Bringing the Economy Home

Forbes Says Boise Is Second Best Place To Raise A Family

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Downtown Boise, Idaho.

Forbes says Boise is the second best place in the country to raise a family. Second to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The business magazine looked at income, cost of living, school quality, crime rates, and housing affordability to make its top picks.

“The relative strength of Grand Rapids’ housing market is enough to push it past the next two cities on our list, Boise, Idaho and Provo, Utah, both of which are particularly noted for low crime and high school quality. Not to mention the chance to mix urban and outdoor lifestyles.

“For us, it’s all about access,” says David McCauley, a 48-year-old IT professional who grew up on the east coast and moved to Boise with his family 13 years ago. “Skiing in 45 minutes, fly fishing in the Boise River, which also has some cool kayaking spots.  Mountain biking is literally out my door, and we live downtown.” As for the kids? “They ride their bikes all over,” says McCauley. “They’re allowed to do things alone, but they’re never really ‘alone’.”” –

The Boise lifestyle may appeal to many, but one thing Forbes didn’t consider in its rankings is the availability of jobs.

February’s jobless estimates show almost 24,000 people in the Boise-Nampa metro area are out of work.  That puts the region’s unemployment rate at 7.9 percent.  Unemployment across much of the state is trending downward, but those improvements are happening slowly.

Kathryn Tacke is a regional economist with the Idaho Department of Labor.  “There are a lot of reasons to be hopeful about what is going on in the economy, but there are a lot of risks out there still,” Tacke said in an interview last month.

“Certainly, everyone is concerned with the persistence of long-term, high unemployment,” says Tacke.  “It has dire consequences for communities the individuals involved and their families.”

Still, reaction to the Forbes ranking has been mostly positive.  Here’s what people are saying on Twitter and Facebook:

What do you think? Has Boise earned its spot?


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »