An annual report released this week shows Iowa’s 118 community hospitals employ more than 136,000 people and add nearly $6.2 billion to the state’s economy.

Scott McIntyre, spokesman for the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA), says the health care industry in Iowa is growing – in part – because of the state’s aging population.

“We have a disproportionately old population here in Iowa…folks over 65 and folks over 85 and they do use more health care than younger people do,” McIntyre said. The economic impact report from the IHA claims Iowa’s health care sector directly or indirectly provide more than 333,000 jobs in the state.

“That’s equal to about 20% of the state’s total employment,” McIntyre said. “It’s not just hospitals that create all these opportunities and this huge economic impact across the state. It’s also doctor’s offices, dentists, other practitioners, pharmacies and nursing homes.”

The report states Iowa hospital employees by themselves spend $1.7 billion on retail sales and contribute more than $104 million in state sales tax revenue.

See the full report here: