Many of us already know how outsiders view living in Boise: after all, the city keeps earning accolades from publications like Forbes and Outside Magazine.
In fact, Livability just released their list of the 2019 top 100 places to live in the United States, and Boise nabbed the number one spot. But do locals share the same starry-eyed excitement over the City of Trees? What’s the insider’s take on this much-praised town?
The recently published 2018 edition of the biennial Boise Citizen Survey will give you a pretty good idea of the local view of the state of the city. Every other year, the city of Boise gauges resident’s feelings and opinions on services and government through a survey.
The most recent citizen survey was conducted by Seattle-based Northwest Research Group in early 2018. Northwest’s 5-star rating system for municipalities has been used to review over 1,000 other cities throughout the nation and is intentionally designed to make a five-star rating difficult to achieve.
The Results Are In - Boise Lives Up to the Hype
Although Northwest’s rating system is designed to be rigorous, Boise’s government and services achieved a remarkable 4.5 out of 5 stars overall on the 2018 citizen survey, a result that the group says has been reached by “very few” other cities. Boise showed some strong numbers in important areas, such as:
- 92% of survey respondents believe that Boise’s quality of life exceeds expectations
- 94% compare Boise favorably with other cities
- 67% believe the city is headed in the right direction
- 73% believe that they receive good value from city services relative to the taxes they pay
- 85% of residents surveyed believe crime is “only a small problem” or “somewhat of a problem,” with only 6% of respondents reporting that crime is a “big problem”
Survey respondents see Boise as a safe, changing city, and the citizen survey gave them space to voice valid concerns. The responses of the citizen survey highlight a few of Boise’s growing pains as it continues to boom.
Only 40% of survey respondents reported having convenient access to public transportation from their residence. Only 29% reported feeling that public transit can get them where they need to go, and a mere 28% say they can use public transportation to get around town.
Around two-thirds of respondents view Boise’s growth as “somewhat” or “completely” positive.
New residents and younger families tended to agree more strongly that Boise’s growth is a bonus. However, one quarter of respondents view Boise’s growth with much more trepidation, either “somewhat” or “completely” disagreeing that growth is positive.
In every survey cycle since 2013, ratings on Boise’s housing affordability have dropped, raising the flag of citizen concern.
Although Boise’s affordability is still remarkable when compared to many other Northwestern metropolitan areas, housing prices have steadily risen over the past several years, leading to a sense of worry among residents.
Only 13% of residents feel that the availability of housing near their desired location exceeds expectations, while 7% think that Boise’s “overall affordability of housing” exceeds expectations.
58% of residents surveyed said they would suppose a two-year property tax levy to establish an affordable housing fund.
Overall, Boise residents believe their city is as wonderful as everyone says it is, giving it an astounding 4.5 out of 5 stars. Far from wearing rose-colored glasses, those who know and love Boise best—its residents—believe the city has earned its reputation for safety, affordability, and quality of life.