18 Idaho Cities That Are Home to More Transplants Than Natives
It’s with some hesitation that we make this comparison, but life in Idaho is slowly becoming a real-life representation of the Dr. Suess classic, The Sneetches.
Not familiar with the story? Long story short, there’s a group of yellow creatures called Sneetches that live on a beach. Some of those Sneetches have stars on their bellies. The star-bellied Sneetches act like they’re superior and treat the Sneetches without stars like they are less than others. A guy rolls into town with a machine that can give the non-star-bellied Sneetches stars so they can roll with the in-crowd. Of course, those stars come with a price.
The original star-bellied Sneetches are upset and believe they’re still superior, so the guy shows them another machine that can remove their stars…for a price. Sneetches were running in and out of these machines right and left. Eventually, no one could remember who started as a star-bellied Sneetch and who didn’t. Having taken all the Sneetches’ money, the con artist packs up and leaves town.
He inadvertently teaches the Sneetches a lesson about judging people by their appearance or some other surface-level quality. Dr. Suess hopes to teach young readers to treat others with fairness and equality.
Why do we share this story of the Sneetches? Because the hatred toward “transplants” in Idaho, feels a bit like the Sneetches. Deep down, we feel like the hate is spewed by a vocal minority who live for getting a rise out of people on social media and the comments sections of articles like this one. (We know it’s coming. Hi, Steve! Yes, I know. I’m lame.)
In the interest of transparency, this author is a transplant. I moved to Boise from a depressed, steel town in the midwest. I was 22 and was making $7.30 an hour at my first radio job. I loved my station. I loved my co-workers. But it was pretty clear I couldn’t support myself as an adult with that paycheck, so I split right after graduation. I didn’t come here well off or with oodles of cash to buy a house. I could barely pay my rent. Maybe, that’s why it’s so hard for me to understand how you can be so outwardly hateful toward someone simply because of where they were born. (Like they had a choice.)
But we can totally understand the frustration lifelong Idahoans feel watching housing prices skyrocket and traffic increase. It’s about more than housing prices. We know that some folks have sold land or property that has been in their family for years to stay afloat and that’s not something you just “get over” because “change is inevitable.”
Change is inevitable, but it’s hard. It’s ok to mourn things you’ve let go of because of it. But maybe the Sneetches were on to something. When they let go of their hate and started treating each other with respect, they were so much happier. That’s why we pulled this data from the United States Census Bureau.
It’s getting harder and harder to tell who’s a “transplant” and who’s not, especially when you meet someone for the first time. The truth is, since at least 2010 (the oldest data set for this particular statistic available from the census bureau,) the number of people living in Boise who were born in a state other than Idaho outweighed the number of people born in Idaho by about 7%. Believe it or not, even with the insane growth the city has seen in recent years, the ratio is about the same now.
There are 18 of Idaho’s largest cities where the number of non-Idaho born residents outweigh the number of residents that have been here their entire lives and the swing is more dramatic in cities outside the Treasure Valley. Before we show you those cities and rank them we leave you with this thought “Kindness is something anyone can give without losing anything themselves.”