Five Idaho cities made various Top 10 fastest-growing metropolitan and micropolitan area lists released March 22 by the U.S. Census Bureau in the wake of the bureau’s December announcement that Idaho is the No. 1 fastest-growing state.
Coeur d’Alene and Boise have the No. 5 and No. 7 spots, respectively, as the fastest- growing metropolitan areas in the country in terms of percentage growth.
Coeur d’Alene’s metro area grew by 2.9 percent in 2017 with about 4,000 additional residents. The city was ranked No. 15 in 2016, according to the Census Bureau.
The six-county Boise metro area increased 2.8 percent to 709,845 in 2017 after ranking No. 17 in 2016. Bend, Oregon, ranked No. 4 on the same list, but it dropped from No. 3 the prior year. St. George, Utah; Myrtle Beach, Florida, and Greeley, Colorado are ahead of Bend.
Among micropolitan areas with urban clusters of less than 50,000 people, Twin Falls ranked No. 4 in population increase by number of residents with 1,958 new residents in 2017. Twin Falls has grown enough that the federal Office of Management and Budget in October elevated the city to a metropolitan area in August.
The Montana cities of Kalispell and Bozeman made the same list as Twin Falls.
Sandpoint and Mountain Home are listed in the Top 10 fastest-growing micropolitan areas by percentage at No. 7 and No. 9, respectively, or 2.9 percent and 2.8 percent. Sandpoint was No. 17 in 2016 and Mountain Home No. 53. Sandpoint
“We’re not totally shocked but pleasantly surprised (to be on the Top 10 list),” said Courtney Lewis, Mountain Home’s economic development director. “Mountain Home is on the radar. A lot of people don’t want to be in metropolitan areas.”
Lewis said Mountain Home doesn’t have enough housing, especially affordable homes.
Boise Valley Economic Partnership officials say the Treasure Valley’s continuing growth has worked in the region’s economic favor.
“Even with the growth we’ve had, wages are going up and the quality of jobs are going up,” said Clark Krause, BVEP’s executive director. He noted a shift to more new high-paying jobs now than in 2010, when low-cost labor was sought by companies moving to Boise.
Krause and Ethan Mansfield, BVEP’s project and research manager, noted that new Boise residents tend to be highly educated and of all age groups. Mansfield said nearly 50 percent of net migration to the Boise metro is people between the ages of 20 and 40.