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Bear Lake County, Idaho facts for kids

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Bear Lake County
Bear Lake County Courthouse
Bear Lake County Courthouse
Official seal of Bear Lake County
Map of Idaho highlighting Bear Lake County
Location within the U.S. state of Idaho
Map of the United States highlighting Idaho
Idaho's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Idaho
Founded January 5, 1875
Named for Bear Lake
Seat Paris
Largest city Montpelier
 • Total 1,049 sq mi (2,720 km2)
 • Land 975 sq mi (2,530 km2)
 • Water 75 sq mi (190 km2)  7.1%
 • Total 6,372 Increase
 • Density 6/sq mi (2/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Bear Lake County is a county in the U.S. state of Idaho. As of the 2020 United States Census the county had a population of 6,372. The county seat is Paris, and Montpelier is the largest city.

The county is named after Bear Lake, a large alpine lake at an elevation of 5,924 feet (1,806 m) above sea level. The northern half of the 20-mile-long (32 km) lake is in Idaho, the southern half in Utah. The county was established in 1875 in the Idaho Territory, fifteen years before statehood.


Peg-Leg Smith established and operated a trading post on the Oregon Trail from 1848-1850 near Dingle. The first settlement in the Bear Lake Valley was Paris, settled by Mormon pioneers led by Charles Rich on September 26, 1863. Thirty families comprised the original settlement. In the spring of 1864, Montpelier was settled on the other side of the valley on the Oregon Trail. Bear Lake County was established in 1875, and the railroad was extended through Montpelier in 1892.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,049 square miles (2,720 km2), of which 975 square miles (2,530 km2) is land and 75 square miles (190 km2) (6.1%) is water. The county is centered on Bear Lake Valley and includes the surrounding mountain ranges. The valley is high in the mountains, with its lowest elevation over 5,900 feet (1,800 m) above sea level. The highest point in the county is Meade Peak at 9,957 feet (3,035 m).

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 30.svg - US 30
  • US 89.svg - US 89
  • ID-36.svg - SH-36
  • ID-61.svg - SH-61

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 3,235
1890 6,057 87.2%
1900 7,051 16.4%
1910 7,729 9.6%
1920 8,783 13.6%
1930 7,872 −10.4%
1940 7,911 0.5%
1950 6,834 −13.6%
1960 7,148 4.6%
1970 5,801 −18.8%
1980 6,931 19.5%
1990 6,084 −12.2%
2000 6,411 5.4%
2010 5,986 −6.6%
2020 6,372 6.4%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020 2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 5,986 people, 2,281 households, and 1,661 families in the county. The population density was 6.1 inhabitants per square mile (2.4/km2). There were 3,914 housing units at an average density of 4.0 per square mile (1.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.3% white, 0.5% American Indian, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% black or African American, 1.6% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 3.6% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 37.1% were English, 10.2% were German, 8.0% were American, and 7.6% were Danish.

Of the 2,281 households, 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.3% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 27.2% were non-families, and 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.12. The median age was 40.5 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,374 and the median income for a family was $47,092. Males had a median income of $39,023 versus $26,417 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,284. About 11.2% of families and 13.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.1% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Bear Lake para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Influential Hispanic athletes
Jim Plunkett
Sammis Reyes
Carlos Arroyo
Trevor Ariza
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