If you love gorgeous scenery, outdoor recreation, and small, liveable cities, Idaho might be the state for you. In addition to its beautiful geography, the Gem State boasts a thriving economy and plenty of employment opportunity and is now first in the nation in earnings growth.

While agriculture is still a big part of Idaho’s economy, manufacturing, and health care account for larger chunks of the state’s GDP. Check out our overview of the state’s top five best cities to live in for advice on where to kickstart your new life and career in Idaho.

1. Moscow

Our choice for Idaho’s top city is Moscow, which is located near the state’s border with Washington in Latah County. As home to the University of Idaho (the city’s main employer), the city has a strong “college town” feel, boasting a vibrant arts & culture scene.

2. Boise

Boise is Idaho’s capital and largest city. With low unemployment rates and a strong economy, the city is currently undergoing a boom, and real estate in Boise and the surrounding “Treasure Valley” area in high demand.

3. Eagle

Third on the list is Eagle, a rapidly expanding city of about 28,000 in Ada County. Since 2010, the population of Eagle has increased by at least 31% owing to high economic opportunity, particularly in the business and health care sectors.

4. Meridian

Meridian, another Ada County city that by some accounts is the fastest growing city in the country, is fourth in the ranking. The city is rife with employment opportunity, with Blue Cross being one of several large firms headquartered in Meridian.

4. Coeur D Alene

Filling out the top five is Coeur d’Alene, a wonderfully picturesque city situated on the lake that shares its name with a scenic mountain backdrop. The city is a tourist hot spot thanks to several ski resorts in the area, and like many other Idaho cities, has witnessed significant growth in recent years.

Best Cities to Live in Idaho, 2019

RankCity
1Moscow
2Boise
3Eagle
4Meridian
5Coeur D Alene
6Rexburg
7Idaho Falls
8Twin Falls
9Post Falls
10Lewiston
11Kuna
12Blackfoot
13Nampa
14Caldwell
15Pocatello

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Methodology

We ranked a total of 2,509 qualified cities (those with populations above 25,000 and enough data for analysis) by five factors: employment (number of establishments, median earnings); housing (owner-occupied housing with a mortgage, monthly housing costs); quality of life (work commute, poverty levels); education (percentage with a bachelor’s degree or higher); and health (obesity ratios).