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Idaho fastest growing state in the country, newcomers explain their move

Idaho is the fastest growing state in the country according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau numbers. Idaho takes the top spot for the fifth-straight year.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho is growing at a faster rate than any other state in the country and it has been for half a decade.

The Gem State welcomed 53,151 new residents in 2021 and 48,876 of them came from other states, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau numbers. Idaho's 2.9% growth rate topped Utah and Montana, each with a second-place 1.7% growth rate.

Conversely, California lost more residents to domestic migration than any other U.S. state. The Golden State saw 367,299 people leave for other states, including destinations like Idaho.

"We love the people. We really do. Everybody is so nice," Tammy Hensley said. "We came up here a few times, and just fell in love."

Hensley moved to Idaho 14 months ago. She cited traffic, homelessness and littering among her reasons to head North. However, chief among them may be the strength of her dollar.

Hensley moved from San Francisco and now works remotely for AT&T.

"Can I be honest? These bigger fortune 500 companies whether you come from Google, Apple, AT&T, you get to keep your California salary," Hensley said.

A woman who wished only to be named as "Julie" told KTVB she moved to Idaho 2 years ago from Napa, California. Originally from Colorado, Julie discovered Boise after her daughter enrolled at Boise State University.

"When I saw how awesome it was here, it kind of reminded me of Denver way back when," Julie said. "I wanted to be closer skiing and I guess affordability. I was able to buy a house here and wouldn't have been in Napa Valley."

Idaho's growth is met with mixed emotions from longtime Gem State residents. Residents like Derek McIver, who have called Idaho home for decades, do not want to see it change.

"You know how it is with the human race," McIver said. "We trash out one part of the planet then we move on and find another place. I just hope Idaho doesn't get too crowded, ya know? I have a real love of the mountains … So, I like some kind of isolation."

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