Residents of Boise have seen their cost of living rise in recent years. Higher bills and ever increasing rents have left many locals with new financial worries as they scramble to pay for even the most basic necessities.
More than two-thirds of renters in Boise and Garden City struggle to pay their rent each month. Two in five say paying rent each month is “very difficult.” To cope with higher costs, more than a third of residents cut back on health care, while more than half of young people took on a second job.
The dire situation for tenants stands in stark contrast to that for landlords, where only one in 50 said paying off the mortgage is “very difficult”.
The findings come from a survey conducted by Embold Research, a new non-partisan, non-partisan division of Change Research, a Bay Area company that conducts online polls only for advocacy groups and Democratic candidates. Embold funded the survey itself as a way to introduce the company to the Boise Market.
The company interviewed 924 adults online in Boise and Garden City, Idaho, between Friday May 7 and Wednesday May 12.
What bills are residents of Boise having trouble paying?
Regarding the difficulty for residents to pay their bills in recent years, the survey found that a significant number of people are struggling.
One of the most notable changes in the region has been the increase in housing costs. Rent has gone up 30.8% since last May alone, according to the online rental market List of apartments. The survey asked residents how difficult it has been to pay their monthly rent or mortgage in recent years. Among respondents, 21% of those in Boise found it very difficult to pay and 23% found it quite difficult.
Tenants have a lot more difficulty than landlords. According to respondents, 71% of renters in Boise and Garden City found it at least somewhat difficult to pay their rent each month, with 41% finding it very difficult. As for homeowners, only 18% said they had difficulty paying their mortgage and only 2% said it was very difficult.
Concerns over paying medical bills are another big concern for Boise, with 50% of residents saying they have struggled to pay for health care costs.
Thirty percent of respondents found it difficult to pay for food and 27% found it difficult to pay for utilities.
Where are residents of Boise reducing?
The survey also looked at what types of financial adjustments locals have made in recent years.
Fifty-six percent of respondents said they were saving less for retirement than before. Fifty-four percent cut back on food or groceries, 51% took on credit card debt, 39% cut back on health care costs, and 12% took out a payday loan.
Forty-eight percent reported having worked multiple jobs or longer hours due to their personal financial situation. Young people do most of the extra work, with 71% of people under 35 reporting having worked multiple jobs or overtime.
Others manage to make ends meet by moving to more affordable neighborhoods. More than twice as many respondents of color reported moving to a more affordable neighborhood than white respondents. Thirty-five percent of non-white residents have done so in recent years.
Attitudes towards neighbors remain positive
While the population boom may have raised concerns that Boise residents are becoming less welcoming, the survey shows that attitudes towards newcomers remain positive. At 74%, the majority of residents consider Boise to welcome new residents. And while it’s not that high, 57% of those surveyed said they felt a sense of belonging to Boise.
Despite the city’s changing nature, the people of Boise still trust each other. When asked to rank from 0 to 10 how much they trust people, residents of Boise gave an average rating of 5.3. A national poll in March found that the average American adult gave a 4.3 on the same scale.
Main issues, survey methodology
“The main overwhelming problem with growth and development in Boise is the affordability of housing,” Embold pollster Nicole Bare said via email. “When asked to choose two from a list of seven, 60% of respondents indicated they were more concerned about the lack of affordable housing. This was the main issue for every subgroup except the elderly, who prioritize their concern over more trafficking (47%) and those who backed Trump in the 2020 election, who are those most concerned about the change of culture and values (54%). . “
Embold Research recruited respondents to the online survey and said it made adjustments for age, gender, race / ethnicity, education and geography to match Boise’s five-year demographic estimates and Garden City. The local results are compared to a national survey of 941 adults across the United States between March 18 and March 30.
The poll’s margin of error is 3.4%, Embold said.
This story was originally published June 5, 2021 4:00 a.m.