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Small Towns, Deepening Pockets: How Migration is Changing the Face of Boise

Caroline Wu
Oct 27, 2023
Small Towns, Deepening Pockets: How Migration is Changing the Face of Boise

Lately, many of our clients have been asking about how migration to smaller markets in the past few years have been affecting the makeup of these towns.  Are they getting older or younger, richer or poorer, and have tastes been changing based on an influx of new residents?  Today, we take a look at a relatively smaller market (pop 500K - 1M) that is showing promise.  We used filters of Yo3Y migration trends, screened for CBSAs with 3% or greater population growth, average HHI greater than $50K, and origin/destination HHI ratio greater than 5%, and among them is a true sparkler coming from the Gem State.

Spotlight on Boise City, ID

A nature-lover’s paradise, anecdotes flowed during Covid about how this market was being overrun with out-of-towners driving prices up.  With an increase in population of 58K (7.5%), an HHI ratio of 7.2%, and a population density of 71, Boise still technically has room for a lot more residents.  

In the past year, downtown Boise’s 8th St corridor has seen an increase in traffic most months.

The population moving average for Boise has been going smoothly upwards since 2019.

Boise moving avg pop 10.25.23

In the past year, new residents have come largely from Los Angeles, Portland, and the Seattle area.

Boise origins and destinations 10.25.23

Many are driven to Boise for its pristine natural beauty, so it’s no wonder that Bogus Basin has seen only increased traffic year-over-year in the past 12 months. In the winter, one can ski, snowboard, and tube to your heart’s content. Come summertime, there is a mountain roller coaster and bike trails.

For those seeking some retail therapy, Boise Towne Square offers all the typical mall favorites, including Apple, Bath & Body Works, and The Cheesecake Factory.

Comparing the makeup of who shopped at Boise Towne Square pre-COVID versus present, the proportion of Singles and Starters (young singles starting out and some starter families living a city lifestyle) has definitely increased. This will likely contribute to the already-lively craft brewing scene, as well as entertainment geared towards the younger set. Interestingly, Power Elite visits under-index at Boise Towne Square, which may be the result of international travel (as we discuss below).

Experian Mosaic Boise Towne Square 10.25.23

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Caroline Wu

Director of Research,

Caroline brings expertise in retail, CRE, entertainment, media, CPG, and tourism, and specializes in synthesizing broad datasets into actionable recommendations for growth. She has worked as the US Director of Consumer Insights at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, VP of Retail Insights and Intelligence at Omnicom, and Senior Director at Kantar. Caroline holds an MA in Sociology from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

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