Idaho Economic and Educational Information

Idaho is far more than just potatoes. This mountainous Western state has a long tradition of ranching and outdoors pursuits, including its six national parks. Several institutions of higher learning call the state home, including the University of Idaho and Boise State University.

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Information about Idaho

Idaho, which is located in the northwest United States, is sparsely populated, with an estimated population of about 1.65 million in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau figures. The state is home to dozens of species of threatened wildlife and tens of thousands of square miles of national parks and protected land. As of 2012, an estimated 61.7% of the land is owned by the federal government, including six national parks. Popular activities include skiing, hiking, fishing, rafting and horseback riding. The terrain includes mountains, rivers, lakes, ranches and farmland. The climate is temperate because of the sheltering mountains in the east and warm Pacific Ocean winds from the west, although winters can be cold, especially near the Wyoming border. The state enjoys four seasons, with the colder temperatures corresponding to higher altitudes.

Education in Idaho

There are 41 postsecondary institutions in Idaho, but only eleven are four-year public and private not-for-profit colleges and universities. Only five are two-year non-profit schools: the College of Western Idaho in Nampa, the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene, Eastern Idaho Technical College in Idaho Falls, and Stevens-Henager College, which has campuses in both Boise and Idaho Falls.

As of 2017, the largest school is Boise State University, with about twenty thousand undergraduates. Another large university in the state is Brigham Young University in Rexburg. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked BYU-Rexburg as 10th among regional colleges in the West. Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston was tied for 23rd in the same category. For students who want to attend a liberal arts college, the College of Idaho is tied for 168th in the national rankings. It is also important to note that Idaho is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), which allows students to enroll in certain public universities across 14 western states and pay a maximum of 150% of in-state tuition.

Economy and Employment

Naturally, Idaho is well known for its potatoes, since it supplies almost 30% of all potatoes on the market as of 2014. Indeed, the top five agricultural exports in Idaho were dairy, cattle, potatoes, wheat and hay as of 2010. Manufacturing is also an increasingly important economic sector with the manufacturing of electrical equipment, especially computers, replacing traditional manufacturing of lumber, chemical and metal products. In addition, the state's economy relies heavily on tourism, which brings in a total of $3.4 billion, including $500 million in tax revenue, each year. Some of the state's largest employers include Micron Technology, Hewlett-Packard, and the grocery chain Albertsons.

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