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As the 43rd state, Idaho was admitted into the Union on July 3, 1890. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho is a mostly mountainous state, and is the 14th largest state by land area, with an area larger than all of New England. In recent years, Idaho has expanded its commercial base as a tourism and agricultural state to include science and technology industries. Science and technology have become the largest single economic center (over 25% of the state's total revenue) within the state and are greater than agriculture, forestry and mining combined.

Idaho's nickname is the Potato State and the Gem State, because nearly every known gemstone has been found there.[2] In addition, Idaho is one of only two places in the world where star garnets can be found (the other is the Himalaya Mountains, in Pakistan and India), and is the only place six-pointed star garnets have been found. The state motto is Esto Perpetua (Latin for "Let it be forever").

According to the United States Census 2010, Idaho had a population of 1,567,582. Since 1990, Idaho's population has increased by 386,000.

Climate in Idaho can be hot, although extended periods over 100 degrees for the maximum temperature are rare, except for the lowest point in elevation, Lewiston, which correspondingly sees very little snow. Hot summer days are tempered by the low relative humidity and cooler evenings during summer months since, for most of the state, the highest diurnal difference in temperature is often in the summer. Winters can be cold, although extended periods of bitter cold weather below zero are unusual. This is what led the railroad tycoon Harriman family to develop the most famous ski resort, Sun Valley. Idaho's all time highest temperature of 118 degrees was recorded at Island Park Dam on January 18, 1943.

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