You already know that Idaho is famous for farming, especially russet potatoes. But did you know that Idaho also offers some of the nation's best skiing, rapid growth in the high-tech industry and a cost of living below the national average? With all its surprises and advantages, Idaho is fast becoming one of the best states to look for apartments for rent.
Idaho's economy has long been diversified among many different industries. Mining, lumbering, precious metals, gemstones and agriculture are all significant players. Yes, the potato is important; Idaho produces about one fourth of the nation's potato crop. But it also supplies the country with wheat, apples, corn, barley, sugar beets and hops. Recent years have also seen growth in the high tech industries, concentrated in the metropolitan Boise area.
It is tourism, however, that now outranks all other industries in revenue. From hunting to fishing to winter sports, there are abundant attractions to keep visitors flowing into the Gem State and to keep new residents snapping up available apartments. Sun Valley, one of the nation's most famous year-round vacation resorts, is a prime example of tourism's rampant development.
A good economy isn't the only reason to consider a move to Idaho. The state's crime rate is the lowest in the western United States. In fact, according to FBI data, the rate of serious crime here is 22% less than the national average. Cost of living is another rate that comes in lower than average. On the basis of housing costs (including apartments), utilities, health care, transportation, groceries and other services, Idaho's cost of living is the second lowest of the western states.
Idaho has two distinctive sections, divided into the northern and southern parts of the state. Northern Idaho is known for its natural beauty, which includes mountains, rivers and lakes. Vineyards and wineries are common here, offering the flavor of a California wine tour with no crowds and a surfeit of breathtaking scenery. Southern Idaho has a mixture of mountains and plains, and is most famous for its spectacular waterfalls.
Idaho's capital and the state's largest city by far, Boise's population is three times greater than the next largest city. It's also the hub of commerce, banking and government for the state. Major employers include Simplot Corporation, Boise Cascade, Albertsons, Micron Technology and Hewlett-Packard. The city is also home to Boise State University, the state's largest university with an enrollment of more than 15,000 students. Where there are college students, there are always plenty of apartment rentals to be found. The average rent for two-bedroom apartments is $600.
Residents of Idaho Falls enjoy the alpine climate, with long and mild summers perfect for all the outdoor activities available in this area. Hiking, fishing, biking and river rafting are among the favorite pastimes here. Come winter, the temperatures drop down near zero and the area experiences plenty of snow, although Idaho Falls' location on the warmer valley floor keeps the snow from presenting major transportation problems. Want more good news? The cost of living here is 2.5% below the national average, which should come in handy while looking for affordable apartments for rent.
Twin Falls is a small, beautiful city located at the edge of the scenic Snake River Canyon. It's the fourth largest city in Idaho, with a relative cost of living that has been declining in recent years. Expect to pay about $450 for typical two-bedroom apartment rentals.