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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Iowa's population has remained mostly steady since the 2010 census count, growing by 4.6% to 3.2 million people in 2020.

  • Why it matters: Census data is used to determine everything from congressional seats to federal funding. It also points to longterm population trends and the economic health of a state.

Driving the news: The U.S. Census Bureau released its 2020 state population data on Monday, revealing population shifts across the country. Iowa retained its four House seats based on the numbers.

State of play: One factor that's kept Iowa's population stable is its growing diversity, said Charles Connerly, professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Iowa.

  • Iowa's rural communities have been thinning for decades, but he suspects an influx of immigrants and refugees have stopped the bleed and encouraged new growth in towns.
  • One town he points to is Columbus Junction, a historically white, rural community that's had an influx of Latino, Hispanic and Burmese refugees and immigrants who've moved there to work at the meatpacking plant.

The big picture: Iowa was 99% white in 2000, but by 2016 it shifted to 86%. Connerly suspects that number will be even lower when more detailed 2020 data comes out.

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Go deeper

Latino vaccination rates are low in Colorado despite equity efforts

Expand chart
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The disparities in vaccine rates continues to vex Colorado officials, representing one of the most significant setbacks in the battle against COVID-19.

Why it matters: Addressing the disparities is key to the state hitting its 75% vaccination rate goal by summer to reach herd immunity.

State of play: Hispanic residents represent 21.7% of the state's population but only 8.6% of the people with at least one vaccine dose, state data shows.

  • In Denver, the problem is more pronounced: Latinos are 30% of the city's population but only 13% have received the first dose, Denverite reports.

What's happening: The reasons for lower vaccination rates among Latinos is multifaceted, state leaders explained.

  • The state's priority list put older residents at the top and only 10% of the Latino population is over age 70.
  • Latino workers tend to work hourly jobs that make getting to a vaccine clinic more difficult.
  • In addition, many Latino residents face technological and language barriers.

What they're saying: "We are clearly aware we are falling behind in our Hispanic communities," said Brandy Emily, the state's deputy director for immunizations. "We know that we have an uphill road ... but we're committed to doing the work."

The other side: Rudy Gonzales, the executive director at Servicios de La Raza, suggested government officials are not the ones best equipped to lead outreach to Latinos, who tend to have more distrust of government.

  • Instead he wants the state to allocate resources in a way that would allow community leaders to run point.

What's next: To improve vaccine equity and make the process more accessible, state officials are retooling their efforts in partnership with community organizations.

  • A mobile clinic is traveling to reach people at job sites and grocery stores.
  • Plus: The state is rolling out a new messaging campaign in Spanish and other languages.
Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Apr 26, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Iowa isn't sure if bottle deposits went unclaimed during the pandemic

Photo: Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

With the record amount of beverages consumed last year, there's no doubt people across Iowa accumulated a lot of recycling.

The state of play: The ability to easily return said recycling for its 5-cent deposit was dampened due to the state's emergency pandemic proclamation, but the Iowa Department of Natural Resources isn't really sure how many deposits went unclaimed in 2020.

Biden: Consequences for Russia would be "devastating" if Navalny dies

Biden after the US-Russia summit in Geneva on June 16. Photo: Brendan Smialowski AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin during Wednesday's summit that if jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in prison, the consequences "would be devastating for Russia."

Why it matters: Although the White House had previously warned the Russian government over Navalny's imprisonment, Biden personally delivered the message to Putin on Wednesday.