Idaho Retirement Guide
This site will acquaint you with some basic facts about the best places to retire in Idaho, as well as what it's like to retire here. Idaho is a growing state in the Pacific Northwest that attracts many outdoors oriented active adults over 55. This state with just over 1.75 million people (2018) offers a variety of places to live, from livable cities like Boise to affluent resort towns like Sun Valley. Some 14.6% of the population is 65 or over. The Boise and Sawtooth Mountains and rivers including the Snake River offer tremendous scenery and exceptional recreation opportunities. On the downside it is somewhat remote with long distances to big cities in the west. Skiing, hiking, and river sports are outstanding in Idaho. Revised Dec. 2019.
The Wikipedia entry for Idaho has more facts.
The Idaho climate is characterized as steppe, a higher altitude climate. Humidity is low and sunshine is ample. The temperature is severe in winter. Summers can be hot except in the mountains which tend to be cooler than at lower altitudes. Average rainfall is about one-third of U.S. average.
Economy & Home Prices
In 2013-2017 the median Idaho household income was $50,985, well below average for all states. Tourism and agriculture are important in Idaho, along with high tech industries. Idaho produces about one-third of the nation's potatoes. The state has the 16th lowest cost of living of all the states. Real estate prices and the general cost of living vary dramatically from place to place. In general prices are about average compared to the total U.S. The real estate market in Idaho is described as "hot": in late 2019 the Median Home Value Index in Idaho was $275,100 according to Zillow, which is $40,000 higher than the national index and up 7% year over year. In Boise City the median selling price of a home was $303,100 in the third quarter of 2019.
Tax Burden: At 9.3% the total state and local tax burden in Idaho for 2012 was average, 26th highest in the nation (the Tax Foundation).
Marginal Income Tax Rates. The Idaho top marginal income tax rate ranges from 1.6% to 7.4%, which kicks in at just over $21,780 for couples.
Retirement Income Exemptions. There are significant exemptions on many types of retirement income for people over 65. Social Security income is exempt.
Social security exemption. Social security benefits are not taxed.
Sales Tax: Sales tax is 6%.
Property Taxes: The state's property tax collections are the 37th highest in the nation, at 0.69% of property value. Idaho Property Tax Reduction (formerly Circuit Breaker) of up to $1,320 is available to persons age 65 and older, widowed or disabled persons of any age, and POWs who meet income and residence requirements. If it is your primary residence you might be eligible for an exemption of 50% of the value up to $89,580. Per capita property taxes were $888 in 2012.
Estate and/or Inheritance Taxes. There are no estate or inheritance taxes.
Link to Idaho State Tax Commission.
Certified Retirement Communities
Idaho does not have a certified retirement community program.
Best retirement communities
Idaho offer a combination of big mountains and flatter areas. Several cities and towns in Idaho are popular as retirement communities, particularly resort towns like Sun Valley or nearby Ketchum. Boise is the capital as well as the economic and cultural center of the state. Nampa, Garden City, Twin Falls, Sandpoint, Caldwell, Coeur d'Alene, Lewiston (Lewis and Clark State College), Pocatello (Idaho State University), Meridian, and Idaho Falls are all great towns too. Active adult communities are being built in and around towns like Boise. Find suggestions for best retirement towns in the right hand column.