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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Idaho’s urban areas grow

Gem State population jumps by 21 percent

Idaho’s story is that of many states in the Western U.S.: cities and suburbs are growing, small towns are thinning, and the number of Latinos has soared.

The Gem State’s population kept booming during the past decade – jumping 21.1 percent to reach 1,587,582, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.

It won’t be enough to earn the state another congressional seat.

While most of the growth was in the Boise area, North Idaho collected its share, helping to push the Interstate 90 corridor of Spokane and Kootenai counties to 609,715 people.

Post Falls added 10,337 residents during the past decade and broke into the ranks of the state’s top 10 cities with 27,574 people, according to data released Thursday. Coeur d’Alene has 44,137 people, and the city of Hayden shot past the 10,000 population mark to reach 13,294. Spirit Lake also grew – adding 569 new residents – to 1,945. Rathdrum added 2,010 residents and now tallies 6,826 residents. The cities helped Kootenai County retain its rank as Idaho’s third-largest county, with 138,494 residents.

Ada County, home to Boise, and neighboring Canyon County were the two largest counties.

In contrast, Shoshone County shed more than 1,000 people since 2000, even as silver prices rebounded, environmental cleanup work progressed, Wal-Mart planted a store and the area began marketing itself as a recreation destination.

“The migration from rural to urban Idaho continued unabated between 2000 and 2010,” said Bob Fick, of the Idaho Department of Labor. About 80 percent of the state’s growth happened in 11 counties with the most people.

About 73 cities in Idaho lost people.

Cities ranged in size from Boise, with a population of 205,671, to a place in easternmost Fremont County called Warm River, which three people call home.

As in Washington, the Latino population growth in Idaho is brisk. More than 74,000 of the state’s 273,600 new residents described themselves as of Hispanic origin. That’s more than one-quarter of the growth and brings the Latino population to 176,000 in Idaho, or 11.2 percent of the total population.

The number of blacks grew by 80 percent, Asians by 52 percent and those identifying themselves as two or more races by 52 percent, according to the data.

And yet the state remains overwhelmingly homogeneous in race and ethnicity: 89.1 percent of residents are white. There’s less diversity in North Idaho, where whites are 94.5 percent of the population in Kootenai County; 96 percent in Bonner County; 94.8 percent in Boundary County; 95.4 percent in Shoshone County; and 86.6 in Benewah County.

Bonner County grew at an 11 percent clip to 40,877 people, with Sandpoint accounting for 7,365.

Dover, just to the west of Sandpoint, counted 556 residents, up 62 percent from 10 years ago, and Ponderay to the north grew 78.2 percent to 1,137 people.

The census numbers for Washington state were released two weeks ago.

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