that they think crime is on the rise from the influx of population and the trickle-down effect from all that those changes, but in actuality, according to the county crime records, crime has actually decreased anywhere from 8-14 percent in the cities of the Treasure Valley. The larger cities like Boise, Nampa, and Caldwell have a crime rate of anywhere from 25-39 percent lower than the national average, while the smaller cities like Star, Eagle, and Meridian have a crime rate of anywhere from 65-79 percent lower than the national average. I’d say that’s pretty good. And personally, from my own experience and that of everyone I know here, there is no talk of crime having increased in the last 4 years, well other than the newcomers who like to voice their worries on the Next-door community about teenagers TPing or doorbell ditching. 

Is there crime in the valley? Absolutely, and some of it has not been great. Boise area is not utopia after all. But it is still much safer than many cities in America, and so this is still a huge pro for living in the Boise Idaho area.

Next pro…

So absolutely, the amazing outdoor recreation opportunities in the Boise area are still a huge pro to living here. But what has changed is some accessibility. We used to be able to go on some of the popular hiking trails and not see too many people, or go to Redfish Lake and not have too many people around. Now, all the mainstream popular recreation spots are quite crowded, and Idaho State Parks system has not done anything yet to catch up with growth, like provide more parking. Even many of the dirt roads in the mountains get lined with RVs all weekend now in the summer. But our ski resort, Bogus Basin, has done a lot to accommodate the larger crowds, so that is good. So, if you want to recreate with fewer people, you’ll have to get way off the beaten path, but with 61% of Idaho being public lands and 14% of that is wilderness area, there is plenty of space and opportunity for everyone to get outside.

And the next pro is a doozy to look back on

I made a video about the cost of living here last year, so I’ll put that in the description below for you to check out, but I am going to say that this is still a pro, and the Boise area is still considered affordable. I know all of you commenters are going to disagree – and our cost of housing prices themselves have gone up significantly.

Well now, for Ada County, the average cost of a home in November of 2023 was $530,000. So if you’re coming from Huntington Beach where you can’t buy an average 1800 sf 3 bed 2 bath home for under a million dollars, our average price is pretty affordable. If you are coming from Illinois, then it is not. However, our overall cost of living…food, gas, property taxes, utilities, all those kinds of things, is still much more affordable here than many places, making it a city of choice for retirees, so I will say that affordability is still a pro.

Onto the next…

Yes, Idaho still has all the wonderful school choices for public, private, charter, magnet, and homeschools, and all the freedom to choose what’s best for your child. I have a video all about that I will link below if you want more details on that. But what has changed is something very interesting. So, before 2020, Idahoans really didn’t choose a house based on a school. I mean sometimes they did, but we didn’t have zip codes that homes were worth more money in because of the school. And part of that is because we have open enrollment here. But in general, all schools are pretty safe, their education is pretty similar, and people just chose a house based on location and what house they liked, and then sent their kids to whatever school was close by, maybe a charter school if they liked that better. 

Well in other states, especially California, people are used to the idea that certain schools have to be better. And then you have to live in the area where the better schools are. And I understand that, especially when they are dealing with very real issues of safety and how the districts are using their funding. So, a new thing that has popped up here in the last 4 years is that now people – pretty much only the newcomers- think certain schools must be better than others because they are located in certain areas. And let’s be blatantly honest here. People base that idea hugely on the income levels of the people in the area. So, I don’t know what to call it, but the idea that one school or one district is somehow better than another has been a change that has come in the last 4 years, and I don’t know if it’s really warranted. It does make me a little sad because it is beginning to create more distinct groups, and Boise used to always be a good happy mix of everyone.

Okay onto the next…

Yes, this is still a pro. I love this aspect of Boise so much. There is so much to do, and the city is still clean and accessible. So, I will still consider this a pro, BUT, there have been changes. We used to be able to go downtown on a Friday or Saturday night and find parking on the street and not have to use a parking garage. But last time we went downtown for dinner a few weeks ago, there was no parking on the street and the parking garages were almost full! And there used to never be any waits at restaurants and now it’s like an hour wait. I recently went to the Hot Air Balloon Festival downtown and in the past, it was well attended but not overly crowded, and this year, they said there were 30 thousand people there! So, I am glad so many people enjoy downtown but I am a little bummed at how crowded it can get now.

Next Pro…

Yes, Boise is still a very healthy city. I spend a lot of time showing out of staters around as they search for homes, and it is a very common comment to hear that they are surprised at how many people are outside running, biking, on the trails, walking dogs… we have the farmers markets and, if you know where to find it, we have great resources for local foods and meats as well.  So, this hasn’t changed at all.

And the last pro I had mentioned in the old video was…

Yes, this is still a pro… people are still kind and respectful, they’ll hold the door open for you, wave you into traffic, and talk with strangers in line at the store. However, there have been some changes here… so pre-2020, most Idahoans really could care less what political persuasion you were. We were all just people part of the same community helping each other out. But as more and more people began to move here in order to escape liberal states, politics have become more prominent. And most Idahoans really still just want everyone to get along and help each other out. I think that before 2020, everyone just sort of trusted that everyone here was looking out for each other. With all the newcomers, there has been an introduction of some mistrust from both sides. The newcomers want to assimilate into Idaho culture but of course bring some of their old with them, the Idahoans aren’t sure if they can trust them to not change the state. In general, though, everyone is still kind and helpful – so much so that it is the first thing people notice when they come to spend any time here. But watch out for those online forums or comment sections, please know that their hateful comments are not a true representation the people in the Boise area. 

And there is a con I had that I am going to change to the pro list. Let’s see what it was…

So, I am going to say the Boise airport is a huge pro to our area. They have added a ton of direct flights, and as of today, they have 25 to places like Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and of course the very popular LAX, Orange County, Long Beach, and San Diego, just to name a few… they just added a new parking garage, and their cell phone lot was pathetic, it still is, but they are adding a real one, so that will be good when it’s done. And it’s still easy to get in and out of and easy to get to, but it is getting crowded. The last several times I’ve flown, I’ve had to wait in the security line for 20-30 minutes. And I’m not quite sure if that’s from population growth or just them being understaffed as there’s usually like one person working at the front. But I do love the Boise airport now that I can get to my main travel destinations directly.

Okay and going back to the other cons…

Of course, the inversion hasn’t changed. We still can get it. We had it this year for several weeks off and on, but then we didn’t’ have it at all the last two winters. Some people think it will get worse as the population grows. But the inversion itself is a weather pattern. We either have it or we don’t. However, when we have inversion, it traps the air in the valley, so it seems as if the air quality during inversion could get worse as the population grows, although I have no data on that. But we still have the possibility of inversion in the winter, and I still go to a sunny vacation spot every February or March. This year, I’m headed to Mexico.

So, the next con is…

So, this is still a con…I mean in some ways…well in all the ways…so because of all the growth, the highway and road planners did have to step it up to start doing something to the roads to help with all the growth. So yes, there are now round abouts all over the place where there used to be 4 way stops, so that was helpful. They are widening roads all over town, they haven’t really planned more wisely as to zoning for future use, making room for schools or parks or shopping. But with all the road improvements has come road construction all over. And this isn’t really in Boise proper itself, because the city of Boise itself is mostly built out, except for a few areas. But the road construction is all over where there are the newest homes, like in Star, north Nampa, and generally south of the freeway. There have been a few larger planned subdivisions put in, but still nothing really like in some states where they plan the homes with schools and shopping. Although there is one new master planned subdivision that is supposed to be like that coming to Eagle, called Valnova, and it is still in its infancy, but I’ll put the link to that video down below if you want to check it out. So still a big con, roads and planning in the Boise area get a big thumbs down. Idaho Highway Planners, if you don’t build it, they’ll come anyways, so you might as well get ahead of the game and build out the roads.

Next con…

So, would you believe that in 2024, the minimum wage in Idaho is still $7.25 an hour? The wages here have not caught up to the cost of housing in the least, not the minimum wage or the salaries offered here. However, most employers do offer a minimum of $12-$15 per hour for a starting wage, or they won’t get workers. But with all of the people who’ve moved here who are retired or work from home with out of state salaries, they can afford the cost of the housing. So local wages are still a con. 

And the last con…

Yes, Boise is still geographically isolated…nothing will change that, but you get used to it and it’s not hard to hop on a flight somewhere or take a drive to Seattle if you want a change of scenery. One thing is for certain, once you live in the Boise area, you are always very grateful to come back and have such a wonderful place to call home. It’s true, I fly a lot to visit family in California, and on the return flights, people are talking, friendly and I always hear conversations about when people moved to the Boise area, how grateful they are to live here, how they were glad to visit California but so glad to be back home in Idaho.

And that is one more huge pro I will add to the list this year. People in the Boise Idaho area are grateful to live here and when you come, you will feel something different. It’s not something you can name, but it just feels different. It just feels…good. 

And since I made that video in 2020, I can hardly believe it, but my team and I have helped more than 100 families relocate from out of state so that they too, can call Idaho home. If you’re thinking of calling Boise home, reach out to us, give me a call or text, we can set up a time to chat, and we are happy to help you relocate too. Of course, there are a ton of videos you can check out all about moving to the area and living in Boise to help you decide if Boise is right for you, and there are free guides, and lots of information at the website.

Helpful Boise, Idaho links for you!!!!