Blaine County, Idaho

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Blaine County, Idaho
Blaine County Courthouse, Hailey ID1.jpg
Blaine County Courthouse
Seal of Blaine County, Idaho
Map of Idaho highlighting Blaine County
Location in the state of Idaho
Map of the United States highlighting Idaho
Idaho's location in the U.S.
Founded March 5, 1895
Named for James G. Blaine
Seat Hailey
Largest city Hailey
 • Total 2,661 sq mi (6,892 km2)
 • Land 2,644 sq mi (6,848 km2)
 • Water 17 sq mi (44 km2), 0.6%
 • (2010) 21,376
 • Density 8.1/sq mi (3/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6

Blaine County is a county located in the U.S. state of Idaho. As of the 2010 census, the population was 21,376.[1] The county seat and largest city is Hailey.[2]

Blaine County was created by the state legislature on March 5, 1895, by combining Alturas and Logan counties.[3] Its present boundaries were set on February 8, 1917, when a western portion became Camas County.[4] The county is named after former congressman and 1884 Republican presidential nominee James G. Blaine (1830–93).[3]

Blaine County is included in the Hailey, ID Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is home to the Sun Valley ski resort, adjacent to Ketchum.


The Wood River Valley in present-day Blaine County was organized as part of Alturas County by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in 1864.[5] By the 1880s the area became noted for its mining economy. In 1882 the county seat of Alturas County was moved from Rocky Bar in present-day Elmore County to Hailey, in response to a population shift from Rocky Bar – which would eventually become a ghost town – to the Wood River Valley.[6]

After Idaho statehood in 1890, as in the rest of the state, mining gradually decreased in significance in Blaine County. At its creation in March 1895, Blaine County included five other present-day counties. Less than two weeks later, Lincoln County was carved from it and later partitioned into Gooding (1913), Minidoka (1913), and Jerome (1919) counties. Blaine County was further reduced in 1917 when Camas County was formed.

The county began to recast itself as a tourism destination in 1936 with the opening of the Sun Valley resort, originally owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. The area soon attracted celebrity visitors, and later residents, most notably Ernest Hemingway, who is buried in the Ketchum Cemetery.[7] Celebrities who have lived either full-time or part-time in Blaine County include Adam West,[8] Demi Moore,[9] and John Kerry.[10]

County profile[edit]

Most Blaine County residents live in the Wood River Valley along State Highway 75 in the western half of the county. This area includes all of the county's incorporated cities and towns except Carey, which is located in the south-central part of the county at the junction of US 20 with US 26/93. The county's gerrymandered southeastern panhandle, known locally as the Yale area, is very sparsely populated.[11]

As the home of a major ski resort, Blaine County expectedly has a much higher cost of living than surrounding areas; the median value of its owner-occupied housing units is more than double the state average.[12] As a result, many who work in Blaine County live in outlying areas, particularly in the city of Shoshone in neighboring Lincoln County. It is estimated that 2,540 people from outside the county commute to work in Blaine County.[13]

Government and politics[edit]

Similar to other Idaho counties, an elected three-member county commission heads the county government. Other elected officials include clerk, treasurer, sheriff, assessor and prosecutor.[14]

In the last two decades, Blaine County has gained a reputation as a Democratic Party enclave in strongly Republican Idaho.[15] The Democratic presidential candidate has won the county in every election since 1992, when George H. W. Bush finished third behind Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.[16] Blaine was the only Idaho county carried by Al Gore and John Kerry in 2000 and 2004 respectively.[17][18][19][20] In the 2008 election, Barack Obama carried the county by a 33.2% margin over John McCain, while McCain won statewide by a 25.3% margin.[21] It was one of three counties (with Latah and Teton) in Idaho won by Obama in 2008, and by far the highest margin.[22] Again in 2012, Obama carried Blaine County with 58.8 percent of the vote, compared to Mitt Romney's 38.7 percent. During the 2012 election Blaine County was the only Idaho county in which Obama received over 50 percent of the vote, although he also carried Latah County with 49.6 percent of the vote. From 1968 through 1988, a less-populated Blaine County was won by the Republican candidate in all six presidential elections, as was the state of Idaho.[23]

In 2006, Blaine County voted 66.3% against HJR 2, which amended the Idaho Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage; the measure passed with 63.4% of the statewide vote. Latah County, which contains Moscow, home of the University of Idaho, was the only other county where the measure failed.[24]

At the state level Blaine County is located in Legislative District 25,[25] which currently has an all-Democratic delegation in the Idaho Legislature.[26] Michelle Stennett, the current minority leader of the Idaho Senate, resides in Ketchum. Wendy Jaquet, a member of the Idaho House of Representatives and a former minority leader of that body, also resides in Ketchum.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,661 square miles (6,890 km2), of which 2,644 square miles (6,850 km2) is land and 17 square miles (44 km2) (0.6%) is water.[27]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

National protected areas[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 4,900
1910 8,387 71.2%
1920 4,473 −46.7%
1930 3,768 −15.8%
1940 5,295 40.5%
1950 5,384 1.7%
1960 4,598 −14.6%
1970 5,749 25.0%
1980 9,841 71.2%
1990 13,552 37.7%
2000 18,991 40.1%
2010 21,376 12.6%
Est. 2014 21,482 [28] 0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[29]
1790-1960[30] 1900-1990[31]
1990-2000[32] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census of 2000,[33] there were 18,991 people, 7,780 households, and 4,839 families residing in the county. The population density was 7 people per square mile (3/km²). There were 12,186 housing units at an average density of 5 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.73% White, 0.13% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 6.43% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. 10.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.0% were of English, 14.6% German, 10.8% Irish and 6.2% American ancestry.

There were 7,780 households out of which 31.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.20% were married couples living together, 7.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.80% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 32.60% from 25 to 44, 27.90% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 107.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,496, and the median income for a family was $60,037. Males had a median income of $35,949 versus $27,487 for females. The per capita income for the county was $31,346. About 4.90% of families and 7.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.80% of those under age 18 and 5.30% of those age 65 or over.


All but one public school is administered by the Blaine County School District.[34] There are two public high schools in the county, Wood River High School in Hailey and Carey High School in Carey. Syringa Mountain School is the first charter school to be approved in Blaine County and opened in the fall of 2014.[35] The rural Yale area in the county's southeastern panhandle is served by schools in neighboring Minidoka County.[36]

Private schools include Community School in Sun Valley and The Sage School in Hailey.

The College of Southern Idaho, a community college based in Twin Falls, operates an off-campus outreach center in Hailey.[37]



Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost towns[edit]

  • Boulder City
  • Vienna


Blaine County is home to events and festivals throughout the year, including Wagon Days, Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Sun Valley Harvest Festival, and the Sun Valley for the Arts Wine Auction.

The Blaine County Fair is an annual summer event.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Blaine County". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Camas County". February 6, 1917. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Alturas County, Idaho Genealogy and History". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Blaine County Courthouse" (PDF). July 7, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Hemingway Haunts". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ Simons, Greg. "Adam West: Behind the Mask". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Demi Moore Biography". The Biography Channel. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  10. ^ Ghostly secret haunts Kerry's Idaho idyll
  11. ^ "Populated north, rural south: Blaine County's two worlds". January 25, 2000. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Blaine County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  13. ^ Blaine County estimate (PDF)[dead link]
  14. ^ "Blaine County Idaho Elected Officials". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  15. ^ Simons, Greg. "Real Western: Pondering the Democratic map of the Intermountain West". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  17. ^ "1992 Presidential General Election Results – Idaho". November 3, 1992. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  18. ^ "1996 Presidential General Election Results – Idaho". November 5, 1996. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  19. ^ "2000 Presidential General Election Results – Idaho". November 7, 2000. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  20. ^ "2004 Presidential General Election Results – Idaho". November 19, 2004. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  21. ^ David Leip. "U.S. Election Atlas". U.S. Election Atlas. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  22. ^ 2008 – General Election Blaine Archived June 10, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Blaine County, Idaho". Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Idaho HJR 2 Results by County". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Idaho Legislative District Map" (PDF). Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Idaho Legislative Districts". July 29, 2004. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  27. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  28. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  29. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  33. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  34. ^ "Blaine County School District". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Only Idaho Public Waldorf School Opens in Hailey". Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Blaine County School District : Neighborhood School Boundaries". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  37. ^ Edit Szanto, Chika Daggett, RD Van Noy. "CSI Off-Campus Centers | Blaine County Center". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  38. ^ "Idaho Mountain Express: Dozens of 4-H kids take awards at county fair – August 31, 2011". August 31, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°23′N 113°59′W / 43.39°N 113.98°W / 43.39; -113.98