A rural sociologist with Iowa State University Extension has found income levels for people living in the Iowa countryside are higher than for city dwellers.
David Peters has studied census data on income and poverty levels nationwide and he has broken it down state-by-state. He discovered the median household income in rural areas of Iowa is a bit more than $60,000, 11 percent higher ($52,000) than in cities.
Peters says one reason may be three-quarters of Iowa farms are so-called “hobby farms.” “A lot of these people have 10-15 acres and they commute to large cities and they have very high off-farm income,” Peters said. Some rural residents, he adds, are creating their own jobs.
“The rate of self-employment, nonfarm self-employment and entrepreneurship is much higher in Iowa, really in rural Iowa, than in other parts of the United States,” Peters said. He plans to keep an eye on the data to see if continued low commodity prices eventually affect rural incomes.
(Thanks to Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio/Photo courtesy of ISU)