Carbon Iowa is located on the Nodaway River. This was home to the Pottawatomie, Oto and Iowa Indian tribes until the treaty of 1851 forced their removal to Kansas or Indian Territory now known as Oklahoma. The first settler to Carbon was Elijah Walters in 1849. He reported seeing huts, old camp fires but stated that the tribes had moved on, only to see an occasional "red man" appear and look over old camp sites and burial sites then move on. Elijah built a mill on the Nodaway river that became a great social center of its time. Carbon is also known for its coal mines. The heyday of the Carbon coal mines lasted approx. 75yrs beginning in the late 1800's and ending in the early 1900's. Carbon has always been known as a lawless town for those that like to fight. Many a gun fight did take place in the streets when the coal mine era was booming. Until 1998 The only water supply was on what is now called the "pump road" Where on the edge of a gravel road sits an old hand pump. The pump has stood for over 100yrs. Horse drawn wagons would carry ice from the river and water from the pump back to town. Only one home with in the Carbon city limits had a well until the late 1990's when rural water was finely piped in. As of this writing in 2008, Carbon still stands as a place time forgot. A place that people come to feel miles away from civilization, and they are.
There were 15 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 20.0% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 66.7% were non-families. 46.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 33.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.87 and the average family size was 2.80.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 100.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $10,500, and the median income for a family was $0. Males had a median income of $8,750 versus $0 for females. The per capita income for the city was $9,891. There were no families and 45.5% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.