New Census Bureau estimates have only underscored the magnetism of Idaho’s economy during the 1990s.
Between April 1990 and last July, only one other state - Nevada - saw its number of households increase by a greater percentage than Idaho’s 12.2 percent.
And Idaho was among the national leaders in growth of households at both ends of the age spectrum.
Households headed by people under 25 increased by more than 25 percent over the four-year period, a rate unmatched by another other state, while households headed by people 55 and older jumped more than 20 percent. Only three other states - Alaska, Colorado and Nevada - saw senior households grow faster.
In addition to the strong economy that promised better employment opportunities to many younger people hard-pressed for jobs in other states, the increase in retirement age households appeared to indicate the continued drawing power of Idaho’s quality of life and comparably low tax burden.
Analysts said the estimates also reflected the aging of post-World War II baby-boomers as well as their decision to wait somewhat longer than their parents to have children.
They pointed to the huge increase in households headed by those under 25 and the actual decline of nearly 4 percent in the number of households headed by people 25 to 34 years old.
At the same time, the number of households headed by people in their pre-retirement years of 45 to 54 skyrocketed by 30 percent.
The shift was also apparent in the distribution of householders by age from April 1990 to mid-1994. Those 55 and older dropped from 34.1 percent to 33.3 percent of all households while those under 25 rose from 6.6 percent to 7.7 percent.
But the significant shift was in the key components of the labor force. Households headed by people in their primary working years - 25 to 44 - declined from 43.5 percent to 41.2 percent while those headed by people between 45 and 54 increased from 15.5 percent to 17.8 percent.