Idaho is often considered a wonderful place to live, but in this article, we will discuss 10 reasons why you might want to avoid moving to Idaho. As a real estate agent with 30 years of experience in North Idaho, I have seen and experienced the following factors that may make Idaho less appealing to some individuals. While these reasons are not inherently negative or positive, it’s important to be informed before making a decision. So, let’s dive into the 10 reasons why you should consider these aspects before moving to Idaho.
1. Idaho: A Very Conservative State
Idaho is known as a very red, conservative state. Most of the population is deeply invested in their country, their churches, and their guns. The majority of residents attend church and strongly believe that everyone should do the same. Additionally, Idaho is a right-to-work state, which some people appreciate while others may not. If you are uncomfortable with or do not identify with these conservative values, Idaho may not be the place for you.
2. Extreme Weather Conditions
Idaho experiences extreme weather conditions, especially in certain regions. South Idaho is considered a mountain desert area where summers can be scorching hot, while winters are not as harsh as in North Idaho. However, snowfall is still possible in North Idaho during the winter months. Regardless of where you are in Idaho, you will experience all four seasons to the fullest. It’s important to note that snowstorms, collapsing roofs, and fallen trees can be common occurrences. Furthermore, during the summer, smoke from forest fires in neighboring states can impact air quality. Learning to drive in snow and using tire chains when necessary is crucial for navigating Idaho’s mountain passes and reaching ski resorts.
3. Abundant Wildlife, Including Predators
Idaho is home to a diverse array of wildlife, which involves both the excitement of encountering animals like deer, turkeys, and elk and the need to coexist with predators. Bears, mountain lions, wolves, and coyotes are present in Idaho, raising safety concerns while hiking or exploring the great outdoors. It is advisable to carry bear spray for protection if firearms are not your preference. Surprisingly, the most dangerous animal in North Idaho is the moose, as they often appear friendly but can become aggressive and pose a serious threat. It is always best to maintain a safe distance from wildlife.
4. Tourism and Seasonal Influx
Idaho attracts a significant number of tourists, especially during the summer months. The state is a popular vacation destination, particularly in North Idaho, where small towns see an influx of tens of thousands of visitors. While this boosts the local economy, it can lead to congested roads and a different pace of life for residents who are accustomed to a quieter existence. Tourists can sometimes display disrespectful behavior, leaving litter behind and neglecting common manners, which can create challenges for locals.
5. Initial Resistance from Locals
When initially moving to Idaho, especially if you are from out of state, it is possible to encounter some resistance from locals. Idahoans are generally friendly, but they may be protective of their state and unhappy about the rapid growth and influx of newcomers, particularly from California. Demonstrating your commitment to Idaho by switching your license plates as soon as possible can help smooth the transition and show respect to the community.
6. Allergies and Pollen
Allergies can be a major concern for residents in North Idaho, particularly during spring and summer. The thick pollen accumulation is notorious and can even blanket smaller lakes. Many people experience allergies during this time, leading to frequent illness. To combat this issue, some individuals have found relief by regularly consuming raw local honey leading up to the allergy season. The theory behind this remedy is that ingesting local pollen through honey helps build immunity. However, in South Idaho, where pine trees are less prevalent, allergies may be less severe.
7. Limited Entertainment Options
Apart from Boise, which is the largest city in Idaho, the state offers limited entertainment options. While Boise boasts shows, comedy clubs, and football events, other smaller towns in North Idaho lack such amenities. Concerts, shopping experiences, and comedy clubs are sparse in these areas. However, outdoor activities, such as hiking or enjoying the natural beauty of Idaho, are abundant and often compensate for the lack of conventional entertainment options.
8. Challenging Driving Conditions
Idaho’s driving culture is not known for its excellence. In fact, Idaho ranks number seven for having some of the worst drivers in the country. The state’s single freeway system, particularly in North Idaho, is not equipped to handle heavy traffic. Consequently, accidents and incidents of wrong-way driving occur frequently. Residents accustomed to less concentrated traffic may find it challenging to adjust. Higher insurance premiums due to frequent accidents are something to consider.
9. Education System Challenges
Idaho’s education system has faced challenges and historically ranks lower compared to other states. While efforts have been made to improve education, the state still ranks 40th in the country. Families with children should factor in the quality of education and consider budgeting for private schools. However, Idaho does have excellent private schools, charter academies, and STEM-focused institutions that provide alternative educational opportunities.
10. Fiercely Independent State Culture
Idahoans pride themselves on being fiercely independent and isolated from the rest of the country. During the pandemic, the state saw a minimal number of people wearing masks, and residents were quick to protect their community from external threats. With a strong sense of self-reliance, Idahoans tend to prioritize their state’s well-being over the opinions or concerns of others. While this characteristic can be perceived as positive, it may also contribute to a lack of openness to change and outside perspectives.
In conclusion, these 10 factors give potential transplants a glimpse into what it might be like to live in Idaho. Whether you see them as positives or negatives depends on your personal preferences and values. As someone who has called Idaho home for 30 years, I acknowledge that these aspects contribute to the unique character of the state. Ultimately, the decision to move to Idaho should be based on personal compatibility with the state’s culture, weather, wildlife, and lifestyle.
If you are seriously considering relocating to Idaho, feel free to reach out to me for more personalized assistance. Additionally, I would appreciate your feedback on whether you perceive these factors as positive or negative and if Idaho should strive for improvement or maintain its current state. Remember to like this article and leave a comment to join the discussion. Subscribe to our channel and turn on the notification bell to stay updated with our future videos.