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Pocatello, Idaho
City
Eastern Pocatello.jpg
Flag of Pocatello, Idaho
Flag
Official seal of Pocatello, Idaho
Seal
Nickname(s): US Smile Capital, (The) Gate City
Motto: Armpit of Idaho
Location in Bannock County and the U.S. state of Idaho
Location in Bannock County and the U.S. state of Idaho
Country United States
State Idaho
Counties Bannock, Power
Established 1889
Area
 • City 32.38 sq mi (85.86 km2)
 • Land 32.22 sq mi (83.45 km2)
 • Water 0.16 sq mi (0.41 km2)
Elevation 4,462 ft (1,360 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 54,255
 • Estimate (2015) 54,350
 • Density 1,683.9/sq mi (650.2/km2)
 • Metro 90,656
Time zone Mountain Standard Time (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) (UTC-6)
ZIP Code 83201
Area code(s) 208
FIPS code 16-64090
GNIS feature ID 0397053
Website pocatello.us

Pocatello (Listeni/ˈpkəˈtɛl/) is the county seat and largest city of Bannock County, with a small portion on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in neighboring Power County, in the southeastern part of the US 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.

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. 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.

Geography

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.

Climate

Pocatello experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), with winters that are moderately long and cold, and hot, 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
(15.6)
65
(18.3)
75
(23.9)
86
(30)
97
(36.1)
103
(39.4)
104
(40)
104
(40)
98
(36.7)
91
(32.8)
75
(23.9)
64
(17.8)
104
(40)
Average high °F (°C) 32.6
(0.33)
37.5
(3.06)
48.8
(9.33)
58.3
(14.61)
67.8
(19.89)
77.8
(25.44)
87.8
(31)
87.1
(30.61)
75.8
(24.33)
61.0
(16.11)
44.5
(6.94)
32.8
(0.44)
59.4
(15.22)
Average low °F (°C) 16.0
(-8.89)
19.2
(-7.11)
27.1
(-2.72)
32.9
(0.5)
39.7
(4.28)
46.5
(8.06)
52.0
(11.11)
50.7
(10.39)
42.1
(5.61)
33.0
(0.56)
24.1
(-4.39)
16.1
(-8.83)
33.3
(0.72)
Record low °F (°C) −31
(-35)
−33
(-36.1)
−12
(-24.4)
12
(-11.1)
20
(-6.7)
28
(-2.2)
34
(1.1)
30
(-1.1)
19
(-7.2)
7
(-13.9)
−14
(-25.6)
−29
(-33.9)
−33
(-36.1)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.99
(25.1)
0.97
(24.6)
1.26
(32)
1.15
(29.2)
1.46
(37.1)
0.99
(25.1)
0.64
(16.3)
0.61
(15.5)
0.84
(21.3)
0.87
(22.1)
1.11
(28.2)
1.24
(31.5)
12.13
(308.1)
Snowfall inches (cm) 8.8
(22.4)
7.1
(18)
5.4
(13.7)
3.2
(8.1)
0.8
(2)
trace 0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
1.6
(4.1)
5.7
(14.5)
10.7
(27.2)
43.4
(110.2)
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
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 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
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 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
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
Source: NOAA (sun and relative humidity 1961–1990)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 4,046
1910 9,110 125.2%
1920 15,001 64.7%
1930 16,471 9.8%
1940 18,133 10.1%
1950 26,131 44.1%
1960 26,534 1.5%
1970 40,036 50.9%
1980 46,340 15.7%
1990 46,080 −0.6%
2000 51,466 11.7%
2010 54,255 5.4%
Est. 2015 54,441 0.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 54,255 people, 20,832 households, and 13,253 families residing 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 was 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 of 2000, there were 51,466 people, 19,334 households, and 12,973 families residing 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%, 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.

Religion

The religious affiliation is as follows:

History

Gateway to the Northwest

Founded in 1889, Pocatello was 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.

Indigenous Tribes

The name "Pocatello" comes from an Indian chief of the Shoshone tribe who granted the railroad a right-of-way through the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.

Shoshone and Bannock Indian tribes inhabited southeastern Idaho for hundreds of years before the epic 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.

Permanent Settlements

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 attracted settlers in large numbers to Idaho. 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.

Gold Rush & 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.

Rankings and recognition

Pocatello still carries on this tradition with air, rail, and ground transportation at the intersection of I-15 and I-86. Pocatello has been recognized by Forbes as a "Best Small Place for Business" 6 years in a row. Most recently Pocatello was ranked 2nd on Forbes Cost of Doing Business index. In addition, Pocatello has been ranked 1 of the top 10 small places to move and raise a family according to Primary Relocation and World ERC. Pocatello has also been ranked by the AARP as one of the top cities in the U.S. to retire and one of the Best Small Cities in America by NerdWallet.

Transportation

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.

Flag

The Pocatello flag is considered by the North American Vexillological Association as the worst city flag in North America. 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 famous.

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