Salt Lake City vs Boise

Boise vs Salt Lake City [2024] | Where Should You Live?

Last Updated on: 12th August 2021, 01:27 pm

Since Utah and Idaho are so close together, we understand the hard decision that occurs when deciding between Boise versus Salt Lake City. Between the ease of being near a big city and the benefit of living in an area without as much traffic as other states, it’s no wonder why so many people want to live here.

Now, it’s helpful to decide between living in Salt Lake City as opposed to Boise easily with a pros and cons list. Between cost of living in SLC and Boise, the local population, and crime level differences, you’ll be able to decide for yourself which city and state to call home.

Pros and Cons of Living in Boise vs. Salt Lake City

Let’s look at the pros and cons of living in Boise or Salt Lake City so you can better see which city provides the specific needs for your quality of life.

Living in Boise Pros

Low population density

One of the greatest things about living in Boise as opposed to Salt Lake City is that the population density is very low. There are 220,859 people living in Boise, and the city covers just over 80 miles. Though there is some traffic, it’s not anywhere near how bad the traffic in big cities are. For example, the average commute time is just 17 minutes.

Low crime rate in Boise

Overall, Boise is an incredibly safe city to live in. With crime below the national average, it’s safe for families and young adults alike. This is especially true when it comes to violent crime. In Boise, there are only 0.4 violent crimes per 100,000 people compared to the national average of 5 per 100,000 people.

Affordable housing market

The housing market in Boise is surprisingly affordable even though it’s Idaho’s most popular city. The average price of a home in Boise is $348,000, which amounts to about $203 per square foot.

Boise is a Green city

Boise is also a very green city, meaning you can enjoy the outdoors! One of the advantages of Boise is the Snake Valley Recreation area, you’ll love the many opportunities and fun things to do there. Between mountain biking, paragliding, camping, rafting, and skiing, you can do fun things outdoors no matter the time of year.

Living in Boise Cons


Boise Is Not very diverse

Boise isn’t a very diverse city. The population in Boise is comprised of 82.6% white, 8.66% Hispanic or Latino, 3.26% Asian, and 1.8% African American. If being in a city that is diverse is important to you, this is a disadvantage of Boise.

Boise’s Competitive housing market

Currently, Boise has a very competitive housing market. People are putting on average 14% down on the homes, and they only spend 16 days on the market. Homes will usually get multiple offers without contingencies, and many go pending within four days.

Inversion air quality

What’s known as the inversion, the air quality in the winter can make it very hard for people who have asthma or other respiratory illnesses. Because of the valley, smog and bad air get trapped in the atmosphere, which can make breathing difficult.

Boise Has Low wages

Though the cost of living in Boise is affordable, one of the weaknesses of Boise is that the wages are low. The average income is $62,000. Compared to other areas,  you can expect to make around $4,000 less while living here.

Living in Salt Lake City Pros

downtown salt lake city

Tons of outdoor activities to do in Salt Lake City

Thanks to where Salt Lake City is located, there is always something to do outdoors. During the summer, many people hike, fish, and rock climb. Plus, there are many lakes within an hour drive that you can go boating at. During the winter, skiing and snowboarding dominate while others also snowmobile.

SLC’s Incredible food scene

There are many people from other countries in Salt Lake City, and they open delicious restaurants. From Mexican food to Ethiopian cuisine, you can find nearly anything you’d like downtown. This means you’ll never grow tired of eating out, so the restaurant scene is one advantage of Salt Lake City.

Very family friendly

No matter where you’re living in Salt Lake City, it’s very family friendly. You can find playgrounds and parks basically every mile, and there are children’s museums and other activities you can go enjoy with your kids.

Salt Lake Provides Plenty of educational opportunities

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of Salt Lake City versus Boise is that there are so many educational opportunities. You have the University of Utah downtown, Ensign College, Salt Lake Community College, and Westminster College. Within an hour’s drive of SLC, you also have Weber University, Utah State University, Utah Valley University, and Brigham Young University.

Living in Salt Lake City Cons

The housing market is competitive

Though many believe the average cost of a home in Salt Lake City is cheap at $375,000, the market is so competitive that it drives up costs. Homes will get multiple offers and go to pending within five days. The average home is on the market for just 26 days, so if you like something, you have to hope you’re one of the first to see it.

SLC’s Strict Liquor and gambling laws

Salt Lake City follows strict liquor laws, and you won’t find alcohol in the stores unless it’s under 3.2%. You’ll have to go to a liquor store for anything above that. There also aren’t gambling or lottery tickets allowed in the state.

Bad air quality

This is a disadvantage to Utah, especially in the wintertime. There is an inversion layer that gets trapped and can cause breathing problems. People aren’t as concerned about sustainability here, and so there is a lot more littering and things like that.

The Cost of Living in Boise vs. Salt Lake City

When looking at the cost of living index, it’s clear that Boise is a bit more affordable than Salt Lake City. Numbeo’s comparison shows that the prices in Boise are lower for your daily living costs. You would need $4,100 in Salt Lake City to live per month whereas you’d need only $3,884 to live in Boise per month.

  • Rent Prices in Boise, ID are 5.71% lower than in Salt Lake City
  • Groceries Prices in Boise, ID are 11.21% lower than in Salt Lake City
  • A gallon of milk is $0.50 cheaper in Boise than Salt Lake City
  • A restaurant meal is $2.75 cheaper in Salt Lake City as opposed to Boise

Additional Things to Consider Between Boise vs. Salt Lake City


When it comes to the size of Salt Lake City in comparison with Boise, SLC is larger. It covers 110 square miles whereas Boise covers 82 square miles. However, Boise has more people living there. 220,859 people live in Boise versus Salt Lake City having 194,188 people living there.

Crime Rate in Boise vs. Salt Lake City

The crime rate in Boise as compared to Salt Lake City is lower. Salt Lake City has more crime than Boise.

Boise vs. Salt Lake City Climate

When it comes to the climate in Salt Lake City, you’ll experience all four seasons. There’s much more snow in Salt Lake City than Boise, making it perfect for those who like to ski or snowmobile. It also is a bit cooler in Salt Lake City during the summer. You can expect highs of 90°F in July, the hottest month. In Boise, it gets to 93°F in July.

Boise vs. Salt Lake City: Where Are You Moving?

Now you know what to expect and can decide whether to move to Boise or Salt Lake City. There are plenty of pros and cons to Boise vs Salt Lake, but if you’re leaning toward Salt Lake City, give Wasatch Moving Co. a call at (801) 758-0030 or fill out our form. We’re the best Salt Lake City moving company, and we’re here to help make your move go smoothly!


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