Cedar Rapids has become known as being a center for art and culture within the state. It has also been home to many famous people throughout history, including journalists, celebrities and pro athletes.
Cedar Rapids Diversity
The city has a strong Muslim culture. It is the location of the National Muslim Cemetery, which is thought to be the first exclusively Muslim cemetery in the country. It is also the site of the Mother Mosque of America, which is the longest standing mosque in North America.
Rockwell Collins is the largest employer in the city, giving jobs to about 8,700 people. Transamerica, St. Luke’s Hospital, Cedar Rapids Community School District and Hy-Vee are other top employers in Cedar Rapids and provide thousands of jobs to residents.
Cedar Rapids Population Growth
Cedar Rapids has seen steady growth in its population since the census taken in 1860. The population surpassed 10,000 by the year 1880, up from 1860’s population of 1,830 people. The population had more than doubled by 1900. In 1930, the population was over 56,000. The city reached over 100,000 residents by the time of the 1970 census. The next censuses taken in 1980 and 1990 show that there was a slight drop in population, but by 2000, it had rebounded. The most recent estimates show that the population is up almost 4% since numbers recorded during the 2010 census, indicating that this city still has more growing to do in its future.
The area that is now Cedar Rapids was originally inhabited by the Sac and Fox tribes. The first settler arrived in 1838 and was named Columbus. The city was renamed in 1841, with the name derived from the rapids of the nearby Cedar River. The island that is centered in the river is called May's Island, and it has a fascinating history all of its own. By the end of the 1840s, Cedar Rapids was incorporated, and it grew through the annexation of Kingston.
The city’s population began to grow in the late 1800s with the construction of the Sinclair meatpacking company, which brought jobs to the residents of Cedar Rapids. In more recent years, the city’s economy has been based around corn and grain processing, providing thousands of jobs to residents. Other companies that also have set up shop in the city, including Quaker Oats, General Mills, Cargill, Nordstrom, and Toyota Financial Services.
In addition to a thriving economy, the city has also had a rich cultural heritage. It is home to multiple theaters and the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Other museums include the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library and the African American Historical Museum.
Throughout the years, many famous people have called Cedar Rapids home, including painter Grant Wood, actor Ashton Kutcher, and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter. The city has earned the nickname “City of Five Seasons” thanks to a creative marketing campaign that has woven itself into the whole city.
Cedar Rapids was majorly impacted by the Iowa flood that occurred in 2008. About 14% of the city’s total area was damaged in the flood, with thousands of homes and businesses being evacuated. This flood led to billions of dollars in damage.
The area was once again flooded in 2016. Over 5,000 homes were affected by the flood, and thousands of people were evacuated. This led to the city approving a flood protection plan over the next 20 years, although it is currently at a stop because of funding issues.