Iowa Population 2018


As of 2018, we estimate the population in Iowa is 3.16 million.

The last official population numbers for Iowa were taken during the last nationwide census of 2010 when it was declared that 3,046,355 people lived in the state. That represented a modest rise of 4.1% compared to the 2,926,324 people recorded in the census taken in 2000. It's estimated by the Census Bureau that the population of Iowa in 2015 was 3,123,899. The growth rate between the 2010 Census and 2015 estimates is 2.55%, which ranks 29th in the nation.

The 2010 Census marked a milestone for Iowa, as it crossed the 3 million mark. This makes Iowa the 30th most populous state in the US.

Situated in the midwest United States and often referred to as the "heartland of America," Iowa is situated in the middle of the country, both in terms of location and population.

Iowa Population Density

Large areas of Iowa are flat and used as farmland and as such, the population density is relatively sparse. Overall, there is a surface area of 56,272 square miles (or 145,743 square kilometers) and this is the 26th largest state in the country in terms of land mass.

With regards to the exact density, average figures show that there are 54.5 people for every square mile. The population center is located in Marshall County in the city of Marshalltown. The most populous city in Iowa is Des Moines, with over 210,000 residents, followed by Cedar Rapids (130,405) and Davenport (102,582). Iowa now has a predominantly urban population concentrated in these areas, with 61% of the total population living in urban areas by 2000. From 2000 to 2008, urban counties grew 8.5%, while rural counties declined by 4.2%. This trend is expected to continue.

Iowa Population History

Iowa was acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and formed part of Louisiana Territory, renamed Missouri Territory in 1812. Iowa became a territory in 1838 and included present-day Minnesota and the Dakotas from the Mississippi River west to the Missouri River. Iowa was admitted as a State on December 28, 1846 with substantially its present boundaries.

Census coverage began in 1840, when it was limited to eastern Iowa, except for two settlements in present-day Minnesota that were included in Clayton County. The northwestern part of the State was not fully covered in the census until 1860.

Iowa Population Chart

Iowa Population History

Records relating to the growth of Iowa’s population can be traced back to 1840 when the official US Census confirmed that there were 43,112 people living here. Like most states across the US, however, those numbers had exploded ten years later and an impressive increase of 345.8% took them to 192,214.

Further significant rises occurred for the rest of the 19th century, but by the time the 1900s had rolled in, the growth had started to slow.

In fact, between 1900 and 1910, there was a slight drop in population figures by less than 1%. Although this wasn't a huge amount, population decreases within the US are rare, and Iowa went on to produce a similar set of figures in 1990 when the declared population of 2,776,755 had actually dropped by 4.7% from the numbers confirmed in 1980. Overall, those drops in figures make Iowa’s population in 2016 and the future hard to predict.

Iowa Population Growth

After the state's economy bottomed out in the 1980s, Iowa has slowly become more dependent on agriculture. There is still a good mix of finance and insurance services, government services, manufacturing and biotechnology, which has allowed the population of Iowa to increase faster than the United States as a whole.

Population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013 showed that seven metro counties in Iowa carried the population growth of Iowa from 2010 to 2012, with Dallas County near the top nationally. Combined, they ranked 14th in the nation in terms of fastest growing counties, growing 8.8%. This is in keeping with the urbanization trend in the state.

The overall picture is one of growth and as such, the numbers within Iowa should continue rising steadily, with an estimated population of 3.17 million in 2020 and 3.32 million by 2030.

Population Data via US Census

Iowa Growth Rate

Iowa Population Rank

Year Pop % Change

Iowa Facts

Iowa Population in 2018Source: Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant)

  • The oldest city in Iowa is Dubuque.
  • The population of hogs living in Iowa exceeds the number of people. In 2013, there was a population of over 21 million hogs in the state.
  • Iowa produces more corn -- approximately 2.4 billion bushels per year -- than any other state.
  • Iowa's east and west borders are comprised completely of water from the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and it is the only state that can claim this fact.
  • There are about 67 million chickens in Iowa, which produce almost 15 billion eggs per year.
  • Fort Atkinson was the first US government fort built to protect one Indian tribe from another.

Iowa Population Density by County

Polk County

  • Population474,768
  • Density827.73 per sq km
  • Growth Since 20109.84%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State15.16%

Iowa Population Growth Rate by County

Iowa has exhibited increases in the populations of its counties, as shown in data from the 2010 Census and 2015 estimates from the 2015 US Census Bureau. By far, Dallas County has seen the largest rate of growth during this 5-year period, posting an increase of 20.14%. Neighboring Polk County saw the 3rd highest rate of growth at 8.2%. Further east, Johnson County saw the 2nd highest rate of growth of 9.87%. Some other counties posted smaller but noticeable growth, including Story County with a rate of 7.13%, Sioux County at 3.57%, and Scott County at 3.85%.

There were also some areas that exhibited declining growth between 2010 and 2015. The highest decrease in population was posted in Fremont County, with a decline of over 7%. Other significant decreases were posted in the southern region of the state, including Adams County at 5.71%, Adair County at 5.7%, and Audobon County at 5.53%.

Iowa Population Pyramid 2018

0k5k10k15k20k25kIowa Male Population0k5k10k15k20k25kIowa Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

To compare Iowa to other states, click here.

Population by Race

Race Population
Black or African American111,867
Two or More Races57,293
Some Other Race42,129
American Indian and Alaska Native10,488
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander3,949

When breaking down Iowa's population, 72.2% were born in the state, 23.2% were born in a different state, 0.5% were born in Puerto Rico or abroad to American parents and 4.1% were foreign born. Iowans are primarily of Western European descent, with the largest ancestry groups including German (35.7%), Irish (13.5%), English (9.5%), American (6.6%) and Norwegian (5.7%).

Iowa has been considered one of the least diverse states, with a population that is mostly white. Iowa is one of ten states that have a white population that exceeds 90%. The state has, however, seen a significant increase in its population of Hispanics. Between 2000 and 2014, the Hispanic population increased by over 110%, and future growth is expected to continue so that the state will approach close to half a million Hispanic residents by 2050.

Race Data via US Census (2016 ACS 1-Year Survey)

Languages Spoken in Iowa

Language Population Percentage
Pennsylvania Dutch2,0150.07%

This chart shows the top 10 languages that are spoken at home in Iowa. The data comes from the most recent release of the American Community Survey (ACS).

Iowa Economy

High school graduate or higher 91.3%
Bachelor's degree or higher 26.4%
With a Disability 7.7%
Persons Without Health Insurance 7.2%
In Civilian Labor Force 67.9%
In Civilian Labor Force (Female) 63.5%
Food Services Sales $5,468,687
Health Care Revenue $18,583,828,000
Manufacturers Shipments $116,668,830,000
Merchant Wholesaler Sales $62,318,301,000
Total Retail Sales $44,905,624,000
Total Retail Sales per Capita $14,607
Mean Travel Time to Work 18.9 minutes
Median Household Income $52,716
Per Capita Income (past 12 months) $27,621
Persons in Poverty 12.2%

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Iowa for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 3.3% and the labor force participation rate is 67.7%.

Iowa Business

Total Nonemployer Establishments 205,908
All firms 259,121
Men-owned Firms 135,382
Women-owned Firms 82,345
Minority-owned Firms 14,707
Nonminority-owned Firms 236,561
Veternan-owned Firms 25,889
Nonveteran-owned Firms 217,779

Iowa Housing

Housing Units 1,336,417
Owner Occupied Housing Rate 71.8%
Median Value Owner Occupied Housing Units $126,300
Median Monthly Owner Costs (w/Mortgage) $1,181
Median Monthly Owner Costs (no mortgage) $431
Median Gross Rent $689
Building Permits 12,097
Households 1,232,228
Persons per Household 2.42 persons
Living in Same House 1 Year Ago 84.9%
Language Other than English Spoken at Home 7.4%
Data Sources
  1. Iowa Profile
  2. Iowa State Data Center
  3. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  5. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  6. Census QuickFacts
  7. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)