In the latter half of the 20th century, Iowa's agricultural economy made the transition to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, information technology
, and green energy
Iowa is the 26th most extensive
in total area and the 31st most populous
of the 50 U.S. states
with a population of 3,190,369
according to the 2020 census
. The state's capital
, most populous city
, and largest metropolitan area
fully located within the state is Des Moines
. A portion of the larger Omaha, Nebraska, metropolitan area
extends into three counties of southwest Iowa.
Iowa has been listed as one of the safest U.S. states to live in.
Iowa derives its name from the Ioway
people, one of the many Native American
nations whose territory comprised the future state at the time of European colonization.
Topography of Iowa, with counties and major streams
Iowa is the only state whose east and west borders are formed almost entirely by rivers.Carter Lake, Iowa
, is the only city in the state located west of the Missouri River.
Geology and terrain
Iowa's bedrock geology generally decreases in age from east to west. In northwest Iowa, Cretaceous
bedrock can be 74 million years old; in eastern Iowa Cambrian
bedrock dates to c. 500 million years ago.
Several natural lakes exist, most notably Spirit Lake
, West Okoboji Lake
, and East Okoboji Lake
in northwest Iowa (see Iowa Great Lakes
). To the east lies Clear Lake
. Man-made lakes include Lake Odessa, Saylorville Lake
, Lake Red Rock
, Coralville Lake
, Lake MacBride, and Rathbun Lake. Before European settlement, 4 to 6 million acres of the state was covered with wetlands, about 95% of these wetlands have been drained.
Ecology and environment
Landforms of Iowa, based on Prior (1991)
Iowa's natural vegetation is tallgrass prairie
in upland areas, with dense forest and wetlands in flood plains and protected river valleys, and pothole wetlands in northern prairie areas.
Most of Iowa is used for agriculture; crops cover 60% of the state, grasslands (mostly pasture and hay with some prairie and wetland) cover 30%, and forests cover 7%; urban areas and water cover another 1% each.
There is a dearth of natural areas in Iowa; less than 1% of the tallgrass prairie that once covered most of Iowa remains intact; only about 5% of the state's prairie pothole wetlands remain, and most of the original forest has been lost.
As of 2005 Iowa ranked 49th of U.S. states in public land holdings.
Threatened or endangered animals in Iowa include the interior least tern
, piping plover
, Indiana bat
, pallid sturgeon
, the Iowa Pleistocene land snail
, Higgins' eye pearly mussel
, and the Topeka shiner
Endangered or threatened plants include western prairie fringed orchid
, eastern prairie fringed orchid
, Mead's milkweed
, prairie bush clover
, and northern wild monkshood
The explosion in the number of high-density livestock facilities in Iowa has led to increased rural water contamination and a decline in air quality.
Other factors negatively affecting Iowa's environment include the extensive use of older coal-fired power plants,
fertilizer and pesticide runoff from crop production,
and diminishment of the Jordan Aquifer
Köppen climate types in Iowa
Iowa annual rainfall, in inches
Spring ushers in the beginning of the severe weather
season. Iowa averages about 50 days of thunderstorm
activity per year.
The 30-year annual average Tornadoes in Iowa is 47.
, twelve people were killed by tornadoes in Iowa, making it the deadliest year since 1968
and also the second most tornadoes in a year with 105, matching the total from 2001.
Iowa summers are known for heat and humidity, with daytime temperatures sometimes near 90 °F (32 °C) and occasionally exceeding 100 °F (38 °C). Average winters in the state have been known to drop well below freezing, even dropping below −18 °F (−28 °C). Iowa's all-time hottest temperature of 118 °F (48 °C) was recorded at Keokuk on July 20, 1934, during a nationwide heat wave;
the all-time lowest temperature of −47 °F (−44 °C) was recorded in Washta
on January 12, 1912.
Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various Iowa cities (°F)
Iowa has a relatively smooth gradient of varying precipitation
across the state, with areas in the southeast of the state receiving an average of over 38 inches (97 cm) of rain annually, and the northwest of the state receiving less than 28 inches (71 cm).
The pattern of precipitation across Iowa is seasonal, with more rain falling in the summer months. Virtually statewide, the driest month is January or February, and the wettest month is June, owing to frequent showers and thunderstorms, some of which produce hail, damaging winds and/or tornadoes. In Des Moines, roughly in the center of the state, over two-thirds of the 34.72 inches (88.2 cm) of rain falls from April through September, and about half the average annual precipitation falls from May through August, peaking in June.
When American Indians
first arrived in what is now Iowa more than 13,000 years ago, they were hunters and gatherers living in a Pleistocene
glacial landscape. By the time European explorers and traders visited Iowa, American Indians were largely settled farmers with complex economic, social, and political systems. This transformation happened gradually. During the Archaic period
(10,500 to 2,800 years ago), American Indians adapted to local environments and ecosystems, slowly becoming more sedentary as populations increased.
More than 3,000 years ago, during the Late Archaic period, American Indians in Iowa began utilizing domesticated plants. The subsequent Woodland period
saw an increased reliance on agriculture and social complexity, with increased use of mounds, ceramics, and specialized subsistence. During the Late Prehistoric period (beginning about AD 900) increased use of maize and social changes led to social flourishing and nucleated settlements.
The arrival of European trade goods and diseases in the Protohistoric period led to dramatic population shifts and economic and social upheaval, with the arrival of new tribes and early European explorers and traders. There were numerous Indian tribes living in Iowa at the time of early European exploration. Tribes which were probably descendants of the prehistoric Oneota
include the Dakota
, and Otoe
. Tribes which arrived in Iowa in the late prehistoric or protohistoric periods include the Illiniwek
, and Sauk
Early colonization, exploitation and trade, 1673–1808
Iowa in 1718 with the modern state area highlighted
The first known European explorers to document Iowa were Jacques Marquette
and Louis Jolliet
who traveled the Mississippi River
in 1673 documenting several Indigenous villages on the Iowa side.
The area of Iowa was claimed for France and remained a French territory until 1763. The French, before their impending defeat in the French and Indian War
, transferred ownership to their ally, Spain.
Spain practiced very loose control over the Iowa region, granting trading licenses to French and British traders, who established trading posts along the Mississippi and Des Moines Rivers
After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase
, Congress divided the Louisiana Purchase into two parts—the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana, with present-day Iowa falling in the latter. The Indiana Territory
was created in 1800 to exercise jurisdiction over this portion of the District; William Henry Harrison
was its first governor. Much of Iowa was mapped by Zebulon Pike
but it was not until the construction of Fort Madison
in 1808 that the U.S. established tenuous military control over the region.
War of 1812 and unstable U.S. control
was built to control trade and establish U.S. dominance over the Upper Mississippi, but it was poorly designed and disliked by the Sauk and Fox, many of whom allied with the British, who had not abandoned claims to the territory.
Fort Madison was defeated by British-supported Indigenous people in 1813 during the War of 1812
, and Fort Shelby
in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
, also fell to the British. Black Hawk
took part in the siege of Fort Madison.
Another small military outpost was established along the Mississippi River in present-day Bellevue
. This poorly situated stockade was similarly attacked by hundreds of Indigenous people in 1813, but was successfully defended and later abandoned until settlers returned to the area in the mid-1830s.
Indian removal, 1814–1832
A map of Iowa Indian Territory Accessions
The Sauk and Meskwaki sold their land in the Mississippi Valley
during 1832 in the Black Hawk Purchase
and sold their remaining land in Iowa in 1842, most of them moving to a reservation in Kansas.
Many Meskwaki later returned to Iowa and settled near Tama, Iowa
; the Meskwaki Settlement
remains to this day. In 1856 the Iowa Legislature passed an unprecedented act allowing the Meskawki to purchase the land.
However, in contrast to the unprecidented act of the Iowa Legislature, the United States Federal Government, through the use of Treaties, forced the Ho-Chunk
from Iowa in 1848,
and forced the Dakota
from Iowa by 1858.
Western Iowa around modern Council Bluffs
was used as an Indian Reservation for members of the Council of Three Fires
U.S. settlement and statehood, 1832–1860
The first American settlers officially moved to Iowa in June 1833.
Primarily, they were families from Ohio
, New York
, and Virginia
who settled along the western banks of the Mississippi River
, founding the modern day cities of Dubuque
On July 4, 1838, the U.S. Congress
established the Territory of Iowa
. President Martin Van Buren
appointed Robert Lucas
governor of the territory, which at the time had 22 counties and a population of 23,242.
Almost immediately after achieving territorial status, a clamor arose for statehood. On December 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state in the Union when President James K. Polk
signed Iowa's admission bill into law. Once admitted to the Union, the state's boundary issues resolved, and most of its land purchased from Natives, Iowa set its direction to development and organized campaigns for settlers and investors, boasting the young frontier state's rich farmlands, fine citizens, free and open society, and good government.
Iowa has a long tradition of state and county fairs. The first and second Iowa State Fairs
were held in the more developed eastern part of the state at Fairfield
. The first fair was held October 25–27, 1854, at a cost of around $323. Thereafter, the fair moved to locations closer to the center of the state and in 1886 found a permanent home in Des Moines. The State Fair has been held annually since then, except for a few exceptions: 1898 due to the Spanish–American War
and the World's Fair
being held in nearby Omaha, Nebraska
; from 1942 to 1945, due to World War II
, as the fairgrounds were being used as an army supply depot; and in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States
Iowa supported the Union during the Civil War
, voting heavily for Abraham Lincoln
, though there was an antiwar "Copperhead
" movement in the state, caused partially by a drop in crop prices caused by the war.
There were no battles in the state, although the Battle of Athens
, Missouri, 1861, was fought just across the Des Moines River from Croton, Iowa
, and shots from the battle landed in Iowa. Iowa sent large supplies of food to the armies and the eastern cities.
Much of Iowa's support for the Union can be attributed to Samuel J. Kirkwood
, its first wartime governor. Of a total population of 675,000, about 116,000 men were subjected to military duty. Iowa contributed proportionately more men to Civil War military service than did any other state, north or south, sending more than 75,000 volunteers to the armed forces, over one-sixth of whom were killed before the Confederates
surrendered at Appomattox
Most fought in the great campaigns in the Mississippi Valley
and in the South
Iowa troops fought at Wilson's Creek in Missouri
, Pea Ridge
, Forts Henry and Donelson, Shiloh, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Rossville Gap as well as Vicksburg, Iuka, and Corinth. They served with the Army of the Potomac in Virginia
and fought under Union General Philip Sheridan
in the Shenandoah Valley
. Many died and were buried at Andersonville. They marched on General Nathaniel Banks
' ill-starred expedition to the Red River. Twenty-seven Iowans
have been awarded the Medal of Honor
, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government, which was first awarded in the Civil War.
Agricultural expansion, 1865–1930
Iowa farm, 1875
Following the Civil War, Iowa's population continued to grow dramatically, from 674,913 people in 1860
to 1,624,615 in 1880.
The American Civil War briefly brought higher profits.
In 1917, the United States entered World War I and farmers as well as all Iowans experienced a wartime economy. For farmers, the change was significant. Since the beginning of the war in 1914, Iowa farmers had experienced economic prosperity, which lasted until the end of the war.
In the economic sector, Iowa also has undergone considerable change. Beginning with the first industries developed in the 1830s,
which were mainly for processing materials grown in the area,
Iowa has experienced a gradual increase in the number of business and manufacturing operations.
Depression, World War II and manufacturing, 1930–1985
The transition from an agricultural economy to a mixed economy happened slowly. The Great Depression
and World War II accelerated the shift away from smallholder
farming to larger farms, and began a trend of urbanization. The period after World War II witnessed a particular increase in manufacturing operations.
In 1975, Governor Robert D. Ray petitioned President Ford to allow Iowa to accept and resettle Tai Dam
refugees fleeing the Indochina War.
An exception was required for this resettlement as State Dept policy at the time forbid resettlement of large groups of refugees in concentrated communities; an exception was ultimately granted and 1200 Tai Dam were resettled in Iowa. Since then Iowa has accepted thousands of refugees from Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Bhutan, and Burma. 
The farm crisis
of the 1980s caused a major recession in Iowa, causing poverty not seen since the Depression.
The crisis spurred a major, decade-long population decline.
Reemergence as a mixed economy, 1985–present
After bottoming out in the 1980s, Iowa's economy began to reduce its dependence on agriculture. By the early 21st century, it was characterized by a mix of manufacturing, biotechnology, finance and insurance services, and government services.
The population of Iowa has increased at a faster rate than the U.S. as a whole,
and Iowa now has a predominantly urban population.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority, created in 2011 has replaced the Iowa Department of Economic Development and its annual reports are a source of economic information.
Of the residents of Iowa, 70.8% were born in Iowa, 23.6% were born in a different U.S. state, 0.6% were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parent(s), and 5% were foreign born.
from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 29,386 people, while migration within the country produced a net loss of 41,140 people. 6.5% of Iowa's population were reported as under the age of five, 22.6% under 18, and 14.7% were 65 or older. Males made up approximately 49.6% of the population.
Iowa has banned sanctuary cities
The population density of the state is 52.7 people per square mile.
As of the 2010 Census
, the center of population
of Iowa is in Marshall County
, near Melbourne
As of the 2010 Census, the population of Iowa was 3,046,355. The gender makeup of the state was 49.5% male and 50.5% female. 23.9% of the population were under the age of 18; 61.2% were between the ages of 18 and 64; and 14.9% were 65 years of age or older.
The table below shows the racial composition of Iowa's population as of 2019.
Iowa racial composition of population
Iowa historical racial composition
Iowa population density map
Percent population changes by counties in Iowa, 2000–2009. Dark green counties have gains of more than 5%.
Iowa's population is more urban than rural, with 61 percent living in urban areas in 2000, a trend that began in the early 20th century.
Urban counties in Iowa grew 8.5% from 2000 to 2008, while rural counties declined by 4.2%.
The shift from rural to urban has caused population increases in more urbanized counties such as Dallas
, and Scott
, at the expense of more rural counties.
Another demographic problem for Iowa is the brain drain
, in which educated young adults leave the state in search of better prospects in higher education or employment. During the 1990s, Iowa had the second highest exodus rate for single, educated young adults, second only to North Dakota.
Note: Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.
Live Births by Single Race/Ethnicity of Mother
Since 2016, data for births of White Hispanic
origin are not collected, but included in one Hispanic
group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
A 2014 survey by Pew Research Center
found 60% of Iowans are Protestant
, while 18% are Catholic
, and 1% are of non-Christian religions. 21% responded with non-religious, and 1% did not answer.
A survey from the Association of Religion Data Archives
(ARDA) in 2010 found that the largest Protestant denominations were the United Methodist Church
with 235,190 adherents and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
with 229,557. The largest non-Protestant religion was Catholicism
with 503,080 adherents. The state has a great number of Reformed denominations. The Presbyterian Church (USA)
had almost 290 congregations and 51,380 members followed by the Reformed Church in America
with 80 churches and 40,000 members, and the United Church of Christ
had 180 churches and 39,000 members.
As of 2016 about 6,000 Jews live in Iowa, with about 3,000 of them in Des Moines.
English is the most common language in Iowa, being the sole language spoken by 91.1% of the population. William Labov
and colleagues, in the monumental Atlas of North American English
found the English spoken in Iowa divides into multiple linguistic regions. Natives of northern Iowa—including Sioux City
, Fort Dodge
, and the Waterloo
region—tend to speak the dialect linguists call North Central American English
, which is also found in North
and South Dakota
, and Michigan
. Natives of central and southern Iowa—including such cities as Council Bluffs
, Des Moines, and Iowa City
—tend to speak the North Midland
dialect also found in eastern Nebraska, central Illinois, and central Indiana.
Natives of East-Central Iowa—including cities such as Cedar Rapids
, and Clinton
tend to speak with the Northern Cities Vowel Shift
, a dialect that extends from this area and east across the Great Lakes Region
After English, Spanish is the second-most-common language spoken in Iowa, with 120,000 people in Iowa of Hispanic or Latino origin and 47,000 people born in Latin America.
The third-most-common language is German, spoken by 17,000 people in Iowa; two notable German dialects used in Iowa include Amana German
spoken around the Amana Colonies
, and Pennsylvania German
, spoken among the Amish
in Iowa. The Babel Proclamation
of 1918 banned the speaking of German in public. Around Pella
, residents of Dutch descent once spoke the Pella Dutch dialect
Des Moines is the largest city and metropolitan area[a]
in Iowa and the state's political and economic center. It is home to the Iowa State Capitol
, the State Historical Society of Iowa
Museum, Drake University
, Des Moines Art Center
, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
, Principal Riverwalk
, the Iowa State Fair
, Terrace Hill
, and the World Food Prize
. Nearby attractions include Adventureland
and Prairie Meadows Racetrack
Casino in Altoona
, Living History Farms
, Trainland USA in Colfax
, and the Iowa Speedway
and Valle Drive-In in Newton
Skyline of Des Moines, Iowa's capital and largest city
Along Interstate 80 near Walcott
lies the world's largest truck stop, Iowa 80
Some of the most dramatic scenery in Iowa is found in the unique Loess Hills
which are found along Iowa's western border.
is the largest city in western Iowa and is found on the convergence of the Missouri
, and Big Sioux
Rivers. The Sioux City Metropolitan Area
encompasses areas in three states: Iowa, Nebraska
, and South Dakota
. Sioux City boasts a revitalized downtown and includes attractions such as the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
, Sergeant Floyd Monument
, Sergeant Floyd
River Museum, the Tyson Events Center
, Southern Hills Mall
, the Orpheum Theater
, and more. The historic downtown area is also filled with multiple restaurants, bars, and other entertainment venues. Sioux City is home to two higher education institutions, Morningside College
and Briar Cliff University
. Le Mars
is in the northeastern part of the Sioux City Metropolitan Area
and is the self-proclaimed "Ice Cream Capital of the World". Le Mars is home to Wells Enterprises
, one of the largest ice cream manufacturers in the world. Attractions in Le Mars include the Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor, Archie's Waeside (steak house), Bob's Drive Inn, Tonsfeldt Round Barn
, Plymouth County Fairgrounds, Plymouth County Museum, and Plymouth County Courthouse
. Le Mars hosts multiple ice cream themed community events each year.
The Iowa Great Lakes
is made up of multiple small towns, such as Spirit Lake
, Arnolds Park
, and Okoboji
. Multiple resorts and other tourist attractions are found in and around these towns surrounding the popular lakes. Arnolds Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country, is located on Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park
Every year in early May, the city of Orange City
holds the annual Tulip Festival, a celebration of the strong Dutch heritage in the region.
Northwest Iowa is home to some of the largest concentrations of wind turbine
farms in the world. Other western communities with vibrant historic downtown areas include Storm Lake
, Red Oak
, Mount Ayr
, Sac City
, and Walnut
Northeast and Northern Iowa
is home of The Fort historical museum and the Blanden Art Museum, and host Frontiers Days which celebrate the town history.
, the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, attracts thousands of bicyclists and support personnel. It has crossed the state on various routes each year since 1973. Iowa is home to more than 70 wineries,
and hosts five regional wine tasting trails.
Many Iowa communities hold farmers' markets during warmer months; these are typically weekly events, but larger cities can host multiple markets.
Total employment 2016
Total employer establishments
CNBC's list of "Top States for Business in 2010" has recognized Iowa as the sixth best state in the nation. Scored in 10 individual categories, Iowa was ranked 1st when it came to the "Cost of Doing Business"; this includes all taxes, utility costs, and other costs associated with doing business. Iowa was also ranked 10th in "Economy", 12th in "Business Friendliness", 16th in "Education", 17th in both "Cost of Living" and "Quality of Life", 20th in "Workforce", 29th in "Technology and Innovation", 32nd in "Transportation" and the lowest ranking was 36th in "Access to Capital".
While Iowa is often viewed as a farming state, agriculture is a relatively small portion of the state's diversified economy, with manufacturing, biotechnology, finance and insurance services, and government services contributing substantially to Iowa's economy.
This economic diversity has helped Iowa weather the late 2000s recession
better than most states, with unemployment substantially lower than the rest of the nation.
If the economy is measured by gross domestic product, in 2005 Iowa's GDP was about $124 billion.
If measured by gross state product, for 2005 it was $113.5 billion.
Its per capita income for 2006 was $23,340.
On July 2, 2009, Standard & Poor's
rated the state of Iowa's credit as AAA (the highest of its credit ratings, held by only 11 U.S. state governments).
As of December 2015, the state's unemployment rate is 3.4%.
Manufacturing is the largest sector of Iowa's economy, with $20.8 billion (21%) of Iowa's 2003 gross state product. Major manufacturing sectors include food processing, heavy machinery, and agricultural chemicals. Sixteen percent of Iowa's workforce is dedicated to manufacturing.
Food processing is the largest component of manufacturing. Besides processed food, industrial outputs include machinery, electric equipment, chemical products, publishing, and primary metals. Companies with direct or indirect processing facilities in Iowa include ConAgra Foods
, Wells Blue Bunny
, Tone's Spices, General Mills
, and Quaker Oats
. Meatpacker Tyson Foods
has 11 locations, second only to its headquarter state Arkansas.
Major non-food manufacturing firms with production facilities in Iowa include 3M
, Amana Corporation
, Emerson Electric
, The HON Company
, Lennox Manufacturing
, Pella Corporation
, Procter & Gamble
, Vermeer Company
and Winnebago Industries
Farm in rural Northwest Iowa
Central Iowa cornfield and dairy in June
Though industrial-scale, commodity agriculture predominates in much of the state, Iowa has seen growth in the organic farming
sector. Iowa ranks fifth in the nation in total number of organic farms. In 2016, there were approximately 732 organic farms in the state, an increase of about 5% from the previous year, and 103,136 organic acres, an increase of 9,429 from the previous year.
Iowa has also seen an increase in demand for local, sustainably-grown food. Northeast Iowa, part of the Driftless Area
, has led the state in development of its regional food system and grows and consumes more local food than any other region in Iowa.
Iowa's Driftless Region is also home to the nationally recognized Seed Savers Exchange
, a non-profit seed bank
housed at an 890-acre heritage farm near Decorah
, in the northeast corner of the state.
The largest nongovernmental seed bank of its kind in the United States, Seed Savers Exchange safeguards more than 20,000 varieties of rare, heirloom seeds.
As of 2007, the direct production and sale of conventional agricultural commodities contributed only about 3.5% of Iowa's gross state product.
In 2002 the impact of the indirect role of agriculture in Iowa's economy, including agriculture-affiliated business, was calculated at 16.4% in terms of value added and 24.3% in terms of total output. This was lower than the economic impact of non-farm manufacturing, which accounted for 22.4% of total value added and 26.5% of total output.
Iowa's main conventional agricultural commodities are hogs
, cattle, eggs, and dairy products. Iowa is the nation's largest producer of ethanol
and some years is the largest grower of soybeans. In 2008, the 92,600 farms in Iowa produced 19% of the nation's corn, 17% of the soybeans, 30% of the hogs, and 14% of the eggs.
Mural in Mt. Ayr
Post Office, "The Corn Parade" by Orr C. Fischer, commissioned as part of the New Deal
The Iowa Insurance Division "Annual report to the Iowa Governor and the Iowa Legislature" from November 2014 looked at the 95% of health insurers by premium, which are 10 companies. It found Wellmark Inc. to dominate the three health insurance markets it examined (individual, small group and large group) at 52–67%.:2
Wellmark HealthPlan of Iowa and Wellmark Inc had the highest risk-based capital percentages of all 10 providers at 1158% and 1132%, respectively.:31
Rising RBC is an indication of profits.:31
Iowa has a strong financial and insurance sector, with approximately 6,100 firms,
, Nationwide Group
, Aviva USA
, Farm Bureau Financial Services
, Voya Financial
, Marsh Affinity Group
, Principal Financial Group
, Principal Capital Management
, Wells Fargo
, and University of Iowa Community Credit Union.
production consumes about a third of Iowa's corn production, and renewable fuels account for eight percent of the state's gross domestic product. A total of 39 ethanol plants produced 3.1 billion US gallons (12,000,000 m3
) of fuel in 2009.
Renewable energy has become a major economic force in northern and western Iowa, with wind turbine
electrical generation increasing exponentially since 1990.
In 2019, wind power in Iowa
accounted for 42% of electrical energy produced, and 10,201 megawatts of generating capacity had been installed at the end of the year.
Iowa ranked first of U.S. states in percentage of total power generated by wind and second in wind generating capacity behind Texas.
Major producers of turbines and components in Iowa include Acciona Energy
of West Branch
, TPI Composites of Newton
, and Siemens
Energy of Fort Madison
In 2016, Iowa was the headquarters for three of the top 2,000 companies for revenue.
They include Principal Financial
, Rockwell Collins
, and American Equity Investment
Iowa is also headquarters to other companies including Hy-Vee
, Pella Corporation
, Vermeer Company
, Kum & Go
gas stations, Von Maur
, Pioneer Hi-Bred
, and Fareway
Iowa imposes taxes on net state income of individuals, estates, and trusts. There are nine income tax
brackets, ranging from 0.36% to 8.98%, as well as four corporate income tax brackets ranging from 6% to 12%, giving Iowa the country's highest marginal corporate tax rate.
The state sales tax
rate is 6%, with non-prepared food having no tax.
Iowa has one local option sales tax that may be imposed by counties after an election.
Property tax is levied on the taxable value of real property. Iowa has more than 2,000 taxing authorities. Most property is taxed by more than one taxing authority. The tax rate differs in each locality and is a composite of county, city or rural township, school district
and special levies. Iowa allows its residents to deduct their federal income taxes
from their state income taxes.
Iowa's major interstates, larger cities, and counties
Airports with scheduled flights
Iowa is served by several regional airports including the Des Moines International Airport
, the Eastern Iowa Airport
, in Cedar Rapids, Quad City International Airport
, in Moline, Illinois
, and Eppley Airfield
, in Omaha, Nebraska
. Smaller airports in the state include the Davenport Municipal Airport (Iowa)
, Dubuque Regional Airport
, Fort Dodge Regional Airport
, Mason City Municipal Airport
, Sioux Gateway Airport
, Southeast Iowa Regional Airport
, and Waterloo Regional Airport
Law and government
The Code of Iowa
contains Iowa's statutory laws
. It is periodically updated by the Iowa Legislative Service Bureau, with a new edition published in odd-numbered years and a supplement published in even-numbered years.
The two U.S. Senators:
The four U.S. Representatives:
Samuel J. Kirkwood
, founder of the Iowa Republican Party, abolitionist, and Iowa's Civil War Governor
Presidential election results
As a result of the 2010 elections, each party controlled one house of the Iowa General Assembly
: the House had a Republican majority, while the Senate had a Democratic majority. As a result of the 2016 elections, Republicans gained control of the Senate. Incumbent Democratic governor Chet Culver
was defeated in 2010 by Republican Terry Branstad
, who had served as governor from 1983 to 1999. On December 14, 2015, Branstad became the longest serving governor in U.S. history, serving (at that time) 20 years, 11 months, and 3 days; eclipsing George Clinton
, who served 21 years until 1804.
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds succeeded him on May 24, 2017, following Branstad's appointment as U.S. Ambassador to China.
As of February 1, 2016, there were 2,095,639 registered voters. 635,687 or 30.3% were Democrats, 800,629 or 38.2% of voters were not registered in a party, 651,039 or 31.1% were Republicans, and 8,284 or 0.004% were registered with another party.
The state gets considerable attention every four years because the Iowa caucus
, gatherings of voters to select delegates to the state conventions, is the first presidential caucus in the country. The caucuses, held in January or February of the election year, involve people gathering in homes or public places and choosing their candidates, rather than casting secret ballots as is done in a presidential primary
Along with the New Hampshire primary
the following week, Iowa's caucuses have become the starting points for choosing the two major-party candidates for president.
The national and international media give Iowa and New Hampshire extensive attention, which gives Iowa voters leverage.
In 2007 presidential campaign spending was the seventh highest in the country.
In the 19th century Iowa was among the earliest states to enact prohibitions against race discrimination, especially in education, but was slow to achieve full integration in the 20th century. In the first decision of the Iowa Supreme Court
—In Re the Matter of Ralph
decided July 1839—the Court rejected slavery in a decision that found a slave named Ralph became free when he stepped on Iowa soil, 26 years before the end of the Civil War.
The state did away with racial barriers to marriage in 1851, more than 100 years before the U.S. Supreme Court would ban miscegenation statutes
The Iowa Supreme Court decided Clark v. The board of directors
in 1868, ruling that racially segregated "separate but equal" schools had no place in Iowa, 85 years before Brown v. Board of Education
By 1875, a number of additional court rulings effectively ended segregation in Iowa schools.
Social and housing discrimination continued against Blacks at state universities until the 1950s.
The Court heard Coger v. The North Western Union Packet Co.
in 1873, ruling against racial discrimination in public accommodations 91 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.
In 1884, the Iowa Civil Rights Act apparently outlawed discrimination by businesses, reading: "All persons within this state shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, restaurants, chophouses, eating houses, lunch counters, and all other places where refreshments are served, public conveyances, barber shops, bathhouses, theaters, and all other places of amusement." However, the courts chose to narrowly apply this act, allowing de facto discrimination to continue.
Racial discrimination at public businesses was not deemed illegal until 1949, when the court ruled in State of Iowa v. Katz
that businesses had to serve customers regardless of race; the case began when Edna Griffin
was denied service at a Des Moines drugstore.
Full racial civil rights were codified under the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965.
As with racial equality, Iowa was a vanguard in women's rights in the mid-19th century, but did not allow women the right to vote until the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
was ratified in 1920, Iowa legislature being one of the ratifying votes.
In 1847, the University of Iowa
became the first public university in the U.S. to admit men and women on an equal basis.
In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law, with the Court ruling women may not be denied the right to practice law in Iowa and admitting Arabella A. Mansfield
to the practice of law.
Several attempts to grant full voting rights to Iowa women were defeated between 1870 and 1919. In 1894 women were given "partial suffrage", which allowed them to vote on issues, but not for candidates. It was not until the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment that women had full suffrage in Iowa.
Although Iowa supported the Federal Equal Rights Amendment
, in 1980 and 1992 Iowa voters rejected an Equal Rights Amendment to the state constitution.
Iowa added the word "women" to the Iowa Constitution in 1998. After the amendment, it reads: "All men and women are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights—among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness."
In May 2018 Iowa signed into law one of the country's most restrictive abortion bans: the requirement that a doctor cannot perform an abortion if they can detect a fetal heartbeat, which in many cases would restrict abortions pregnancies less than six weeks old.
It was struck down in January 2019, when an Iowa state judge ruled that the "fetal heartbeat" law was unconstitutional.
The state's law criminalizing same-sex sexual activity was repealed in June 1976, 27 years before Lawrence v. Texas
. In 2007, the Iowa Legislature added "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the protected classes listed in the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
Iowa has ten official partner jurisdictions:
Primary and secondary schools
Iowa was one of the leading states in the high school movement
, and continues to be among the top educational performers today.
The four-year graduation rate for high schoolers was 91.3% in 2017.
Iowa's schools are credited with the highest graduation rate in the nation as of 2019.
Iowa has 333 school districts,
1,329 school buildings and has the 14th lowest student-to-teacher ratio of 14.2.
Teacher pay is ranked 22nd, with the average salary being $55,647.
As of 2015 transportation spending is a significant part of the budgets of rural school districts as many are geographically large and must transport students across vast distances. This reduces the amount of money spent on other aspects of the districts.
Colleges and universities
The Iowa Board of Regents
is composed of nine citizen volunteers appointed by the governor to provide policymaking, coordination, and oversight of the state's three public universities, two special K–12 schools, and affiliated centers.
Schaeffer Hall (University of Iowa, Iowa City)
This section needs expansion
. You can help by adding to it
. (February 2020)
The following table shows the Iowa sports teams with average attendance over 8,000. All the following teams are NCAA Division I football, basketball, or wrestling teams:
Iowa sports teams (attendance > 8,000)
Iowa is a hotbed of wrestling in the United States. Iowa and Iowa State have won a combined 30 NCAA Division I titles.
Five Nobel Prize winners hail from Iowa: Norman Borlaug
, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
; Thomas Cech
, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
; Alan J. Heeger
, also a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry; John Mott
, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize; and Stanley B. Prusiner
, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
. Other notable scientists who worked or were born in Iowa include astronomer and space pioneer James A. Van Allen
, climate scientist James Hansen
, ecologist Aldo Leopold
, computer pioneer John Vincent Atanasoff
, geochemist Clair Cameron Patterson
, and Intel
co-founder Robert Noyce
Musicians, actors, and entertainers from Iowa include Tom Arnold
, Julia Michaels
, Bix Beiderbecke
, Johnny Carson
, Buffalo Bill Cody
, Simon Estes
, Nathan Jonas Jordison
, Corey Taylor
, Shawn Crahan
, William Frawley
, Charlie Haden
, Ashton Kutcher
, Cloris Leachman
, Glenn Miller
, Kate Mulgrew
, Eric Christian Olsen
, Donna Reed
, George Reeves
, Brandon Routh
, Jean Seberg
, John Wayne
, Brooks Wheelan
, Andy Williams
, Meredith Willson
, Elijah Wood
, Jason Momoa
, and Hynden Walch
Olympic gold medal
-winning athletes from Iowa include Dan Gable
, Shawn Johnson
, and Cael Sanderson
. Iowa athletes inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame
include Cap Anson
, Fred Clarke
, Red Faber
, and Bob Feller
. In college football
, Jay Berwanger
was the first winner of the Downtown Athletic Club
Trophy in 1935, later renamed the Heisman Trophy
and won by Nile Kinnick
in 1939. In professional football, Kurt Warner
was the Super Bowl XXXIV MVP
winner and a two-time NFL MVP
award winner. Frank Gotch
was a World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion
, Zach Johnson
won the 2007 Masters Golf Tournament
and the 2015 British Open, and Jeremy Hellickson
won the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year
award pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays
. Former WWE Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins
is from Davenport.
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