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Study shows Idaho demographic shift

Report: Idaho to become poorer

Gem State demographic will become more urban, more diverse in next 5 years


BOISE – Aug. 18, 2014 — Idaho’s student demographic is projected by 2019 to be more diverse, less rural and poorer, a report commissioned by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation and the Idaho Charter School Network predicts.

Idaho joins the national trend of significant demographic change where white students are no longer in the majority.

Some key findings of the report, produced by ECONorthwest, include:

• Much of the state is projected to see an increase in the share of households with an income of less than $25,000.
• Idaho’s school-age population is increasingly diverse in terms of racial composition; and this trend is likely to accelerate.
• The Hispanic school-age demographic is expected to be the state’s fastest growing.
• Many rural areas will see a decline in student-age population, while significant student growth will be clustered in a handful of urban jurisdictions: Treasure Valley, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, Moscow and Coeur d’Alene.
• Statewide there will be an addition of approximately 23,500 new households, mostly in the above mentioned areas.

Albertson family foundation Executive Director Roger Quarles said the findings in the report specifically point to the link between Idaho’s future economic and education systems.

“The prediction shows Idaho families becoming poorer in the next five years or so,” Quarles said. “But, if we can send more of our students to higher education to get a one-, two- or four-year degree, our work force becomes more skilled. When our work force is highly skilled, businesses are attracted to the area, in turn creating higher paying jobs — it’s a direct link.”

Currently Idaho ranks No. 50 — dead last — in the country for the percentage of high school seniors who attend a two- or four-year public college anywhere in the U.S.

ECONorthwest produced the report via secondary sources, including the Idaho State Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau.

To view the summary report, click here.

For media inquiries, contact Albertson Family Foundation Communications Officer Jennie Sue Weltner, JSWeltner@www.jkaf.org, (208) 424-2640