Boise & Garden City

If you’re a young professional, Boise is the place for you, Forbes says. Here’s why.

Boise’s cost of living was 5 percent less than the national average in 2014.
Boise’s cost of living was 5 percent less than the national average in 2014.

It’s no surprise to most Idahoans by now: In everything from trick-or-treating to home-brewed beer, the Treasure Valley tends to show up in top 10 lists. We’re often touted as the wildcard, and Boise’s latest nod — from business magazine Forbes — is no different.

On Monday, Forbes released a list of best cities for young professionals in 2017. Boise took the No. 2 slot, second only to nearby Salt Lake City.

So what put the City of Trees on Forbes’ radar?

“(Boise) makes the list thanks to strong job growth projections and a high percentage of adults with college degrees,” according to an explainer article.

Forbes said the Boise metropolitan area is looking at a projected annual job growth rate of 1.87 percent. Forty-three percent of adults in Boise hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the magazine.

Those were only two of six factors that Forbes looked at to make its determination. The full list of figures considered also included median salary, median rental price for a two-bedroom apartment, employment prospects (based on both unemployment and job growth stats) and “social outlook,” or percent of the population in the age 20 to 29 category.

Forbes put a recent grad’s median starting salary in Boise at $45,700 — the third lowest out of the top 25 cities on the list. That figure was counteracted by the fifth-highest percentage of adults with college degrees (43 percent) and a relatively low share of median rent to median salary (22 percent of salary spent on rent, assuming that a person splits rent for a two-bedroom with a roommate).

Another boon for Boise?

“Boise also ranked 13th on our list of the best places for business, in part due to its fast-growing tech sector,” Forbes said.

Still, some of those figures might have Boiseans scratching their heads as news of rising rent prices and low apartment vacancies put stress on the local housing market. Idaho also has notoriously low wages in comparison to other states, and many millennials last year told the Statesman they had to move in order to find decent pay and job prospects.

Boise and Salt Lake City were joined in the top 10 by San Francisco metro area; Phoenix metro area; Denver metro area; Raleigh, N.C., metro area; Indianapolis, Ind., metro area; Columbus, Ohio, metro area; San Jose, Calif., metro area; and Warren, Mich., metro area. Find the full list here.

Boise made the list for the first time in 2014, when the “Boise-Nampa metropolitan area” came in at No. 7.

Nicole Blanchard: 208-377-6410, @NMBlanchard

Boise native Andrew Wilburn likes Boise, but he's moving to Wyoming for a job. Many of his friends have moved to bigger cities.