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When will the Treasure Valley's explosive growth slow?

Census data shows Ada and Canyon counties added almost 15,000 people a year on average from 2010-2020. It may still feel like a lot — but the growth may be slowing.
Credit: Brian Myrick / Idaho Press
The ever-growing skyline of downtown Boise rests against the snow-covered foothills in this 2022 file photo. Boise ranked fifth among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. in 2022-23 according to U.S. News & World Report.

BOISE, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.

For years, Treasure Valley cities have made lists of the fastest-growing cities in America as newcomers and Gem State natives from other areas flocked to the Boise metro area. And those who live here have taken notice.

“Our city is growing,” one person said during Tuesday’s hearing on Avimor, a development hoping to be annexed into Eagle. “We also have unprecedented growth in this area that we haven’t experienced," another person said. A third talked about how rapidly Eagle is growing along with the Treasure Valley. “It’s being squeezed in on many sides.”

But how sustainable are the huge leaps this area has made in population? When will the growth actually stop?

Maybe not anytime soon.

Boise was the fifth-fastest-growing city in the U.S. in 2022-23, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Within the Treasure Valley itself, Meridian has grown the most from 2020 to 2023, if going by raw numbers of people. Meridian is followed by Nampa and Boise, according to a spokesperson for the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho, or COMPASS.

Rural communities have seen the most growth by percent in the Treasure Valley. Star tops the list, followed by Kuna and Middleton, the spokesperson said. 

The least growth by both percent and raw numbers: Notus, which is about 10 miles west of Middleton. Notus is followed by Greenleaf and Parma.

Right now, the region has about 782,000 people, according to COMPASS estimates. But the planning association forecasts 37% growth between 2022 and 2050.

By that time, the combined population of Ada and Canyon counties is expected to top 1 million.

That’s adding about 292,000 people to the two-county region over 28 years — about 10,500 a year on average.

However, Census data showed that from 2010 to 2020, the two counties added almost 15,000 people a year on average.

It may still feel like a lot — but the growth may in fact be slowing down.

Growth does seem to be stabilizing, according to the COMPASS spokesperson, but it's hard to tell if this is a trend or a short-term change.

Last year’s COMPASS population estimates showed almost 8% growth from 2020 to 2022. For context, if the growth rate continued at a little over 7%, the Treasure Valley’s population would double in a decade. COMPASS Principal Planner Carl Miller previously told the Idaho Press he does not expect this to happen.

“Over the next 30 years, we’re predicting by 2050, there will be about 1.1 million people in the Treasure Valley,” Miller previously told the Idaho Press. “That’s still pretty healthy and robust growth, but it’s not anything like the 7.5%.” 

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.

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