New figures released Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau show Iowa has hit the three-million population mark, but and Iowa State researcher says that was expected to happen sometime, and it’s not that big a deal.
Liesl Eathington, an economist with the I.S.U. Regional Capacity Analysis Program (ReCAP), studies population trends. Eathington says," The interesting thing is that nothing really stands out." She says Iowa is just "hanging out" in the lower half of states from all areas of growth.
Eathington says the one positive she found was the number of people moving to Iowa from other states. She says in the last year Iowa posted a net increase from domestic migration, as in past years in this decade we’ve had negative numbers in the category. Iowa has seen much new growth coming from immigrants into the state from other countries in recent years, but Eathington says the impact of immigrants may be even stronger than thought.
Eathington says while there’s great focus on the domestic versus international migration, the way the numbers are figured, an immigrant who moves first to another state and then comes to Iowa is counted as a domestic migrant from another state. So, she says some of those domestic migrants might actually be immigrants from outside the U.S. that first came to another state. Eathington says there’s no separation between domestic migrants who were U.S. citizens who moved into Iowa, and those who came from another country.
She says Postville is a good example, as after the immigration raid there, the plant advertised in other states and those migrant workers who came in were counted as domestic migrants into Iowa, although they may have originally come from other countries to work in the U.S. Eathington says she thought the international migration into Iowa was a big positive, but says she’s rethought that idea a little after viewing the latest numbers.
Eathington says the past declines in domestic migration into the state have been offset by international migration, but when she looked at the overall immigrant migration numbers, Iowa really doesn’t stand out when compared to other states. She says we rank 29th out of 50th states when it comes to international migration.
The state has seen the number of births steadily increase since 2002, until a slight drop in the latest numbers. Eathington says that could possibly be linked to the increase in immigrants moving in, as she says state and national figures show higher birth rates among minorities compared to white, non-Hispanic groups. You can see the new population estimates on the State Data Center website .