Help us transform Idaho. For all that is good about the Gem State, there is plenty that needs improvement, and that must start at the grassroots level. That's why we came together as TransForm Idaho, a diverse, nonpartisan group of people dedicated to helping people make their political opinions count. We do that by providing legislative advocacy training and developing resources to explain how government works. We welcome your interest and your involvement in our effort, and we hope this Web site will help you know us better. Together, we have a lot of work to do. Idaho is a great place to live, but it should be a lot better.
Examples? Idaho schools rank 49th among the 50 states in average per-pupil spending, 42nd in salaries for classroom teachers, and 47th in the number of high school graduates who enroll in college. The College Board, which administers the annual Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), says the 17,306 Idaho students who took the SAT test in April 2013 scored an average of 1,349, virtually unchanged in a year, and well below the 1,550 (out of a possible 2,400) score for students considered college-ready. Our state ranks 44th in college graduation rates, and 40th or worse in attainment of college degrees.
Idaho is 48th among all states in wages and salaries and trails the rest of the country in the rate of wage increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. As recently as 2006, the state’s personal income was 83.4 percent of the U.S. average. In 2012, it was just 79.1 percent of the national average. Idaho is among the bottom 10 states for average personal and household income, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. Idaho's average wage is about 76 percent of the national average, down from a high 80 percent range in the 1960s and 1970s, and our state has the highest proportion of minimum-wage workers.
Idaho’s population is equally divided among men and women, yet women outlive men by an average of 3.5 years, and are thus especially concerned about decisions that affect their qualification and eligibility for Medicaid and related health care and retirement income security in old age. At the same time, Idaho women who work full time earn 78 percent of the income of their male counterparts, near the bottom rank of all states, with the widest disparities in health care jobs. The income imbalance has remained relatively unchanged for years. Idaho is also among states that have not taken advantage of the expansion of Medicaid coverage available to low-income individuals and families under the Affordable Care Act.
Idaho ranks 18th in the nation in the number of families receiving government nutritional assistance and the number is growing faster, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, although the total percentage of families receiving assistance is 14.5 percent -- close to the national average of 14.3 percent.
Idaho ranks dead last in the percentage of women over age 49 who had a mammogram in the past two years (68 percent). Idaho also has the lowest number of practicing physicians per person in the country (17 for every 10,000 people, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The state is last in the number of psychiatric physicians, at five per 100,000 people. Idaho ranks 11th in suicides, at about 20 per 100,000 people. During the worst of the economic crisis, from 2007 through 2009, Idaho suicides increased by 40 percent. The state is also 14th in the rate of adults aged 65 and over who have not received pneumonia vaccinations, even though those vaccinations are covered by Medicare.
The Centers for Disease Control says Idaho is fourth worst in the nation in vaccination rates for kindergarten-age kids for MMR, Pertussis and Chicken Pox. In Idaho, obesity is more prevalent among non-Hispanic Native Americans at 31.7 percent, than Hispanics at 14.2 percent, and non-Hispanic whites at 15.9 percent.