The five Iowa counties with the highest percentage growth of non-white populations over the last decade were all outside central Iowa, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Why it matters: Many of these counties are home to small and mid-sized towns that have relied on immigrants to buy homes, fill jobs and raise families to keep them thriving.
Iowa counties with highest overall growth between 2010-20:
- Buena Vista, 13 percentage point increase — 45% non-white population, as of 2020
- Wright, 11 percentage point increase — 22% non-white
- Wapello, 10 percentage point increase — 23% non-white
- Marshall, 10 percentage point increase — 32% non-white
- Woodbury, 9 percentage point increase — 32% non-white
What they're saying: "If you look at Iowa and you look at the Midwest, many communities this size and smaller have vacant homes, vacant businesses. They're consolidating school districts. That's not the case in this community," said Storm Lake Police chief Mark Prosser in a 2018 interview with National Geographic. (Storm Lake resides in Buena Vista County — the most diverse community in Iowa.)
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