ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here
Archive

Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: U.S. Census

Despite perception, Idaho ranks below middle of states for number of local governments

A new set of data out from the Census Bureau, the “2012 Census of Governments,” shows that it's not necessarily true that every bump on every log in Idaho is incorporated, or that because Idahoans hate government so much they have lots and lots of it, in the form of what seem to be a myriad of special local taxing districts. Actually, Idaho ranks slightly below the middle among the 50 states for the number of local government units it has - 1,161, ranking 28th. That's for 44 counties, 200 cities, 799 special districts and 118 independent school districts, according to the census data.

That does, however, mean Idaho ranks 12th in the nation for its number of special districts. And we of course rank much lower, 39th among the 50 states, for population. We rank 39th for the number of cities, the same as our ranking for population; and 34th for the number of counties.

So who ranked at the far ends in this comparison? Illinois had the most local governments of any state: 6,968, about 2,000 more than second-place Pennsylvania. Hawaii had the fewest local governments of any state at 21, easily eclipsing second-to-last-place Rhode Island, which had 134, and third-to-last Nevada at 190.

Idaho school funding again ranks 50th in nation

Idaho's school spending per pupil ranks 50th in the nation for a second straight year, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census, while Washington's is 32nd, one place worst than last year's ranking of 31st. Washington education officials bemoaned the ranking as too low, but Idaho's said their lower ranking wasn't particularly concerning; Idaho bested only Utah.

“Funding is a factor in education but it’s not the most important factor,” said Idaho State Department of Education spokeswoman Melissa McGrath, “and it is not the factor that determines the quality of an education system.” She noted that Idaho - like Washington - has higher than average student test scores. The U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progess shows eighth-graders in both states scored above average in reading, math and science in 2011. “In Idaho, our state spends less per student compared to most other states, but our students continually outperform students across the United States in reading, math and in science,” McGrath said. “It’s clear that Idaho is doing well spending its resources effectively and efficiently to benefit Idaho students.”

The census figures, which are drawn from the 2009-2010 school year, also include rankings for school spending per $1,000 in per-capita income for each state. By that measure, Idaho improved slightly from last year's ranking of 41st, coming in 38th. But it's still far below where the state ranked back in 2001, when it was 17th. Former Idaho state chief economist Mike Ferguson, now the head of the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, said that echoes a report he released in April that found that the share of Idaho's personal income that goes to schools dropped 23 percent from 2000 to 2013; his report dubbed that drop “a stunning reduction in the state's commitment to public schools.” Ferguson said Wednesday, “The fact is that we've been essentially disinvesting in children.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Census: North Idaho population aging

North Idaho is aging faster than the rest of the state, numbers released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau show. The median age in each of Idaho’s five northern counties rose much more over the past 10 years than did the statewide average; in Kootenai County, the median age rose from 36 in 2000 to almost 39 in 2010. In Bonner County, the jump was from 40.8 to 45.8. In Shoshone County, it went from 41.8 to 46.2. In Boundary County, it rose from 38.3 to 42.8 and in Benewah County, from 39.2 to 44.8. Statewide, the median age in 2010 was 34.6, up from 33.2 in 2000. You can read S-R reporter Alison Boggs' full story here, and check our our interactive, searchable Idaho census data site here.

Census: Idaho incomes see big drop

Idaho families saw their take-home pay drop nearly 5 percent last year – one of the steepest declines in the nation. New reports today from the U.S. Census Bureau show that median income in Idaho fell by 4.9 percent from 2008 to 2009. By comparison, income fell 1.7 percent for Washington households and declined 2.9 percent nationally. Based on the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Surveys, the median household income was $44,926 in Idaho, $56,548 in Washington and, nationwide, $50,221. The new data also shows Idaho’s poverty rate is up, and Idaho women are among the nation’s lowest-earning; you can read our full story here at spokesman.com.

What bad times are doing to us…

The recession and high unemployment rates are altering how Idaho residents live, according to new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau: More families have both parents working or looking for work; more households have had extended family members move in; more grandparents are raising their grandchildren; and 17.8 percent of Idahoans had no health insurance in 2008, the 12th highest in the nation. You can read more here at spokesman.com.

Recession prompts rural Idaho residents to stay put

Rural Idaho residents have been staying put during the current recession, unlike during the previous recession, when they moved in large numbers to the state’s urban areas. “The length and depth of the current recession … has severely impeded the ability, and the rationale, for people to move,” Idaho’s Department of Labor reported. This according to a state analysis of the latest U.S. Census figures for city populations. Until the current downturn, Idaho had been seeing a steady migration from its rural areas to its urban ones, a trend that was even more pronounced when the state’s economy was booming. But that was when the draw of the bigger cities promised jobs. Said Labor spokesman Bob Fick, “The biggest job losses have been in the city.” You can read my full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review.

Census: Idaho’s largest minority growing quickly

Idaho’s Hispanic population has continued to increase at three times the rate of non-Hispanics, according to the latest U.S. Census figures. Overall, 10.2 percent of Idahoans are Hispanic, but the census found that in nine of Idaho’s 44 counties, all in southern Idaho, the figure was greater than 20 percent. The population of tiny Clark County is 40.4 percent Hispanic; Minidoka County, 30.2 percent; and Jerome County, 27.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Idaho’s median age increased by a month to 34 years and five months, while the median age for Hispanic residents dropped more than three months to 23 years and eight months. “The trend toward youth in the rapidly growing Hispanic population suggests the economic and political influence of the state’s largest minority could grow substantially as Hispanic families become more and more established,” reported Bob Fick of the Idaho Department of Labor, who analyzed the population figures.

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Eye On Boise.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here