See A. B. Skinner, Ethnology of the Ioway Indians (1926).
Area, 56,290 sq mi (145,791 sq km). Pop. (2000) 2,926,324, a 5.4% increase since the 1990 census. Capital and largest city, Des Moines. Statehood, Dec. 28, 1846 (29th state). Highest pt., 1,670 ft (509 m), Osceola co.; lowest pt., Mississippi River, 480 ft (146 m). Nickname, Hawkeye State. Motto, Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain. State bird, Eastern goldfinch. State flower, wild rose. State tree, oak. Abbr., IA
Iowa is bordered on two sides by rivers; the Mississippi separates it on the east from Wisconsin and Illinois, and the Missouri and the Big Sioux separate it on the west from Nebraska and South Dakota. The state is bounded on the north by Minnesota and on the south by Missouri. Iowa is an area of rich, rolling plains, interrupted by many rivers. The terrain is low and gently sloping, except for the hills in the unglaciated area of NE Iowa, the steeply sloping bluffs on the banks of the Mississippi, and the moundlike bluffs on the banks of the Missouri. The rivers of the eastern two thirds of Iowa flow to the Mississippi; those of the west flow to the Missouri. The original woodlands, which included black walnut and hickory, were destroyed by lumbering and land clearing in the 19th cent., and present wooded sections are covered only with second or third growths of timber. Only 0.1% of Iowa, the lowest total in the 50 states, is owned by the federal government.
Historically typical of Iowa was the prairie. Covered a little more than a century ago with grass higher than the wheels of the pioneers' prairie schooners, or covered wagons, the prairies gave way to fields of corn and other grains. Wildflowers still brighten the roadsides, but few areas of the original grassland remain, and several prairie preserves have been established. The former habitat of wild turkeys, prairie chickens, and quail, Iowa abounds with migratory geese and ducks and the imported ring-necked pheasant and European partridge, all of which are hunted in the autumn.
Iowa's climate is continental—northwest winds drive the mercury down below 0°F; (-18°C;) in winter, and in the summer hot air masses bring oppressive heat; there are violent thunderstorms, hail, and occasional droughts. Floods have periodically inflicted great losses of life and property, necessitating control measures. In the devastating midwestern flood of 1993 all 99 counties of Iowa were declared disaster areas. Overall, the average annual rainfall in Iowa is 31 in. (78.7 cm), and, since most of this falls in summer, soil is often washed away. Iowans have had to fight erosion with modern plowing and planting practices, control of water flow, and reforestation. Still, Iowa has some of the most fertile agricultural land (about 70% of the state's area is cropland) in the world.
The deep, porous soil yields corn and other grains in tremendous quantities, and the corn-fed hogs and cattle are nationally known. In 1997, Iowa led the nation in the production of corn, soybeans, hogs, and pigs, and ranked in the top 10 in the raising of cattle. Other major crops are hay and oats. Iowa has in recent years taken in the second highest farm income of any state.
Agriculture also benefits the state's chief industry, food processing, and in Sioux City and Cedar Rapids many factories process farm products. Nonelectrical machinery, farm machinery, tires, appliances, electronic equipment, and chemicals are among the other manufactures. Cement is the most important mineral product; others are stone, sand, gravel, and gypsum. Mineral production is small, however. Communications, finance, and insurance industries are especially important in Des Moines.
Iowa's constitution was adopted in 1857. The governor is elected for a term of four years. The general assembly, or legislature, has a senate with 50 members and a house of representatives with 100 members. Iowa is represented in the U.S. Congress by two senators and five representatives. The state has seven electoral votes. Terry Branstad, a Republican, served as governor from 1983 through 1998, when Democrat Tom Vilsack was elected. Vilsack was reelected in 2002, and was succeeded by fellow Democrat Chet Culver, elected in 2006.
Among the educational institutions in Iowa are Iowa State Univ. of Science and Technology, at Ames; the Univ. of Iowa, at Iowa City; Grinnell College, at Grinnell; Cornell College, at Mount Vernon; Drake Univ., at Des Moines; Univ. of Northern Iowa, at Cedar Falls; and the Univ. of Dubuque, Loras College, and Clarke College, at Dubuque.
In prehistoric times, the Mound Builders, a farming people, lived in the Iowa area. When Europeans first came to explore the region in the 17th cent., various Native American groups, including the Iowa, reputedly the source of the state's name, occupied the land. The Sac and Fox also ranged over the land, but it was the combative Sioux who dominated the area. In 1673 the French explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet traveled down the Mississippi River and touched upon the Iowa shores, as did Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, in 1681-82. The areas surrounding the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers were profitable for fur traders, and a number of Iowa towns developed from trading posts.
Late in the 18th cent. a French Canadian, Julien Dubuque, leased land from Native Americans around the Dubuque area and opened lead mines there. After his death they refused to permit others to work the mines, and U.S. troops under Lt. Jefferson Davis protected Native American rights to the land as late as 1830. However, their hold was doomed after the United States acquired Iowa as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
In 1832 the Black Hawk War broke out as the Sac and Fox, led by their chief, Black Hawk, fought to regain their former lands in Illinois along the Mississippi River. They were defeated by U.S. troops and were forced to leave the Illinois lands and cede to the United States much of their land along the river on the Iowa side. Within two decades after the Black Hawk War, all Native American lands in the region had been ceded to the United States. Meanwhile, a great rush of frontiersmen came to settle the prairies and take the mines.Territorial Status
Slavery was prohibited in Iowa under the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which excluded it from the lands of the Louisiana Purchase north of lat. 36°30'N. Included in the Missouri Territory prior to 1821, Iowa was subsequently part of Michigan Territory and Wisconsin Territory. By 1838, Iowa Territory was organized, with Burlington as the temporary capital. In the following year, Iowa City became the capital. The Iowans quickly built a rural civilization like that of New England, where many of them had lived. Later, immigrants from Europe, notably Germans, Czechs, Dutch, and Scandinavians, brought their agricultural skills and their own customs to enrich Iowa's rural life, and a group of German Pietists established the Amana Church Society, a successful attempt at communal social organization. A system of public schools was set up in 1839, and efforts made soon thereafter resulted in the establishment of a number of colleges and universities.Statehood, Railroads, and Reform Movements
Iowa became a state in 1846, and Ansel Briggs was elected as the first governor. In 1857 the capital was moved from Iowa City to Des Moines. In that same year the state adopted its second constitution. Iowa prospered greatly with the beginning of railroad construction, and the rivalry between towns to get the lines was so fierce that the grant of big land tracts to railroad companies was curtailed by legislative act in 1857. Two years earlier the state's first railroad line was completed between Davenport and Muscatine along the eastern border. Before and during the Civil War, Iowans, generally owners of small, independent farms, were naturally sympathetic to the antislavery side, and many fought for the Union. The Underground Railroad, which helped many fugitive slaves escape to free states, was active in Iowa, and the abolitionist John Brown made his headquarters there for a time.
Iowa's farmers prospered after the Civil War, but during the hard times that afflicted the country in the 1870s they found themselves burdened with debts. Feeling oppressed by the currency system, corporations, and high railroad and grain-storage rates, many of Iowa's farmers supported, along with other farmers of the West, the Granger movement, the Greenback party, and the Populist party. The reform movements had some success in the state. Granger laws were enacted in 1874 and 1876 regulating railroad rates, but these laws were repealed in 1877 under pressure from the railroad companies. By the end of the 19th cent., times improved, and the agrarian movements declined. Farm units grew larger, and mechanization brought great increases in productivity.Modern Iowa
Much of Iowa's society may still resemble that depicted in the paintings of Grant Wood, an Iowan, but the state's industrial economy as well as other elements of modernization have altered this image. While on a visit to the United States in 1959, Nikita S. Khrushchev, then premier of the Soviet Union, was invited to a farm in Iowa to observe part of the U.S. farm economy. The volatile nature of agricultural prices combined with a steady decline in manufacturing has made Iowa susceptible to economic recession. This was especially true in the 1980s, when Iowa was second in the United States in outmigration with a 4.7% decline in population.
Among Iowa's colorful native sons were Buffalo Bill Cody, labor leader John L. Lewis, and baseball player-evangelist Billy Sunday. Other public figures associated with the state are James Wilson, U.S. secretary of agriculture for 16 years (1897-1913), and the noted members of the Wallace family—Henry Wallace, Henry Cantwell Wallace, and Henry Agard Wallace. Herbert C. Hoover and Harry L. Hopkins were born in Iowa. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, which contains Hoover's birthplace, childhood home, and grave, and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library are at West Branch.
See H. Hahn, Urban-Rural Conflict (1971); M. M. Rosenberg, Iowa on the Eve of the Civil War (1972); R. B. Talbot, Iowa in the World Economy (1985); O. J. Fargo, ed., Iowa Geography (1988), "History of Iowa" series; D. Schwieder et al., Iowa: Past to Present (1989).
The Mississippi River separates Iowa from Illinois and Wisconsin to form the eastern boundary of the state. The Missouri River on the west edge of the state forms the boundary for Nebraska (with the exception of Carter Lake). The Big Sioux River in the northwest corner of the state forms the North/South boundary with South Dakota. To the north lies Minnesota and to the south lies Missouri. There are several natural lakes in the state, most notably Spirit Lake, West Okoboji Lake, and East Okoboji Lake in northwest Iowa (see Iowa Great Lakes).To the east lies Clear Lake, Iowa. Man-made lakes include Lake Odessa, Saylorville Lake, Lake Red Rock, Coralville Lake, Lake MacBride and Rathbun Lake.
Iowa's natural vegetation is the Tallgrass prairie and Savanna while the topography of the state is gently rolling plains. Loess hills lie along the western border of the state, some of which are several hundred feet thick. In the northeast, along the Mississippi River, is a section of the Driftless Zone, which in Iowa consists of low rugged hills covered with conifers—a landscape not usually associated with this state.
The point of lowest elevation is Keokuk in southeastern Iowa, at 480 feet (146 m). The point of highest elevation, at 1,670 feet (509 m), is Hawkeye Point, located in a feedlot north of Sibley in northwest Iowa. The mean elevation of the state is 1,099 feet (335 m). Considering the size of the state at 56,271 square miles (145,743 km²), there is very little elevation difference.
Iowa has the highest average radon concentrations in the nation due to significant glaciation that ground the granitic rocks from the Canadian Shield and deposited it as soils making up the rich Iowa farmland. Many cities within the state, such as Iowa City have passed requirements for radon resistant construction in all new homes.
|Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Iowa Cities|
As of 2007, Iowa has an estimated population of 2,988,046, which is an increase of 15,480, or 0.5%, from the prior year and an increase of 61,722 or 2.1%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 53,706 people (that is 197,163 births minus 143,457 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 11,754 people out of the state. Immigration 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. 6.1% 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 49.2% of the population. The population density of the state is 52.7 people per square mile. The center of population of Iowa is located in Marshall County, in the city of Marshalltown.
The state of Iowa has many attractions. The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are located in West Branch. They contain the birthplace and grave of former president Herbert Hoover along with his Presidential museum. The Iowa State Fair is located in Des Moines. Adventureland is an amusement park located in Altoona just northeast of Des Moines. Arnolds Park is in the center of the Iowa Great Lakes resort region, and is home to a historic amusement park, also called Arnolds Park. The Effigy Mounds National Monument is located in Allamakee County and Clayton Counties. The Amana Colonies are a group of settlements of German Pietists comprising of seven villages. Much of the movie Field of Dreams was shot in Dyersville. Terrace Hill is located in Des Moines and is the official residence of the governor. RAGBRAI — 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. Also, the nation's longest running soda jerk, the Wilton Candy Kitchen is located in Wilton, Iowa. Established in 1867, the Wilton Candy Kitchen is included in the National Register of Historic Places. The John Wayne Birthplace and museum is in Winterset. The Clint Eastwood movie "The Bridges of Madison County" took place and was recorded in Madison County Iowa, which is where Winterset is located. Maquoketa Caves State Park is located in Jackson County, Iowa. It stands northwest of the city of Maquoketa. The park contains more caves than any other state park in Iowa. A trail system links the caves, formations, and overlooks while providing a scenic hiking experience. Many areas on these trails have seen new construction, making the journey to the caves safer. Most of the caves may be entered by persons of average physical ability, but some are more advanced.
If the economy is measured by gross domestic product, in 2005 it was about $124 billion. If measured by gross state product, for 2005 it was US$113.5 billion. Its per capita income for 2006 was US $23,340. The role of agriculture in Iowa's economy can be measured in multiple ways, but its total impact, including agriculture-affiliated business, has been measured as 16.4% (in terms of value added) and 24.3% (in terms of total output). This is lower than the economic impact in Iowa of non-farm manufacturing, which accounts for 22.4% of total value added and 26.5% of total output. Iowa's main agricultural outputs are hogs, corn, soybeans, oats, cattle, eggs and dairy products. Its industrial outputs are food processing, machinery, electric equipment, chemical products, publishing and primary metals. Iowa produces the nation's largest amount of ethanol. Des Moines also serves as a center for the insurance industry.
Iowa imposes taxes on net state income of individuals and estates and trusts. There are currently nine income tax brackets, ranging from 0.36% to 8.98%. The state sales tax rate is 5%, with non-prepared food having no tax. Iowa has two local option sales taxes that may be imposed by counties after an election at which the majority of voters favors the tax. They are in addition to the 5% state sales tax. The regular local option tax is imposed on the gross receipts from sales of tangible personal property. It usually remains in effect until it is repealed, but the ordinance may include a sunset clause. The school infrastructure local option tax is automatically repealed 10 years after it is imposed, unless the ballot imposes a shorter time frame.
Property tax is levied on the taxable value of real property, that is, mostly land, buildings, structures, and other improvements that are constructed on or in the land, attached to the land or placed upon a foundation. Typical improvements include a building, house or mobile home, fences, and paving. The following five classes of real property are evaluated: residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial and utilities/railroad (which is assessed at the state level). Homeowners pay less than half of the property tax collected each year in Iowa. Farmers pay 21%, and businesses and industry, a total of 23%. Utility companies, including railroads, pay 10%. 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.
Other statewide elected officials are:
The two U.S. Senators:
The five U.S. Congressmen:
The Code of Iowa contains the statutory laws of the State of Iowa. 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.
Iowa is an alcohol monopoly or Alcoholic beverage control state.
|2004||49.92% 751,957||49.28% 741,898|
|2000||48.22% 634,373||48.60% 638,517|
|1996||39.92% 492,644||50.31% 620,258|
|1992||37.33% 504,890||43.35% 586,353|
|1988||45.07% 545,355||55.03% 670,557|
|1984||53.32% 703,088||45.97% 605,620|
In the 2006 elections, the Iowa Democrats gained two seats in the Iowa delegation to the United States House of Representatives, and Democrats won a majority in both houses of the Iowa General Assembly.
On the January 4, 2008 National Primaries for President of the United States, Iowa voters selected the Democratic Party nomination contender U.S. Senator Barack Obama(D) of Illinois as the winner. This win is believed to be the first crucial test for the rest of the campaign, as the Iowa caucuses, is considered a key stepping stone on the path to the White House. It helped catapult Senator Obama's quest for winning caucuses and primaries throughout the rest of the country. He is the Democratic presidential nominee.
The United States Hockey League has five teams in Iowa the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Sioux City Musketeers, Waterloo Black Hawks, Des Moines Buccaneers, and the Omaha Lancers whose games are played in Council Bluffs. The North Iowa Outlaws play in the North American Hockey League in Mason City.