Wells Fargo Building at dusk

Economic Development Data for Boise

Boise Population

217,730 people live within the city limits (COMPASS)

Approximately 421,920 employees reside within 45-minute drive (COMPASS)

Median Age, 2010 Census: 34.1

Average household income, 2012: $48,807 (Forbes)
Median household income, 2008-2012: $49,182 (US Census)
Average home price in Ada County, Q1 2014: $233,019 (Intermountain MLS)
Per capita income, 2008-2012: $27,897 (US Census)
Cost of living index, 2012: 96.1% of the national average (BVEP)

Educated Workforce

Boise School District

  • 94.9% high school graduation rate

Boise State University

  • In 2012-2013 Boise State conferred 3,757 degrees, including 168 associate, 171 certificate, 2,716 baccalaureate, 691 master's and 11 doctorate degrees
  • Boise State is the largest university in Idaho with 22,003 students
  • 210 academic programs are offered in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences and Public Affairs
  • Total undergraduate enrollment for 2012-2013: 9,086 students
  • Total graduate enrollment for 2012-2013: 1,135 students


University of Idaho – Boise

The University of Idaho Boise is a graduate, research, and professional development center and is part of the larger University of Idaho Land Grant system based in Moscow, Idaho.

  • In 2011- 2012 the University of Idaho Boise conferred over 120 academic degrees and certificates, including 1 baccalaureate, 72 master's, 12 specialist and 8 doctorate degrees, and 27 Juris Doctor degrees
  • The University of Idaho Boise annually serves over 1200 academic students and over 1300 professionals in non-credit development programs.
  • The University of Idaho Boise offers over 40 graduate degrees, academic certificates, and professional development programs.
  • In the Boise Center proper, the University of Idaho employs 130 faculty, staff, and researchers with another 17 Extension faculty and staff in the Extension Office in Boise. Under the UI Boise umbrella, there are approximately an additional 40 University of Idaho Extension faculty, staff, and researchers that work in the Southern Idaho region.

College of Western Idaho - Regional Community College

  • Opened January 2008

Labor Market Information


Workforce Trends



Market Access

Freeways – I-84 provides quick access to downtown Boise, surrounding cities and airport facilities

Rail – Boise City owns 18.2 miles of the Boise Cut-off, extending rail access into industrially-zoned
areas near the airport and south of the city

BOI – Boise Airport

  • Less than 10 minutes from downtown Boise
  • Less than 1 hr. 30 minutes by air to Seattle, Portland, Bay Area, Reno, Salt Lake City
  • Less than 2 hr. 30 minutes by air to Denver, Los Angles, Phoenix
  • 5 major airlines, with direct flights to several major cities

Low Cost of Business


  • Second lowest in energy costs in the western states
  • Hydropower is dominant source of electricity in the region
  • Much of downtown Boise is heated by geothermal energy


  • Corporate income tax rate 7.6
  • Individual income tax is graduated from 1.6 to 7.8%
  • Average property tax rate is 1.9% (one of the lowest in the US)
  • Retail sales are taxed at 6%
  • Unemployment taxes

Development Project Permitting

  • On average, less than 5 days for small- and medium-sized projects
  • On average, under 4 weeks for major projects

Project Management

  • The city has implemented a project management program for certain qualifying projects in which a specialist is assigned to the project to help the company smoothly navigate the permitting process.

Commitment to the Environment

  • The new City Hall West will likely attain LEED-silver certification, the third newly opened branch library is LEED-gold
  • The City substantially improved its residential curb side recycling program to increase number of participants and decrease the amount of waste going to the county landfill
  • The City sponsors the Idaho Green Expo, a two-day exposition that provides attendees with valuable information about reducing their carbon footprint
  • The City owns farmland on which it grows switchgrass that is sold for biomass fuels
  • Boise has the largest municipal geothermal system in the country, and are expanding it across the Boise River to heat most of the Boise State Campus

Boise Facts

Area: 64.0 sq. mi
Elevation: 2,840 ft above sea level
Sunny Days: 234

Average summer high temp: 90.2 F
Average winter low temp: 21.6 F
Annual precipitation: 12.1in
Mean Snowfall: 21.3 in



  • 137 parks
  • 22.5 miles of greenbelt pathways


  • 140 miles of trail in the foothills are available for mountain biking and hiking

Open Space

  • 2400 acres of open space


  • Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation is only 16.5 miles from downtown Boise, featuring 2600 acres of downhill skiing and 35 km of Nordic trails in the winter, and a disc golf course and hiking and biking trails in the spring, summer and fall



Business Climate

  • Largest dynamic, prosperous, vibrant urban center within a 300-mile radius
  • Center of government, business, culture and entertainment for over 460,000 people
  • Employs 29,959 people
  • Home to more than 700 businesses that range from major employers to the entrepreneur
  • Business incubators focus on entrepreneurship and innovation in high-tech
  • Home to over 300 retail and service businesses – 81% locally owned
  • The technology sector contributes more to Idaho’s gross economy than agriculture, timber and mining combined

Pedestrian & Bicycle Counts

Recent Development

  • 265 new residential units completed since 2007
  • 356,235 of new office square footage since 2005
  • 183,869 of new retail square footage since 2005
  • Idaho’s first LEED Platinum office building – Banner Bank Building
  • Renovated 112-room luxury boutique hotel and an ultra-modern remodeled 1960s motel
  • Mercy Housing's 52 one-bedroom apartments for low-income seniors 2011
  • River Park Place - Whole Foods and Walgreens 2012
  • Concordia Law School 2012
  • The 18-story Zions Bank Building in 2014


  • 3,974 residents live in downtown Boise
  • 2,761 housing units
  • 2,251 multi-family units

Office and Retail

  • Downtown in 2013 has approximately 4,177,362 building square footage, with 330,501 direct vacant square footage (Colliers Boise)
  • Class A vacancy is 10% with 383,891 SF inventory
  • Average of Asking Rate in Q1 2014 were: $17.05
  • Current retail vacancy rate downtown is 8.3%

      National Retailers
      Jos A Bank
      Office Depot
      The North Face
      Title Nine
      Urban Outfitters
      White House - Black Market
      lululemon athletica
      Tom James Co
      National or Regional Restaurants
      Old Chicago
      Bonefish Grill
      PF Changs China Bistro
      Ben & Jerry's
      Costa Vida
      Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches
      Pita Pit
      10 Barrel Brewing Co.
      Thomas Hammer
      Proto's Pizza
      Lucky Fins
      Five Guys Burgers and Fries
      Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria
      Caffe Capri
      Caffe D'Arte
      The Melting Pot
      The Matador
      Wiseguy Pizza Pie
      Ruth's Chris Steakhouse

Visitors & Tourism

Arts & Entertainment


Other Local and Regional Economic Development Information:

Indicators Northwest - regional data

The Watercooler - downtown business incubator

City of Boise

City of Boise Economic Development

Boise Valley Economic Development Partnership (BVEP)
Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce

Idaho Department of Commerce
Idaho Department of Labor

Downtown Boise Association (DBA) - Business Improvement District
Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau (BCVB)
Boise City Convention Center

Boise City Department of Arts & History