Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Short Review of Boise, Idaho
Situated in Idaho's southwestern corner, Boise (population 222,000) sits on a high plain 2,700 feet above sea level along the Boise River. With mountains to the east, it is a scenic city and got its start as a fort, first built by the Hudson Bay Company in the 1830s, and then after being abandoned, re-built by the U.S. Army during the Civil War.
The city often lands on "best places to live" lists because it offers a high quality of life at a somewhat reasonable price. Its size, lack of pretension and unhurried Western pace attract people seeking city amenities without city hassles.
The cost of living is 5% above the national average, and the crime rate is below the national aveerage. Thirty-five percent of locals are age 45 or better, and the majority of residents are politically conservative. Nearly 40% of the population holds at least a four year college degree. Racial diversity is minimal. Boise has a sizable LDS (Mormon) population and has grown by 7% in the last decade.
The median home price is $305,000. The city has a good mix of older and newer neighborhoods, with bungalows, ranch ramblers and raised ranch ramblers. Areas on the northern end are closer to the foothills.
Outdoor adventurers love Boise because the Rocky Mountains are just 20 minutes east of downtown. Campers, cyclers, skiiers and hikers revel in the gorgeous scenery and nearly unlimited venues to enjoy their sport. In town, the Boise River is a hotspot for fishermen, kayakers, tubers and rafters, and the Boise River Greenbelt connects the city's pretty riverside parks.
The city also has a lively arts and cultural scene with a good selection of museums, music festivals (including the annual Gene Harris Jazz Festival) and theater groups (such as the Boise Little Theater and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival). Opera Idaho, the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra and touring Broadway shows perform at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts throughout the year.
Residents enjoy a monthly Gallery Walk and the Capital City Public Market, a seasonal farmers' market. Boise Public Library has public access computers, free Internet wi-fi and a homebound book program.
The downtown has a pedestrian-friendly section, and events and festivals occur regularly. Eateries range from old fashioned diners to chic, upscale restaurants. Boise Towne Square Mall is the state's largest shopping venue and has a Macy's, an Apple store, a Dillard's, an Eddie Bauer, etc.
Public transportation is provided by Valley Regional Transit (Valley Ride) which has seventeen routes in and around Boise. Single rides are $1 (anyone over age 65 rides for 50 cents). For automobile owners, I-84 runs through the city and connects it to Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon. Boise Airport is serviced by Delta and United and several other major carriers.
The city's park and recreation department has programs for people age 55+, and the Boise Senior Activities Center has a good menu of activities and services that includes health screenings, computer classes, legal assistance, congregate noon meals, tax assistance and refresher driving courses.
Boise has three hospitals, but St. Luke's Boise Medical Center (520 beds) and St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center (354 beds) provide most of the health care and are award-winning. Both accept Medicare patients, and both are accredited by the Joint Commission. St. Alphonsus is also a Primary Stroke Center.
The climate is semi-arid with four seasons. Summer days are hot and dry with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Summer evenings are considerably cooler. Winters are cold with temperatures in the single digits, teens and 20s. On average, the area receives 20 inches of snow and 11 inches of rain per year. The sun shines 210 days of the year. The air quality is below the national average.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Idaho Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes
Boise has a lot to offer, from solid cultural amenities and safe neighborhoods to excellent medical facilities and a bounty of nearby outdoor recreation areas. It is a place to consider for retirement.
Named by the eccentric lobbyist George M. Willing, Idaho was one of the last regions in the lower 48 to be explored by Europeans. The Lewis and Clark expedition entered the area through Lemhi Pass in 1805. Trappers and fur traders soon followed.
The Gem State encompasses mountain ranges, river gorges, and lakes. Boise, its capital, is set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is halved by a river. Weather can be as variable as the landscape. Maritime influences moderate winter temperatures in the west. The east can experience lower temperatures, wetter summers, and drier winters.
Manufacturing has become the state's main economic driver. Idaho is still a major producer of cattle, potatoes, and trout. Even though mining has faded in importance, Idaho continues to extract gold, silver, molybdenum, as well as 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones. Sun Valley has nurtured the state's newest industry - tourism.
Famous Idaho natives include writers Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound along with Olympians Pikabo Street and Dick Fosbury.
Population - 1,683,140
Persons 65 years old and over - 12%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 89%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 26%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 12%
White persons, not Hispanic - 82%
Median household income - $47,583
Median home value - $162,930
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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