Best Places to Live

Pocatello, ID

Population: 54,549
Courtesy of Charles (Chuck) Peterson under a CC 4.0 license.

Voters in Pocatello tend to lean a bit to the right—59.6 percent of votes in the 2012 election went to Romney, while 37.5 went to Obama—but surveys find the city has more nonaffiliated voters, more Republicans, and more people who view themselves as somewhat liberal than the average American town. This somewhat complicated (but well-balanced and non-extreme) mix comes from a history of political activism mixing with a religious population. Around 75 percent of the population is Mormon, but the tried and true conservative stereotype does not hold fully true here, as seen throughout its history. For instance, in the 1950s, Pocatello had the highest population of black residents in the state, some of whom began and won the first even group-organized black civil rights protest in Idaho. In 1966, Pocatello hosted a bipartisan political rally, which Gerald Ford attended. In 2011, Pocatello had its own Occupy Wall Street protest.

The current mayor of the town is Brian Blad, a Republican—but before him, Democrat Roger Chase served two terms. And in 2013, Brian Blad joined the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service—a bipartisan movement in which mayors seek to draw attention to the importance of national service for the betterment of city problems.


Pocatello Offers A Ton of Year-Round Outdoor Recreation


And the Congressman representing Pocatello—Mike Simpson of the Second Congressional District—ranks in the top 36 percent of House Republicans for joining bipartisan bills. In fact, of the 108 bills he has co-sponsored, 12 percent were introduced by someone who was not a Republican, according to GovTrack. Similarly, the site ranks him in the 30th percentile of progressive House Republicans.

Why move to Pocatello? Well, if you love the outdoors, it’s a year-round haven for you; it’s a three-hour drive from famous ski resort towns like Jackson Hole and Park City and summertime offers great opportunities for biking, fishing, rock climbing and more.

Residents here are likely to…

  • Eat at Little Caesars Pizza.

  • Shop on Amazon.

  • Drive a Subaru.

  • Read National Geographic.

  • Watch Fox News.