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Mackay, Idaho
Mackay, Idaho.jpeg
Location of Mackay in Custer County, Idaho.
Location of Mackay in Custer County, Idaho.
Country United States
State Idaho
County Custer
 • Total 0.87 sq mi (2.24 km2)
 • Land 0.87 sq mi (2.24 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
5,906 ft (1,800 m)
 • Total 517
 • Estimate 
 • Density 578.52/sq mi (223.34/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 208
FIPS code 16-49240
GNIS feature ID 0397886

Mackay) is a town in Custer County, Idaho, United States. The population was 517 at the 2010 census. The town is pronounced "Mackie" with the accent on the first syllable.



Mackay is located at 43°54′43″N 113°36′49″W / 43.91194°N 113.61361°W / 43.91194; -113.61361 (43.911880, -113.613669), at an elevation of 5,905 feet (1,800 m).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.86 square miles (2.23 km2), all of it land.

About 20 miles (32 km) north of Mackay is Idaho's highest mountain: Borah Peak, with a summit elevation of 12,662 feet (3,859 m). Mt. McCaleb, 11,427 feet (3,483 m), overlooks the city.


The climate of Mackay ranges from lows of -40 °F (-40 °C) to highs of +30 °F (-1 °C) in the winter. In the summer, temperatures range from lows of 30 °F (-1 °C) to highs of 100 °F (38 °C) in some areas. Mackay has a fairly dry climate, typical of high desert bordering alpine areas.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 638
1920 869 36.2%
1930 777 −10.6%
1940 776 −0.1%
1950 760 −2.1%
1960 652 −14.2%
1970 539 −17.3%
1980 541 0.4%
1990 574 6.1%
2000 566 −1.4%
2010 517 −8.7%
2019 (est.) 501 −3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 517 people, 247 households, and 137 families residing in the city. The population density was 601.2 inhabitants per square mile (232.1/km2). There were 352 housing units at an average density of 409.3 per square mile (158.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.8% White, 0.2% African American, 0.6% Native American, and 0.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.

There were 247 households, of which 21.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.5% were non-families. 39.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 23.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.72.

The median age in the city was 47.5 years. 21.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 19.3% were from 25 to 44; 31.4% were from 45 to 64; and 22.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.6% male and 48.4% female.

1983 earthquake

On Friday, October 28, 1983, the Borah Peak earthquake occurred at 8:06 am MDT, measured at 6.9 on the moment magnitude scale. The Challis-Mackay region experienced rather thorough damage, with 11 commercial buildings and 39 homes with major damage; while another 200 houses were damaged, minor to moderately. Chickens were running all through the streets. Mackay in particular, about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Challis, experienced the most severe damage. Most of the city's large buildings on its Main Street were damaged, to some extent; eight of these buildings were deemed condemned and closed down. Most of these buildings were built from materials such as brick, concrete block, and stone, each varying.


The main athletic attraction in the city is Mackay High School. The Miners have won ten state championships in football in the 1A (previously A-4) division and five state championships in basketball. Volleyball, girls' basketball and track are other athletic opportunities in Mackay.

Notable residents

  • Chase A. Clark, 18th Governor of Idaho (1941–43) and federal judge
  • Marilyn Howard, politician and educator
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