Pocatello, Idaho
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Pocatello, Idaho

Pocatello, Idaho
City of Pocatello
Flag of Pocatello, Idaho
"U.S. Smile Capital", "The Gate City"
"Gateway to the Northwest"
Location of Pocatello in Bannock County and Power County, Idaho.
Location of Pocatello in Bannock County and Power County, Idaho.
Pocatello, Idaho is located in the United States
Pocatello, Idaho
Pocatello, Idaho
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°52?31?N 112°26?50?W / 42.87528°N 112.44722°W / 42.87528; -112.44722Coordinates: 42°52?31?N 112°26?50?W / 42.87528°N 112.44722°W / 42.87528; -112.44722
CountryUnited States
CountiesBannock, Power
 o MayorBrian Blad (R)
 o City33.40 sq mi (86.50 km2)
 o Land33.24 sq mi (86.09 km2)
 o Water0.16 sq mi (0.41 km2)
4,462 ft (1,360 m)
 o City54,255
 o Estimate 
 o Density1,703.83/sq mi (657.84/km2)
 o Metro
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain Standard Time (MST))
 o Summer (DST)UTC−6 (Mountain Daylight Time (MDT))
ZIP Code
Area code(s)208, 986
FIPS code16-64090
GNIS feature ID0397053

Pocatello is the county seat and largest city of Bannock County,[4] with a small portion on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in neighboring Power County, in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Idaho. It is the principal city of the Pocatello metropolitan area, which encompasses all of Bannock County. As of the 2010 census the population of Pocatello was 54,255.[5]

Pocatello is the fifth-largest city in the state, just behind Idaho Falls (population of 56,813). In 2007, Pocatello was ranked twentieth on Forbes list of Best Small Places for Business and Careers.[6] Pocatello is the home of Idaho State University and the manufacturing facility of ON Semiconductor. The city is at an elevation of 4,462 feet (1,360 m) above sea level and is served by the Pocatello Regional Airport.


Indigenous tribes

Shoshone and Bannock Indigenous tribes inhabited southeastern Idaho for hundreds of years before the trek by Lewis and Clark across Idaho in 1805. Their reports of the many riches of the region attracted fur trappers and traders to southeastern Idaho. The city is named after Chief Pocatello, a 19th-century Shoshone leader.

Permanent settlements

Pocatello in 1892, probably photographed by Charles Roscoe Savage

Nathaniel Wyeth of Massachusetts established one of the first permanent settlements at Fort Hall in 1834, which is only a few miles northeast of Pocatello. When over-trapping and a shift in fashion to silk hats put an end to the fur trade, Fort Hall became a supply point for immigrants traveling the Oregon Trail.

Although thousands of immigrants passed through Idaho, it was not until the discovery of gold in 1860 that Idaho attracted settlers in large numbers. The gold rush brought a need for goods and services to many towns, and the Portneuf Valley, home of Pocatello, was the corridor initially used by stage and freight lines. The coming of the railroad provided further development of Idaho's mineral resources and "Pocatello junction" became an important transportation crossroads as the Union Pacific Railroad expanded its service.

Gateway to the Northwest

After its founding in 1889, Pocatello became known as the "Gateway to the Northwest". As pioneers, gold miners and settlers traveled the Oregon Trail, they passed through the Portneuf Gap south of town. Stage and freight lines and the railroad soon followed, turning the community into a trade center and transportation junction.

Gold rush and agriculture

After the gold rush played out, the settlers who remained turned to agriculture. With the help of irrigation from the nearby Snake River, the region became a large supplier of potatoes, grain and other crops. Residential and commercial development gradually appeared by 1882.

Alameda consolidation

The adjacent city of Alameda was consolidated into Pocatello in 1962,[7][8]Chubbuck, further north, opposed a similar merger and remained a separate municipality.[8] In the 1960 census, Alameda had a population of 10,660 and Pocatello was at 28,534; the consolidation made Pocatello the state's largest city based on those numbers, passing Boise and Idaho Falls.[7][8]


The Pocatello flag used from 2001 to 2017 was considered by the North American Vexillological Association as the worst city flag in North America.[9] In April 2016, the city's newly created flag design committee met for the first time. Attending the meeting was Roman Mars - whose 2015 TED Talk made Pocatello's flag infamous.[10] On July 20, 2017, after a year and a half of work by the flag committee, the Pocatello City Council approved the adoption of a new flag with the informal name of "Mountains Left" out of a total of 709 designs.[11][12][13]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 32.38 square miles (83.86 km2), of which 32.22 square miles (83.45 km2) is land and 0.16 square miles (0.41 km2) is water.[14]

A main water feature of Pocatello is the Portneuf River, which runs through the southeast side of the city. Since 1992, the city and the Portneuf Greenway Foundation [1] have worked to create a system of trails that follow the river and connect to other trails in the greater Portneuf Valley. Currently, 15+ miles of trails have been constructed with 27 planned total miles.


Pocatello experiences a warm-summer humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb),[15] with winters that are moderately long and cold, and warm, dry summers.

Climate data for Pocatello Regional Airport, Idaho (1981-2010 normals, extremes 1939-present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 60
Average high °F (°C) 32.6
Average low °F (°C) 16.0
Record low °F (°C) -31
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.99
Average snowfall inches (cm) 8.8
trace 0.0
Average precipitation days 11.4 9.8 9.7 9.0 9.5 6.6 4.4 4.5 4.9 6.2 9.3 11.3 96.6
Average snowy days 9.9 7.2 5.1 2.9 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.0 5.3 10.0 42.2
Average relative humidity (%) 75.2 72.3 65.0 53.8 51.8 49.2 41.3 40.4 46.7 54.5 68.8 75.3 57.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 123.6 159.9 231.1 261.7 304.6 337.8 382.7 346.0 292.7 240.8 130.6 113.3 2,924.8
Percent possible sunshine 42 54 62 65 67 74 82 80 78 70 45 40 66
Source: NOAA (sun and relative humidity 1961-1990)[16][17][18]


2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 54,255 people, 20,832 households, and 13,253 families living in the city. The population density was 1,683.9 inhabitants per square mile (650.2/km2). There were 22,404 housing units at an average density of 695.3 per square mile (268.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.5% White, 1.0% African American, 1.7% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.3% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.2% of the population.

There were 20,832 households, of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.4% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.10.

The median age in the city is 30.2 years. 25.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 14.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.4% were from 25 to 44; 21.8% were from 45 to 64; and 10.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.9% male and 50.1% female.

2000 census

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 51,466 people, 19,334 households, and 12,973 families living in the city. The population density was 1,822.5 people per square mile (703.7/km2). There were 20,627 housing units at an average density of 730.4 per square mile (282.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.32% White, 0.72% African American, 1.35% Native American, 1.15% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 2.18% from other races, and 2.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.94% of the population. The top 5 ethnic groups in Pocatello are: English - 21%,[21] German - 16%, Irish - 9%, Danish - 4% and Swedish - 4%.

There were 19,334 households, out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.6% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.6% under the age of 18, 16.7% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,326, and the median income for a family was $41,884. Males had a median income of $33,984 versus $22,962 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,425. About 10.7% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.9% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.


The religious affiliation is as follows:


Street in Pocatello (1954)

Idaho Department of Correction operates the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center (PWCC) in Pocatello.[22]

The United States Postal Service operates the Pocatello,[23] Bannock,[24] and Gateway Station post offices.[25]

The Federal Bureau of Investigations is building a data center in Pocatello as part of an initiative to consolidate operations into three enterprise data centers.[26]

Top employers

According to Pocatello's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[27] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Idaho State University 3,811
2 Pocatello School District #25 1,716
3 Portneuf Medical Center 1,294
4 ON Semiconductor 700
5 City of Pocatello 654
6 Concentrix 564
7 Allstate Insurance 500
8 Union Pacific Railroad 470
9 Bannock County 410


Pocatello is home to Holt Arena, a multipurpose indoor stadium that opened in 1970 on the ISU campus. Known as the "Minidome" until 1988, Holt Arena was the home of the Real Dairy Bowl, a junior college football Bowl game. Holt Arena also plays host to the Simplot Games, the nation's largest indoor high school track-and-field meet.

The Pocatello Marathon and Half Marathon are held annually. Times from the course may be used to qualify for the Boston and New York marathons.[28]

Outdoor sports, both winter and summer, play an important role in the culture of Pocatello. Pebble Creek, Idaho is a ski resort located just south of Pocatello and offers skiing and snowboarding.[29]


Western Pocatello in 2009,
from Red Hill on the ISU campus

Primary and secondary education

Pocatello is served by the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District#25. The district is home to three public high schools. Feeding the high schools are four public middle schools, thirteen public elementary schools, two public charter schools, and various alternative and church-based private schools and academies.

High schools

Middle schools

  • Alameda Middle School
  • Franklin Middle School
  • Hawthorne Middle School
  • Irving Middle School

Elementary schools

  • Chubbuck Elementary School
  • Edahow Elementary School
  • Ellis Elementary School
  • Gate City Elementary School
  • Gem Prep
  • Greenacres Elementary School
  • Indian Hills Elementary School
  • Jefferson Elementary School
  • Lewis & Clark Elementary School
  • Syringa Elementary School
  • Tendoy Elementary School
  • Tyhee Elementary School
  • Washington Elementary School
  • Wilcox Elementary School
Elementary school boundaries of Pocatello

Higher education

Idaho State University (ISU) is a public university operated by the state of Idaho. Originally an auxiliary campus of the University of Idaho and then a state college, it became the second university in the state in 1963. The ISU campus is in Pocatello, with outreach programs in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Boise, and Twin Falls. The university's 123,000-square-foot (11,400 m2) L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center occupies a prominent location overlooking Pocatello and the lower Portneuf River Valley. The center's three venues provide performance space, including the Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall. Idaho State's athletics teams compete in the Big Sky Conference, the football and basketball teams play in Holt Arena.



Commercial air service is available via Pocatello Regional Airport. Pocatello Regional Transit provides bus service on five hourly routes, Monday through Saturday. There is currently no evening or weekend service.

Notable people

In popular culture

  • The Great Food Truck Race Season 4, Episode 3, "Potatoes in Pocatello". Pocatello, Idaho is the location of episode 3 food truck race challenge. Much of the city is shown, as well as the local foot traffic.[36]
  • Judy Garland sings about being "born in a trunk at the Princess Theatre in Pocatello, Idaho" as Esther Blodgett in the film A Star is Born.
  • The documentary Abducted in Plain Sight takes place in Pocatello


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Idaho's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Accessed March 17, 2011
  6. ^ "Best Small Places For Business And Careers". Forbes. April 5, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c "Will Pocatello be Idaho's metropolis?". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). (editorial). March 15, 1962. p. 4.
  8. ^ a b c d "Pocatello, Alameda vote to join as biggest Idaho city". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. March 21, 1962. p. 1.
  9. ^ TED (May 14, 2015). "Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you've never noticed - Roman Mars". YouTube. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "Pocatello starts effort to improve derided city flag". Washingtontimes.com. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ "Pocatello City Council Approves Flag Resolution, New and Official City Flag to be Raised" (Press release). City of Pocatello, Idaho. July 20, 2017. Retrieved 2017.[dead link]
  12. ^ Inglet, Misty (July 21, 2017). "Pocatello officially has new city flag". KIFI-TV. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ "Pocatello council approves new flag for Gate City". Idaho State Journal (Press release). July 20, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  15. ^ Peel, M. C., Finlayson, B. L., and McMahon, T. A.: Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification Archived June 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1633-1644, 2007.
  16. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ "ID Pocatello RGNL AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ "WMO Climate Normals for Pocatello/Municipal ARPT, ID 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008.
  21. ^ "Pocatello - Pocatello - Ancestry & family history - ePodunk". Epodunk.com. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ "Static Printable Map of Pocatello & Chubbuck Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." City of Pocatello. Retrieved on June 4, 2011.
  23. ^ "Post Office(TM) Location - POCATELLO Archived April 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on June 3, 2011.
  24. ^ "Post Office(TM) Location - BANNOCK Archived April 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on June 3, 2011.
  25. ^ "Post Office(TM) Location - GATEWAY STATION Archived April 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on June 3, 2011.
  26. ^ Sverdlik, Yevgeniy (April 29, 2016). "FBI to Build Data Center in Idaho". Data Center Knowledge. Retrieved 2016.
  27. ^ "City of Pocatello CAFR" (PDF). Pocatello.us. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 24, 2012. Retrieved 2017.
  28. ^ "Pocatello Marathon - Event is held the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend: Sept. 2, 2017". Pocatellomarathon.com. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Maker Studios Founders, YouTubers Shay Carl, Lisa Nova & More React To $500 Million Walt Disney Co. Acquisition". Ibtimes.com. March 25, 2014. Retrieved 2017.
  31. ^ Remembering James Edmund Johnson, USMC, by Terrence W. Barrett PhD
  32. ^ https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/leader/richard-g-scott?lang=eng
  33. ^ https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/neil-l-andersen?lang=eng
  34. ^ Toni Samek; Keller R. Roberto; Moyra Lang, eds. (2010). She Was a Booklegger: Remembering Celeste West. Library Juice Press. p. 81. ISBN 9781936117444. Retrieved 2016.
  35. ^ "Benedicte Wrensted: An Idaho Photographer in Focus" Archived July 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  36. ^ "Pocatello Is All About Potatoes, You Dig?". Food Network. Retrieved 2017.

External links

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