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Idaho’s Population Shift from Rural to Urban Slowed in 2013

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By Paul Johnson

Boise, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - The steady shift of Idaho’s population from rural to urban counties slowed in 2013 as the 33 rural counties saw their combined population increase for the first time in three years.

Estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday showed the population of the rural counties rising two-tenths of a percent from mid-2012 to mid-2013 – about 1,200 people – while the population of the 11 urban counties increased 1.5 percent.

That resulted in a two-tenths of a percentage point increase to 65.7 percent of the population living in the urban counties, but that was just half the increase recorded between mid-2011 and mid-2012.

Statewide, Idaho’s population rose 1 percent to just over 1.6 million, resuming a growth rate higher than the national rate of seven-tenths of a percent in 2013.

Twenty-one counties lost population in 2013 including the urban counties of Bannock and Power, which make up the Pocatello metropolitan area, and Boise and Gem, which are two of the five counties in the Boise metro area. Canyon County, the second largest in the state at nearly 200,000 and part of the Boise metro area, led all counties in growth at 2.6 percent.

The Pocatello metro area was the only one of the five metro areas to lose population between mid-2012 and mid-2013. Bannock County’s population dropped a half percent as more than 1,100 people moved elsewhere in the state or nation. Power County lost 1.1 percent of its population due to the exodus of 150 people. It was the third straight year of declining population for the county that from 2007 to 2010 led all counties in population growth.

Adams County was another that lost population in 2013 after leading the state in growth in 2004 and 2005.

Butte County posted the largest population loss at 3.5 percent followed by Camas County at 3.2 percent. It was the third straight annual population loss for Butte and the fifth for Camas. Washington, Fremont, Clark, Clearwater and Custer each recorded their fourth straight annual population losses.

Bear Lake County broke a string of 10 years of declining population with a gain of 39 people, or 0.7 percent.


Idaho 2013 Population Components By County

Population Change from 2012 Births Deaths Net Migration
State 1,612,136 1.0% 22,187 11,250 6,142
Ada 416,464 1.9% 5,162 2,442 5,224
Adams 3,828 -2.2% 24 20 -55
Bannock 83,249 -0.5% 1,285 617 -1,128
Bear Lake 5,943 0.7% 70 57 30
Benewah 9,044 -1.1% 106 100 -102
Bingham 45,290 -0.4% 706 306 -580
Blaine 21,329 0.9% 212 83 52
Boise 6,795 -0.4% 35 44 -13
Bonner 40,699 0.6% 369 363 194
Bonneville 107,517 0.6% 1,899 744 -536
Boundary 10,853 0.2% 129 117 20
Butte 2,642 -3.5% 30 15 -102
Camas 1,042 -3.2% 7 1 -41
Canyon 198,871 2.6% 3,000 1,264 3,313
Caribou 6,808 0.4% 83 72 34
Cassia 23,331 0.3% 398 172 -108
Clark 867 -0.8% 11 6 -7
Clearwater 8,577 -0.1% 61 98 32
Custer 4,249 -2.1% 37 27 -96
Elmore 26,170 -0.5% 463 157 -417
Franklin 12,854 0.4% 186 78 -62
Fremont 12,927 -0.4% 193 89 -153
Gem 16,686 -0.1% 184 171 -31




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