Moving to Idaho from California


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    Idaho is the top Moving Destination of 2020 by United Van Lines, 60% of all migrants to the Gem State came from California. For many, the charm of California is fading, and Idaho looks perfect for starting a new life. Aside from her dominance in the country’s potato production, Idaho also has a low cost of living, low crime rate, and a very reasonable tax.

    Idaho has so many outdoor activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Moving to Idaho from California is something worth considering.

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    What Do I Need To Know About Moving To Idaho from California

    The common question for people considering moving to Idaho from California is what do I need to know about moving to Idaho from California. We have written a comprehensive guide in planning, budgeting, and logistics to your destination for those planning to relocate to Idaho from California.

    Moving Cost in Idaho & California

    Logistics is very important when moving from California to Idaho, The average moving cost from California to be $2500 to $7500 depending on certain factors such as route, size of items, and other factors. First, you need to determine your budget considering your move size, which is the number of rooms you are packing from to get the right estimate. The table below shows the moving cost estimates to Idaho from California.

    The table above is the moving cost estimate from California to Idaho, Professional service providers charge more but are less stressful for you. Truck Rentals and Freight are cheaper but you will have to pay for Labor and others.

    Other costs such as Travel fare, food, and Housing, and childcare are not included.

    Taxes in Idaho & California

    Filing for income tax returns is due for an individual that falls within the following:

    Taxes in Idaho & California
    Taxes in Idaho & California

    • If you reside in the state of Idaho

    • If your income source is from Idaho but you are a nonresident

    • A short time Idaho resident that earns a particular income while in Idaho

    Idaho has a top tax rate of 6% that is low when compared to California’s 13.3% at $1million income, one of the reasons to move to Idaho from California.

    Income Tax

    • Income tax ranges from 1.125% on taxable income up to $3, 136, $1568 for Joint and Individual filers respectively, to 6.9% on a higher income of $23, 520, $11,760 for Joint and Individual filers respectively.

    Sales Tax

    Sales tax in Idaho has been at 6% since 1965, but local authorities can add rates up to 3%. Apart from Bonner, Idaho, Valley, Custer, Blaine, which offer 7%, 7%, 7%, 8.5%, and 9% respectively, other countries maintain a sales tax of 6%. 

    • Groceries are taxable, however; Idaho grocery credit offsets the sales tax you pay on groceries, which averages $100 per person.

    • Tangible personal properties such as furniture, equipment, vehicles, household goods, and collectibles, and so on are taxable.

    • Subscription fees for fitness coaching service, fees for Rental Park, and participation in a sport or recreational activities are taxable. 

    • Customer made tangible properties such as 

    • Publications and prints such as newspapers bought at the store, subscription fees for magazines, and fees to engrave any item.

    • Renting or leasing out tangible properties such as boats, cars and other rental services are taxable.

    Property Tax

    Property in Idaho tax applies to homes, farmland, and commercial properties. In 2020, Idaho’s property tax rates were 1.129% and 0.798% for urban and rural areas respectively by Idaho State Tax Commission.

    Other Taxes: these apply to tobacco, vending machines, Oil and Gas production, travel and convention, Beer, cigarettes, and wine.

    Housing in Idaho & California

    Idaho is famous for the great outdoors, lesser stress environment, and low crime rate, Idaho is one of the states where you can get an affordable home price in the entire country.

    People moving to Idaho from California can get affordable houses, because the average home price in Boise is about $470,000 compared to $813,980 in California, up from last year at the rate of 37.5% and 34.2% respectively.

    Housing in Idaho & California
    Housing in Idaho & California

    With this, you can buy more than one home in the State’s urban areas. With favorable insurance fees, housing in Idaho is one of the best options available in the entire nation.

    Home Insurance

    Home buying can be hectic considering so many factors, however after the agreement is reached and the deal is done, you still have to consider the homeowner’s insurance because protecting your properties from a potential loss or damage should not be underestimated. 

    Home Insurance in Idaho is lower than the national average. For a dwelling of $100, 000, $200, 000, $250, 000, $400,000, the average annual insurance rate of $450, $706, $819, and $1,173 respectively rates are applied.

    Healthcare in Idaho & California

    Healthcare policies are major factors to consider before moving to a place. Healthcare in Idaho is rated average with about 18% of its population uninsured, while others are taken care of by Medicare, Medicaid, Employer-sponsored, and private individual coverage. The infant mortality rate in Idaho is at 4.4 infant deaths per 1000 live births.

    Healthcare in Idaho & California
    Healthcare in Idaho & California

    Life expectancy at 79years and the leading cause of death is Heart disease according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Idaho has 16 community health care centers to provide affordable primary health care services to everyone. Idaho also provides special services to patients with cancer or diabetes.

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    When compared to the U.S average Idaho is one of the most affordable states in the entire country, landed properties are not as expensive as other states, only the local authorities levy property tax that makes homeownership cheaper in Idaho than in California. With a lesser population when compared to California.


    The average home price in Boise is $470,000 compared to $813,980 in California. The average income per household in Idaho is also smaller when compared to California at $51,914 and $75,000 respectively.

    Idaho has high productivity in terms of agriculture making foodstuffs readily available at the local markets at an affordable price, because of the less transportation cost and time. Utility fees are lower than the national average and with a lesser commute than California. When it comes to the cost of living in Idaho versus California, a move to Idaho is better and more affordable.

    Best Places to Live in Idaho

    1. Boise

    This is the capital city and the largest city of Idaho, the city plays a key role in the cultural activities of the state. The state education is good with standard schools and high graduation rates.

    With a lot of social amenities and fun places to visit with your families such as Zoo Boise Julia Davis Park and some of the best outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and so on Idaho has year-round activities to keep you busy.

    2. Moscow 

    Moscow comes top in education above Boise; the city has so many beautiful places to visit such as the Appaloosa museum where you can learn a lot about horses, Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center, Rendezvous, Artwalk, and the Prichard, and so on. Moscow also has a low crime rate.

    The city is one of the best small art towns in the country. The median home price is about $363,994 reported by Zillow.

    3. Sugar City 

    The population of the city is small compared to others with about 1500 residents. The crime rate is extremely low due to the population density. The second-lowest median home price is about $280,000.Places to visit are Rexburg Rapid Water Parks, Museum of Rexburg, Legacy flight museum, Heritage Park, and so on.

    4. Sun Valley 

    This city is famous for the best ski areas at the bald mountain, black diamond bumps, and tourism in general. Places to visit are Sun Valley Museum of Art, Bald Mountain, Wood River Trails, and Sun Valley Lake, and so on. The crime rate is very low here and the median home price is $885,086.This is the best retirement community.

    5. Idaho Falls 

    One of the best places to live in Idaho, with a low cost of living. Places to visit include the Museum of Idaho, Idaho Falls, Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, Idaho Falls River Walk, Russ Freeman Park, Tautphaus Park, and so on. The state and federal universities are located here.

    You can get different varieties of products for those that love shopping.



    1. The State Has Great Outdoor Activities

    Many people move to Idaho for this reason. The mountains and skiing terrain are one of a kind; also, there are different social activities for the outdoor enthusiast. If you are interested in skiing in the winter, fishing, hiking, and biking then Idaho is for you.

    2. Idaho Has a Wide Range of Houses to Suit Your Financial Capability

    There is a wide range of affordable homes in Idaho to choose from for your specific needs. In Idaho, you can find anything from a cozy cottage up to a luxury estate. Idaho is among the states with the lowest average home value in the country.

    3. Idaho Offers a Low Tax Rate

    Idaho’s tax rate of 6% is low when compared to other states, only 20 states have lower tax rates than Idaho for a family that earns $50,000 annually Idaho is a favorable option in the tax-related subject.

    4. Idaho Has Low Rate of Crime

    According to the FBI, Idaho is among the states with the lowest crime rate in the country. The major crime rate in Idaho is less than the national average at about 21.3%, which is low. Idaho is one of the safest places to live with a low crime rate.

    The low rate of crime in Idaho is because of the high investments in law enforcement agencies and making policies on policing the state with the required numbers of personnel and intelligence. Cities in the State have more law enforcement agents per capita than any other place in the country.

    5. Idaho Makes Education Its Priority 

    Idaho invests heavily in education with 60% of the state’s general fund dedicated to the sector. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the Gem State has a population of 1,170,997 over the age of 25 about 91% have at least a high school diploma,336,655 have college degrees, and 116,466 of the population with an advanced degree.

    Idaho boasts a college or university in almost every city with over 30,000 residents and has several top-rated vocational schools.

    6. Cost of Living

    Considering the cost of housing, groceries, healthcare, tax, and other factors Idaho is the state with the second-lowest cost of living in Idaho amongst the 11 western states, these reasons for the recent rush of Californians moving to Idaho.

    7. Housing Boom in the State

    Idaho has seen a drastic rise in real estate development, as more houses built to meet the rising demand over the years. Nevertheless, the high rate of migration into the State is because of the affordable houses and landed properties. For those looking forward to buying a house in Idaho, there are good deals available at Boise, Idaho Falls, Dover, and so on to meet your specific needs.

    For those that prefer to live outside the city, there are many options. It comes with many benefits such as less traffic and other urban problems. However, you will be driving more because of the remote locations.

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    1. Most Idaho Residents Prefer to Isolate Themselves

    Idaho, which is widely known as the Gem State is also an isolationist state, because of the low population density. Many people prefer to mind their business and not bug others. 

    However, people still find time to socialize but most of the time staying alone with your family is the norm except when you initiate a conversation or organize a social event.

    2. High Migration Rate over the Years

    The good news of the comfort and ease of living in Idaho is spreading all over the country, people are coming from different regions to experience the allure of the state, because of that, and the state infrastructures are getting overwhelmed.

    More traffic on the road during closing hours from the workplace, and school. Interstate travels are often longer because of the few exit routes available.

    3. Some level of Government Prioritize Traditional

    The small towns and their government tend to prioritize traditional methods over the world trend. They do not actually; care about another perspective different from the tradition. There is a great reluctance to change or evaluate some policies. The small towns will not change their policies based on demand from people who moved in recently.

    4. Less Luxury Products Are Available

    If you are a fan of luxury brands then Idaho is not a good place to find them, you will source your products from another state to satisfy your desires because the retail outlets available all have limited options. However, there is a rapid demand in different categories that will prompt the supply of those categories to cater to the demand.

    5. Lack of Public Transportation in Some Areas

    The options for transportation are limited; on-demand taxis like Uber and Lyft only operate in urban areas. Moving in and out of rural areas is not easy unless you have a vehicle.  

    6. Idaho’s Political Views and Principles

    Idaho is a politically consistent state, over the years the state has shown huge support consistently for the conservative views, but subsequently voting for other political options. Unlike the tense political rivalry in states like California, Washington, New York, and so on, other political views are slightly criticized.

    7. Cultural Concentration is Common throughout Idaho

    The population of Idaho is not diverse as the outward appearance, a move to Idaho means your cultural heritage, restaurants, events, and activities are limited. 

    What is the Livable Wage in Idaho?

    The hourly wage a person in Idaho must earn to provide for himself and support his or her family is the livable wage. Wages are categorized into a living wage, poverty-wage that is the gross annual income of a person, and minimum wage, which is the same for everyone at $7.25 per hour.

    Data provided are for one adult, two adults (1 working), and two adults (both working) all with a maximum of three children. Information used in the table below is from Living-wage Calculator.

    Moving to Idaho from California FAQ’s

    Why are people moving to Idaho?

    Because of the low cost of living when compared to other states, lesser traffic, affordable houses, and in general high quality of life.

    What are the best small towns in Idaho?

    The towns that have smaller populations are Driggs, Salmon, Mcall, Sandpoint, Sun Valley, and Bonners Ferry.

    Which Idaho cities have the best life?

    You can experience the best life in cities like Boise, Moscow, Meridian, Lewiston, and Coeur d’Alene, but other cities are also good options.

    Is it cheaper to live in Idaho or California?

    It is much cheaper to live in Idaho considering the cost of food, energy, tax, and Housing.

    What is the average home price in Idaho?

    The average home price in Boise is about $470,000 compared to $813,980 in California, up from last year at the rate of 37.5% and 34.2% respectively.

    What is the moving cost from California to Idaho?

    The average moving cost from California to Idaho is between $2500 to $4500 depending on certain factors such as route, size of items, and other factors.

    Is Tax rates in Idaho lesser than in California?

    Idaho’s top tax rate of 6% is lower than the 13.3% of California.


    Migrating to Idaho from California can be very rewarding; if you are looking for a quiet life outside the hustle of urban life then Idaho is best for you. In addition, if you are looking to start a new life on a small annual income then Idaho is also a good place for you.

    People relocating to Idaho also testify about the outdoor fun and activities, low crime rate, and others. Planning a move should be done considering factors including pre and post-move services and activities, also hiring a professional moving company will save you the stress of dealing with truck owners and drivers, packing, and unpacking.

    Related State moving Guides:

    Moving to California

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