COH Website

Rexburg, Idaho


Since Rexburg’s incorporation in 1883, the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) has played a major role in the town’s development.

Known to residents as “America’s family community,” Rexburg, Idaho, is home to a fast-growing population of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church). The city’s population, which is predominantly white and almost exclusively Mormon, has increased by nearly 50% since 2001. The expansion of LDS Church-owned institutions—such as Brigham Young Univerisity-Idaho, Rexburg’s top employer—is largely responsible for the city’s recent growth.

Due to the health-promoting practices of the LDS Church and Rexburg’s young population, Madison County (where Rexburg is located) was ranked as Idaho’s healthiest county from 2013 to 2015. But Rexburg is not immune to social, economic, and health issues.

  • Overview

    Population and Demographics

    Population: 26,000

    U.S. Census Bureau; photography courtesy Flickr user a4gpa, CC BY-SA 2.0.

  • Context and Actions

    Community Context and Challenges

    • Despite high health and educational attainment, poverty is an issue—nearly half of the city’s population lives at or near the Federal Poverty Level, including nearly one third of Rexburg’s children.
    • Increased alcohol use and a rising suicide rate among teens has raised concerns about domestic violence, mental health, and substance use.
    • Because the tax-exempt LDS Church owns nearly half of local property, Rexburg has limited resources for addressing economic, social, and infrastructure concerns.
    • In keeping with the LDS emphasis on family, many students marry and have children while in school, increasing the financial burden on young households; students often take out loans and depend on federal assistance.
    • Graduates tend to leave Rexburg in search of higher-paying jobs, taking educational resources with them.
    • The pervasive influence of the LDS Church and its strict code of social norms make identifying and addressing some health concerns especially challenging.

    U.S. Census Bureau. (2014). 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.

    Taking Action

    As Rexburg continues its rapid growth, leaders and stakeholders are working across sectors to build a healthier, safer community.

    City officials are finding alternative approaches for financing longstanding economic development and infrastructure concerns. At the same time, a county-wide community coalition is implementing new programs to better support youth and families.

    These baseline reports, created in 2016, track community programs and initiatives in their early stages and measure initial progress only. Future reports will provide more in-depth insights and analysis into this community's efforts to build a Culture of Health.

    Shared Values

    The vast majority (98%) of Rexburg residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). The influence of the church is reflected in a strong sense of community and set of shared values around health promoting practices and civic engagement. Church law prohibits consumption of coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco and encourages commitment to civic engagement, placing high value on helping others through acts of service.

    Madison County Community Coalition

    The Madison County Community Coalition represents over 65 county, civic, public, religious and business organizations and focuses on families and youth. It was created to respond to growing concerns over crime, poverty and drug use. 

    Rexburg Urban Renewal Agency

    The Rexburg Urban Renewal Agency was funded by an alternative public financing mechanism, an impact fee, to pay for infrastructure and physical environment improvements.

    My Madison Cares Program

    Operated out of the Madison School District, My Madison Cares stresses the importance of family and provides mental health services to children and adolescents.

  • Going Forward

    The culture of Rexburg is deeply tied to its relationship with the LDS Church. As the city’s population expands, Rexburg residents are identifying new strategies for economic growth.

    Additional surveillance, data and information gathering, analysis, and reporting will examine how Rexburg responds to lingering concerns, including:

    • What outreach efforts have community coalition members undertaken to reach the youth populations affected by bullying or drug use, and how does LDS affiliation affect willingness to seek or accept help?
    • What is the impact of community initiatives on crime, poverty, mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse?
    • How will Rexburg continue to address poverty among a substantial portion of its population, especially in providing resources for its large student population?
    • How will Rexburg adjust to its growing population?
    • How will the LDS Church continue to shape the social and economic environment of Rexburg?
  • Downloads

    Community Snapshot Report

    Community Portrait Report

    Community Landscape Report