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Pocatello, Idaho
City of Pocatello
Flag of Pocatello, Idaho
Official logo 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.
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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
Country United States
State Idaho
Counties Bannock, Power
Established 1889
 • City 33.40 sq mi (86.50 km2)
 • Land 33.24 sq mi (86.09 km2)
 • Water 0.16 sq mi (0.41 km2)
4,462 ft (1,360 m)
 • City 54,255
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,703.83/sq mi (657.84/km2)
 • Metro
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain Standard Time (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (Mountain Daylight Time (MDT))
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 208, 986
FIPS code 16-64090
GNIS feature ID 0397053

Pocatello is the county seat of and largest city in Bannock County, 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.

Pocatello is the fifth-largest city in the state, just behind Idaho Falls. 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.


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.


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
Average high °F (°C) 32.6
Average low °F (°C) 16.0
Record low °F (°C) −31
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.99
Snowfall inches (cm) 8.8
trace 0.0
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)


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%
2019 (est.) 56,637 4.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
Alameda annexed in 1962.

2010 census

As of the census 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.


The religious affiliation is as follows:


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.


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.


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.


-IDAHO-A-0053- American Falls Dam Trip (5440965126)
Street in Pocatello (1954)

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

The United States Postal Service operates the Pocatello, Bannock, and Gateway Station post offices.

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

Top employers

According to Pocatello's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, 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


Eastern Pocatello
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, four public middle schools and thirteen public elementary schools. Additionally, there are two public charter schools, and various alternative and church-based private schools and academies.

High schools

  • Century High School
  • Highland High School
  • Pocatello High School
  • Grace Lutheran High School
  • Gem Prep High School
Pocatello High School

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
Pocatello Elementary Boundaries
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.


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.

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.

Pocatello is also home to a semi-pro baseball team, the Gate City Grays, who are a member of the Northern Utah League. The Grays play in Halliwell Park located at 1100 W. Alameda. They were NUL champions in both 2015 and 2016.



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 Sunday service.

Notable people

  • Chris Abernathy, electrician and member of the Idaho House of Representatives
  • Neil L. Andersen, member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Don Aslett, entrepreneur and founder of the town's Museum of Clean
  • Kayla Barron, NASA astronaut
  • Billie Bird (1908–2002), comedian and actress
  • Greg Byrne, athletic director at University of Alabama
  • Shay Carl, vlogger, one of the original founders of Maker Studios, which was sold to Walt Disney Co. in 2014.
  • Gloria Dickson, actress
  • Jan Broberg Felt, actress
  • George V. Hansen, politician
  • Taysom Hill, Special-Teamer and Backup Quarterback for the New Orleans Saints
  • Merril Hoge, analyst for ESPN, NFL running back
  • Tristen Hoge, Offensive Guard for the New York Jets
  • Bryan Johnson, NFL football player
  • James Edmund Johnson, Medal of Honor recipient, posthumously, for valor in combat in the Korean War
  • Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons
  • Wendy J. Olson, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho
  • C. Ben Ross, Mayor of Pocatello and 15th Governor of Idaho
  • Bill Salkeld, Major League Baseball catcher
  • Tom Spanbauer, writer, winner of the Stonewall Book Award
  • Richard G. Scott, member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Brandon Steineckert, drummer
  • Edward Stevenson, costume designer for numerous films including Citizen Kane and It's a Wonderful Life
  • Minerva Teichert, artist
  • Tommy Togiai, Defensive Tackle for the Cleveland Browns
  • Jack Williams, Boston news anchor
  • Benedicte Wrensted, photographer lived in Pocatello from 1895 to 1912
  • Reo Wilde, professional archer
  • Logan Wilde, professional archer

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