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American Falls
Power County Courthouse in American Falls
Power County Courthouse in American Falls
Location of American Falls in Power County, Idaho.
Location of American Falls in Power County, Idaho.
Country United States
State Idaho
County Power
Area
 • Total 1.61 sq mi (4.18 km2)
 • Land 1.61 sq mi (4.18 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
4,406 ft (1,343 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 4,457
 • Estimate 
(2019)
4,315
 • Density 2,673.48/sq mi (1,032.46/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP code
83211
Area codes 208, 986
FIPS code 16-01900
GNIS feature ID 0396035
Interstate I-86.svg
U.S. Route link = U.S. Route 30 in Idaho

American Falls is a city in and the county seat of Power County, Idaho. The population was 4,457 at the time of the 2010 census.

History

American Falls was a landmark waterfall on the Snake River, named after a party of American trappers whose boat went over the falls. The Wilson Price Hunt expedition in 1811 camped at the falls one night and the expedition of John C. Frémont was here in 1843. The Oregon Trail passed north of town, through the present-day reservoir. Power plants first sprang up at the falls in 1901. American Falls was the first town in the U.S. to be entirely rerelocated [citation needed]; it was moved in 1925 to facilitate construction of the nearby American Falls Dam. The old townsite sits at the bottom of the reservoir, northwest of the present city. A larger dam was completed in 1978, downstream from the deteriorating 1927 structure, which was later demolished.

Geography and climate

American Falls is located at 42°46′52″N 112°51′20″W / 42.78111°N 112.85556°W / 42.78111; -112.85556 (42.781121, -112.855694), at an elevation of 4,406 feet (1,343 m).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.69 square miles (4.38 km2), all of it land.

Climate data for American Falls, Idaho (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 35.0
(1.67)
36.7
(2.61)
47.0
(8.33)
59.1
(15.06)
67.2
(19.56)
74.4
(23.56)
88.0
(31.11)
87.3
(30.72)
80.4
(26.89)
61.2
(16.22)
46.9
(8.28)
33.5
(0.83)
59.7
(15.39)
Average low °F (°C) 19.2
(-7.11)
17.7
(-7.94)
26.6
(-3)
33.6
(0.89)
39.8
(4.33)
49.3
(9.61)
53.7
(12.06)
53.2
(11.78)
45.1
(7.28)
35.3
(1.83)
26.7
(-2.94)
18.9
(-7.28)
34.9
(1.61)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.85
(21.6)
0.41
(10.4)
0.42
(10.7)
1.50
(38.1)
1.10
(27.9)
3.31
(84.1)
0.04
(1)
0.18
(4.6)
0.34
(8.6)
1.19
(30.2)
1.13
(28.7)
1.25
(31.8)
11.71
(297.4)
Snowfall inches (cm) 7.2
(18.3)
5.6
(14.2)
3.7
(9.4)
2.0
(5.1)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.5
(1.3)
5.1
(13)
11.1
(28.2)
35.2
(89.4)
Source: NOAA

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 953
1920 1,547 62.3%
1930 1,280 −17.3%
1940 1,439 12.4%
1950 1,874 30.2%
1960 2,123 13.3%
1970 2,769 30.4%
1980 3,626 30.9%
1990 3,757 3.6%
2000 4,111 9.4%
2010 4,457 8.4%
2019 (est.) 4,315 −3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 4,457 people, 1,474 households, and 1,104 families living in the city. The population density was 2,637.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,018.3/km2). There were 1,612 housing units at an average density of 953.8 per square mile (368.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.2% White, 0.4% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 25.1% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 39.0% of the population.

There were 1,474 households, of which 44.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 25.1% were non-families. 21.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.00 and the average family size was 3.51.

The median age in the city was 30.2 years. 33.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.5% were from 25 to 44; 21.3% were from 45 to 64; and 11.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.9% male and 49.1% female.

Bird Watching Opportunities

Birding in the American Falls area is excellent. With habitats such as marshes, lakes, ponds and riverine riparian the birder has much to choose from. American Falls is one of Idaho's most interesting birding areas with good birding year around. The Dam and cemetery overviews are good for viewing water birds and the local reservoir is excellent for shorebirds. The American Falls Reservoir has one of the highest concentrations of shorebirds in the state and is best visited in the fall for migratory species. The American Falls Fish Hatchery has a .75 mile nature and birding trail through Russian Olive trees along the Snake River. The birder has excellent opportunities to see many bird species at Audubon maintained feeding stations during the winter. This trail is particularly interesting during the winter months when many birds are seeking protection from wind and harsh weather.

Education

American Falls High School is a secondary school in American Falls. In 2012, it was designated as a four star school.

In 2004, Randy Jensen, Principal of William Thomas Middle School in American Falls, was awarded the National Principal of Secondary Schools Award.

Notable residents

  • D. W. Davis, 12th governor of Idaho
  • Boyd Grant, college basketball coach
  • Steve Hayes, basketball player and coach
  • María Sánchez, American-born Mexican footballer
  • Marion Barton Skaggs, businessman
  • Annalee Skarin, writer of Mormon literature
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