Apr 26, 2021 - News

Iowa retains House seats in new census count

Iowa population over time
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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