Despite many reports about the deaths of small Iowa towns, a new analysis of the latest census data finds Iowa’s hundreds of little burgs are maintaining their populations of residents. Iowa State University sociology professor Willis Goudy says he was a little surprised by the numbers. While the farm population continues declining, Iowa’s small towns, those with fewer than 25-hundred residents, are holding their own statewide across the last half-century, which is contrary to popular thought. Goudy says Iowa’s population fell sharply during the 1980s, but rose by about 150-thousand people during the 90s. Of those new residents, about two-thirds settled in Iowa’s larger cities. While Iowa’s largest cities remained fairly steady in population, the suburbs and “regional centers” grew dramatically. While Iowa’s farm population is dwindling and the small towns are seeing a steady population, Goudy says one sector of rural Iowa -is- growing.The country residents don’t live in small towns, nor are they on farms, but their numbers are increasing statewide. In 2000, the number of urban Iowans was around one-million-787-thousand, while rural residents numbered one-million-140-thousand. That makes Iowa about 61-percent urban. Also in 2000, about 171-thousand Iowans lived on farms, about six-percent, which compares to nine-percent a decade before.
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