Possibly moving to Idaho

We’re planning a visit to the Boise area in a couple weeks as its a possible choice for moving out of state. We’re interested in the Meridian, Eagle, Star, Kuna, and Nampa cities. Any specific recommendations on what to check out? We plan on driving around the areas, talking to locals, checking out shops, grocery stores, neighborhoods, parks, etc. 

If anyone can share their recent experience or someone they know from moving from the Bay Area to Idaho it would be appreciated!  I’m particularly interested in how people of color and multiracial families are welcomed. Thanks!

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RE: Possibly moving to Idaho ()

I urge you to get a copy of Morris Dee's Southern Poverty Law or visit online, for

a perspective on Idaho, and particularly Coeur d'Alene.

RE: Possibly moving to Idaho ()


I have really good friends who live in the North End. They say it’s the only area to live if your liberal and a person of color. But it’s more expensive. The areas you mentioned are pretty conservative with not much of a downtown area. I hope you plan on a visit.

RE: Possibly moving to Idaho ()

I have not lived in Idaho, but if I was considering that move, I would want to read the October 7th article in The Guardian on Shiva Rajbhandari, the student incumbent who recently joined the Boise School Board.  The article gives a lot of salient detail in terms of what this kid was up against.  It really paints a picture of some of the cultural forces at play there, and may offer some answers to your questions.  Wishing you a happy move wherever you end up. 

RE: Possibly moving to Idaho ()

I'm a Berkeley native who lived in Boise with my multiracial family for many years. We left 7 years ago. There were pluses and minuses, but for us the minuses outweighed the pluses. Boise had the most amenities & the most people with similar values to ours (culturally, politically). Idaho is very conservative, but Boise is somewhat less so. Still, gun-ownership (and conceal-carry) is a big deal there, the Aryan Nation was founded in Idaho and headquartered there until 20 years ago! As POC, we were not comfortable even driving through some remote areas. Californians were increasingly moving in for cheaper housing, however there was some local resentment brewing about outsiders coming in and increasing prices. It also tends to be religiously conservative. A large population of LDS (Mormon) and evangelical Christian, which permeates many things. E.g., at my child's public school an after-care worker chastised kids who said, "Oh, God" (taking the lord's name in vain) and others I met called that "swearing." In general, we found locals to be very nice folks though. Albeit maybe not very..."sophisticated." E.g., low % of college graduates, only a few (small) museums, not much going on culturally (however there are some cultural amenities related to their Basque history). And it was very, very white, like maybe over 90%? Boise is a Refugee Resettlement Community, so many POC there were actual refugees from other countries. As a POC, I was often assumed to be a foreign refugee. I have an ethnic name, and once someone called at work who had forgotten my name, so they asked for the "foreign lady." Another time a waitress asked if my mixed-race child was a "mulatto." She was not trying to be insulting, she was just unaware. My husband was in a nearby town with international visitors & locals found it amusing that they were foreign. Things like this made me feel uncomfortable & I never really felt at home or at ease expressing some of my views. On the plus side, if you like the outdoors it has a lot to offer, a bit more activities seemed to be arriving when we left, less traffic (although meager public transport), very family-friendly. In some ways it felt easier being a parent there than in the bay area. Changing tables everywhere (even pubs), kids all over and welcome, ample parking. Large families are common, our neighbors had 8 kids. We had our 2nd child after living there several years, but when we only had one we kind of felt like weirdos. In terms of local areas, Meridian was growing and getting more amenities. Eagle is the "rich" area - I was told it's almost completely LDS (homogenous). Kuna is more rural, Star more suburban. Nampa mostly just has Northwest Nazarene University (where students must pledge to abstain from alcohol and premarital sex (or face expulsion) and are required to attend NNU's church services). Maybe as a bay area native all of this was just too different for me, but I worried that my children would have limited world views if they remained. Most natives stayed their entire lives and most I met who'd ever been abroad had done so only for religious missions. Salaries can also be very low. My husband and I both have advanced degrees and worked for the state, and we've never been so poor! Cheaper housing did not outweigh overall costs for us. Anyway, feel free to contact me directly if you have questions.

RE: Possibly moving to Idaho ()

Since you asked how people of color and multiracial families are welcomed:  search for the Huffpost article of May 17, 2022, "Living with the Far-Right Insurgency in Idaho" which describes the plans and activities of groups of white nationalist extremists to take over the state, beginning with local elective offices.  Remember, too, that in June an armed group was arrested for plotting to disrupt and start a riot at Pride celebrations in Coeur d'Alene.  The lure of affordable housing is understandable, but...