Iowa’s population is up for the 20th consecutive year, but rural counties are losing residents. New census estimates show the state’s population in 2007 topped 2.9 million. That’s a 2.1 percent increase over the 2000 census. However, only 23 of Iowa’s 99 counties experienced population increases.
Beth Henning, coordinator of Iowa’s Data Center Program, says 20 of the 23 counties that had growth are located in a metropolitan area. Dallas County, located near Des Moines, is booming. "Dallas County is the fastest growing county in Iowa by far, it gained over 40 percent since the 2000 census," Henning said. Johnson, Madison and Polk Counties followed Dallas – each growing by more than 10 percent.
Seventy-six Iowa counties lost people from 2000 to 2007. The sharpest declines were recorded in western and northwest Iowa. "Ida, Pocahontas, Audubon, Cherokee and Calhoun Counties…all of those counties lost more than 10 percent of their population since the 2000 census," Henning said.
Compared to the rest of the country, Iowa has the 30th highest overall population. However, Iowa is one of the slowest growing states in the nation. Fourty states recorded a higher percentage of population growth between 2000 and 2007.