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Historic downtown Pocatello in 2007
|Nickname(s): US Smile Capital, (The) Gate City|
|Motto: Gateway to the Northwest|
Location in Bannock County and the state of Idaho
|• Mayor||Brian Blad|
|• 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)|
|• Estimate (2015)||54,350|
|• Density||1,683.9/sq mi (650.2/km2)|
|Time zone||Mountain Standard Time (MST) (UTC-7)|
|• Summer (DST)||Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) (UTC-6)|
|GNIS feature ID||0397053|
Pocatello (i//) 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.
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 data for Pocatello Regional Airport, Idaho (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1939–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||60
|Average high °F (°C)||32.6
|Average low °F (°C)||16.0
|Record low °F (°C)||−31
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.99
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||8.8
|Average 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|
|Average 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|
|Average relative 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|
|Mean monthly 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|
|Percent possible sunshine||42||54||62||65||67||74||82||80||78||70||45||40||66|
|Source: NOAA (sun and relative humidity 1961–1990)|
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.
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.
The religious affiliation is as follows:
Founded as an important stop on the first railroad in Idaho during the gold rush, the city later became an important center for agriculture. It is located along the Portneuf River where it emerges from the mountains onto the Snake River Plain, along the route of the Oregon Trail. The city is named after Chief Pocatello of the Shoshoni tribe, who granted the right-of-way for the railroad across the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Ironically, Chief Pocatello did not use the name but preferred to be called Tondzaosha, a Shoshoni word meaning buffalo robe. The chief's daughter, Jeanette Lewis, believed the name Pocatello had no meaning.
The section of the city along the Portneuf River was inhabited by the Shoshoni and Bannock peoples for several centuries before the arrival of Europeans in the early 19th century. In 1834, Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth, a U.S. fur trader, established Fort Hall as a trading post north of the present location of the city. The post was later acquired by the Hudson's Bay Company and became an important stop on the Oregon Trail, a branch of which descended the Portneuf through the present-day location of the city. A replica of the Fort Hall trading post is now operated as a museum in southern Pocatello.
The discovery of gold in Idaho in 1860 brought the first large wave of U.S. settlers to the region. The Portneuf Valley became an important conduit for the transportation of goods and freight. In 1877, railroad magnate Jay Gould of the Union Pacific Railroad acquired and extended the Utah and Northern Railway, which had previously stopped at the Utah border, into Idaho through the Portneuf Canyon. "Pocatello Junction", as it was first called, was founded as a stop along this route during the gold rush. After the gold rush subsided, the region began to attract ranchers and farmers. By 1882, the first residences and commercial development appeared in Pocatello.
In 1948, the mayor of Pocatello, George Phillips, passed an ordinance making it illegal not to smile in Pocatello. The "Smile Ordinance" was passed tongue in cheek as a result of an exceptionally severe winter, which had dampened the spirit of city employees and citizens alike. Unintentionally, the ordinance was never repealed. On December 10, 1987, Pocatello was declared by the mayor the "U.S. Smile Capital." An event called Smile Days is held annually in Pocatello, including a smile contest, and "arrests" of non-smilers.
Pocatello absorbed nearby Alameda in 1962 and briefly became the largest city in the state, ahead of Boise. Pocatello was the second largest city in the state (behind Boise) until the late 1990s, when rapid growth in the Treasure Valley of southwestern Idaho placed Nampa and Meridian ahead of Idaho Falls and Pocatello, which are now the state's fourth and fifth largest cities, respectively.
Government and infrastructure
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 crown jewel is the 123,000-square-foot (11,400 m2) L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center, which occupies a prominent location overlooking Pocatello and the lower Portneuf River Valley. The center's three venues provide state-of-the-art 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.
Feeding the high schools are four public middle schools, thirteen public elementary schools, two public charter schools, and various alternative and church-based private schools and academies.
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According to Pocatello's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Idaho State University||3,460|
|2||Pocatello/Chubbuck School District||1,640|
|3||Portneuf Medical Center||1,170|
|4||City of Pocatello||690|
|9||Union Pacific Railroad||470|
Commercial air service is available via Pocatello Regional Airport.
Pocatello is home to Holt Arena, a multipurpose indoor stadium which 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. It was recently rated as the #1 marathon in Idaho by vacationhomerentals.com. 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 world class skiing and snowboarding.
- Neil L. Andersen, raised in Pocatello, member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
- Don Aslett, entrepreneur
- Comedian and actress Billie Bird (1908–2002), known for films such as Home Alone and Sixteen Candles, was born in Pocatello, where she maintained family ties.
- Greg Byrne, athletic director at University of Arizona
- Danish-born photographer Benedicte Wrensted lived in Pocatello from 1895 to 1912 where she recorded the growth of the town and took many photographs of the Native American inhabitants of the area.
- Gloria Dickson, actress
- John P. Evans, Mayor of Pocatello, Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame 
- Taysom Hill, BYU quarterback
- Merril Hoge, analyst for ESPN, was born in Pocatello and played football at Highland High School and Idaho State University. He spent eight seasons in the NFL as a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears.
- Bryan Johnson, NFL football player for the Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears from 2000 to 2006
- Dirk Koetter, head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Wendy J. Olson, United States Attorney for the District of Idaho
- Charles Benjamin Ross, Mayor of Pocatello and 15th Governor of Idaho
- Bill Salkeld, Major League Baseball catcher
- Richard G. Scott, member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
- Celeste West, librarian and lesbian author, born Pocatello 1942
- Shay Carl, vlogger, one of the original founders of Maker Studios, which was sold to Walt Disney Co. in 2014.
- Jack Williams, Boston news anchor
- The Great Food Truck Race Season 4, Episode 3, "Potatoes in Pocatello". Pocatello, Idaho is the location of episode 3 food truck race challenge. Much of the city is shown, as well as the local foot traffic.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Idaho's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting Accessed March 17, 2011
- "Best Small Places For Business And Careers". Forbes. April 5, 2007.
- Peel, M. C., Finlayson, B. L., and McMahon, T. A.: Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1633–1644, 2007.
- "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- "ID Pocatello RGNL AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- "WMO Climate Normals for Pocatello/Municipal ARPT, ID 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- Pocatello – Ancestry & family history – ePodunk
- Information provided by Sven Liljeblad (1984). "Pocatello's (Shoshoni) Band" (PDF). Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series (Boise, Idaho: Idaho State Historical Society) (818). Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- In 1966, Sven Liljeblad suggested that the name Pocatello was not even a Shoshoni word. "The Name Pocatello" (PDF). Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series (Boise, Idaho: Idaho State Historical Society) (37). May 1966. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- "The U.S. Smile Capital". City of Pocatello. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
- "Static Printable Map of Pocatello & Chubbuck." City of Pocatello. Retrieved on June 4, 2011.
- "Post Office™ Location – POCATELLO." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on June 3, 2011.
- "Post Office™ Location – BANNOCK." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on June 3, 2011.
- "Post Office™ Location – GATEWAY STATION." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on June 3, 2011.
- Sverdlik, Yevgeniy (April 29, 2016). "FBI to Build Data Center in Idaho". Data Center Knowledge. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- City of Pocatello CAFR
- "Benedicte Wrensted: An Idaho Photographer in Focus". Retrieved October 6, 2010.
- Toni Samek, Keller R. Roberto, Moyra Lang, eds. (2010). She Was a Booklegger: Remembering Celeste West. Library Juice Press. p. 81. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
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