Iowa is a state in the Midwest region of the United States of
America. The state makes international headlines every four
years as the state that hosts the first presidential primaries.
Iowa is bordered by Minnesota to the north, Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, and South Dakota to the northwest.
The area was purchased by France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and officially became a state in 1846. Settlers who formed in the Midwest established their communities along the existing rivers. Today, many of the state's largest cities, such as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Davenport, Dubuque, Sioux City and Council Bluffs, sit on rivers. Agriculture used to be the state's main livelihood, but the continued urbanization of the state's population has resulted in a diverse mix of industries. Although agriculture, as the economic engine of the state, has declined significantly, it remains an important economic component.
Though Iowa has long been considered a rural state, it has a surprisingly rich cultural scene. The University of Iowa in Iowa City is home to a number of important programs, including the Iowa Writers Workshop, a program that has trained a number of America's great modern writers. Iowa State University in Ames also acts as a major cultural driver in the central part of the state.
1 Des Moines - Capital and largest city of Iowa
3 Cedar Falls
4 Cedar Rapids - second largest city
5 Council Bluffs
6 Dubuque - Located on the Mississippi River
7 Iowa City
8 Quad Cities - consisting of the cities of Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa, and East Moline, Moline and Rock Island in Illinois
9 Sioux City
Villisca Axe Murders House in Villisca, Iowa is a famous site of a gruesome murder of the whole family that occurred here on June 10, 1912.
Iowa is bordered by the states of Minnesota to the north, Nebraska to
the west, South Dakota to the northwest, Missouri to the south,
Wisconsin to the northeast, and Illinois to the east. The Mississippi
River forms the eastern border of the state, and the Missouri River the
western one. Iowa has 99 counties. The state capital, Des Moines, is
located in Polk County.
There are several natural lakes in the state, the most important being Spirit Lakes, West Okoboji and East Okoboji, in northwest Iowa. Man-made lakes are: Odessa, Saylorville, Red Rock, Coralville, MacBride and Rathbun.
The topography of the state is made up of plains with gentle undulations. Loess hills are seen along the western border of the state, some of which are several hundred feet deep. In the northeast, along the Mississippi River, is a section of the Driftless Zone, which in Iowa consists of low, rugged hills covered in a coniferous landscape—a landscape not generally associated with this state.
The lowest point is Keokuk, in southeastern Iowa, at 146 m, and the highest point, at 509 m, is Hawkeye Point, located north of the city of Sibley, in northwestern Iowa. The average elevation of the state is 335 m. Considering the size of the state (145,743 km²), there is very little difference in elevation.
Iowa has the highest average radon concentrations in the nation due to significant glaciation that crushed the granitic rocks of the Canadian Shield and deposited it into soils, enriching Iowa's farmland. Because of the area's large surface area of rocky soil, radon is released as boiling gas from the soils. Many cities in the state, such as Iowa City, have passed radon resistance requirements for the construction of all new homes.
Iowa, like most of the Midwest region, has a statewide humid
continental climate (Köppen climate classification 'Dfa') with extremes
of both hot and cold temperatures. The average annual temperature in Des
Moines is 10°C); for some positions in the north it is below 8 °C, while
Keokuk, on the Mississippi River, averages 12 °C. Winters are harsh and
snowfall is common, with the capital (Des Moines) receiving an average
of 92 cm per season. Spring heralds the beginning of the severe weather
season, which brings increased precipitation and rising temperatures.
The Iowa summer is known for heat and humidity, with daytime
temperatures often near 32°C and sometimes over 38°C.
It averages 50 days of thunderstorm activity per year. Some of these storms can be intense, with strong winds and hail. The state has a moderately high risk of tornado activity, with 37 tornadoes on average per year, mostly during the spring and summer months.
Iowa extends over a latitude of 320 km from 40°36'N to 43°30'N and has a length of 500 km from 89°5'W to 96°31'W.
If you speak English, you will find Midwest English easy to understand. Locals believe they have no accent and speak pure American English. Customer service organizations agree with them and build call centers in the cities. Linguists disagree, pointing out some peculiarities of pronunciation and grammar.
When the first humans arrived in Iowa more than 13,000 years ago,
they were hunter-gatherers inhabiting a Pleistocene glacial landscape.
By the time European explorers arrived, the Amerindians had become
farmers with an economic, social and political infrastructure. This
transformation was carried out gradually. During the Archaic era
(10,500-2,800 years ago) people adapted to new environments and
ecosystems and became sedentary, so the population increased. More than
3,000 years ago, during the Late Archaic era, humans in Iowa began
domesticating and cultivating plants. The following period, known as the
"Woodland period" was characterized by greater dependence on agriculture
and a more complex social structure. The use of mounds and pottery
increased. During the late prehistoric period, which began around 900
AD. C., corn cultivation increased. Social changes fostered stable
settlements. With the arrival of products and diseases from Europe
through explorers and colonizers, the local population was decimated,
affecting the economy and social structure.
The first Europeans to visit the region were French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673. They arrived sailing down the Mississippi River, and after examining the area they wrote that Iowa appeared to be a green and fertile region. The territory was occupied by the nations: Iowa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Sioux, Potawatomi, Otoe and Missouri.
Julien Dubuque (1762–1810), born of Norman parents in St. Pierre les Brecquets, on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence River, a little more than one hundred kilometers east of Quebec City, Canada, was the first European to live in what is now Iowa. In 1788 he obtained permission from the chiefs of the Fox tribe (and, later, also from the Spanish authorities) to mine galena (lead sulfide) in the hills next to the Mississippi River, around the city that today bears his name.
The United States obtained Iowa as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Patawatamie, Otto, and Missourians had sold their territory to the federal government before 1830, and in June 1833 the official colonization of Iowa by the United States began. Most of the early settlers came from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia.
The first settlers faced a lonely and harsh life in the first decades. They had to adapt to the extensive prairie that lacked trees and suffered from extensive annual wild grass fires that covered the entire terrain. Only the extreme east of the territory had enough forests to supply the needs for housing construction and fuel. The arrival of the railroad in the 1850s and 1860s further opened the national and international market to the region's agricultural products, and the population grew from 43,112 (1840) to 1,194,020 (1870). As a partial result of an official campaign to attract immigrants in 1869, many arrived from European countries (primarily Germany, Sweden, Norway and Holland).
The federal government accepted Iowa as a state of the Union on December 28, 1846.
The state is of particular importance in the election campaigns for
the US presidency: Traditionally, Iowa is the state in which the first
primaries of the parties are held. They give the people of Iowa great
political clout in election years.
Also, Iowa is a swing state where predicting election outcomes is difficult. Although there was Democratic dominance in Iowa from the late 1980s to the turn of the millennium, in the 2004 presidential election, Iowa fell to the Republicans for the first time since 1984, with the narrowest possible result. In 2008 the Democrats again won the majority; In 2012 this was achieved again. In the 2016 election, however, the Republicans again won clearly; in no other state did so many counties switch from the Democrats to the Republicans compared to 2012. Iowa is seen as a typical example of a significant decline in support for Democrats in rural areas across the US compared to the 1990s. Iowa has had six electoral college electors since 2012. In 1988 there were eight.
In Iowa, the term political party refers to organizations that have
received two percent or more of the votes cast for the president or
governor in "the last preceding general election." Iowa recognizes two
political parties (Democrats and Republicans). . Other parties,
officially called "independent political organizations," may also appear
on the ticket—five of these have had candidates in elections in Iowa
since 2004 for various offices: the Constitution Party, the Iowa Green
Party, the Libertarian Party, the Pirate Party and the Socialist Workers
Iowa voters supported Bill Clinton in the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections. Al Gore won the state in 2000, and George W. Bush in 2004. In the 2006 election, the Democratic Party won two seats in the Iowa delegation in the House of Representatives, and Democrats won majorities in both Houses in the Iowa General Assembly.
The Code of Iowa contains the state's statutory laws. It is updated periodically through the Iowa Legislative Service Office with a new edition published in odd-numbered years, and a supplement published in even-numbered years.
The state receives considerable attention every four years because it
hosts the first presidential caucus, a meeting of voters to select
delegates to the state convention, the primary or preliminary stage in
which each party decides who will receive the presidential nomination.
his party for the presidency of the United States.
Along with the New Hampshire primary a week later, it has become the initial weapon to elect presidential candidates from the country's two main political parties. The caucus, held in January of the election year, involves people meeting in homes or public places and choosing their candidate, rather than holding secret ballots, as is done in a primary election. National and international media give Iowa (and New Hampshire) about half of their attention in the national candidate selection process, giving voters enormous influence. Those who enter the caucus race often devote enormous efforts to reaching voters in each of Iowa's 99 counties.
The 2000 national census from the United States Census Bureau
estimated Iowa's population at 2,926,324, a growth of 5.4% over the
state's 1990 population of 2,776,755. An estimate made in 2005 estimated
the state's population at 2,966,334 inhabitants, a growth of 6.8%
compared to the state's population in 1990, which was 1.4% compared to
the state's population in 2000, and 0.5% compared to the estimated
population in 2004. The 2011 estimate is 3,062,309.
Iowa's natural population growth between 2000 and 2005 was 53,706—197,163 births minus 143,457 deaths—population growth caused by immigration was 29,386, while interstate migration showed a loss of 41,140 inhabitants. Between 2000 and 2005, Iowa's population grew by 39,952, and between 2004 and 2005, by 13,430.
A new estimate from the Census Bureau in 2006 put the state's
population at 2,982,085 people, whose ethnic composition was as follows:
91.0% are white (European or of European descent).
3.8% are Latino or Hispanic (among whom Mexicans predominate).
2.3% are African American.
1.5% are Asian.
The rest are made up of people of other ethnic origins.
The population of Latino/Hispanic origin is the fastest growing, due to the high fertility rates of Latina women residing in the United States, and also due to legal and illegal immigration from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Iowa's five largest groups by ancestry are: German (making up 35.7% of the state's population) Irish (13.5%), English (9.5%), American (6.6%), the majority are of Scottish or Irish descent) and Norwegian (5.7%).
The state's first school, a private school, was founded in 1830, when
Iowa was still part of the Territory of Michigan, in what is now Lee
County. In 1820, the government of the Territory of Michigan approved
budgets for the construction of the first public schools in Iowa. In
1858, as a state, the government of Iowa approved the creation of a
public education system, in 1858, composed entirely of schools of
primary education. Iowa's public school system expanded to include
junior high schools in 1911. The state made school attendance mandatory
Currently, all educational institutions in Iowa must comply with regulations and standards issued by the Iowa State Board of Education. This board directly controls the state's public school system, which is divided into different school districts. The council is made up of nine members chosen by the governor, plus a director of education, who presides over the council, also chosen by the governor. The term of office of the members of the council is indeterminate, since the governor has the power to replace any member whenever he wants. Each major city (city), various secondary cities (towns) and each county is served by a school district. In cities, the responsibility for administration of the public school system lies with the municipal districts, while in less densely populated regions this responsibility lies with the school districts, which operate throughout the county in general. Iowa allows the operation of "charter schools" — independent public schools, which are not managed by school districts but depend on public budgets for their operation. School attendance is mandatory for all children and adolescents over seven years of age, until the completion of secondary education or until the age of fifteen.
In 1999, public schools served approximately 497.3 thousand students, and employed approximately 33.5 thousand teachers. Private schools served about 49.6 thousand students, and employed approximately 3.5 thousand teachers. The state's public school system consumed about $3.11 billion, and public school spending was approximately $6,500 per student. About 88% of the state's residents over 25 years of age have a high school diploma.
Iowa's first public library was founded in 1853, in Fairfield. Currently, Iowa public libraries move about 7.6 books per capita annually.
The first institution of higher education was the University of Iowa, whose creation was approved in 1847, and founded in 1858, in Iowa City, and is currently the largest university in the state. Currently, Iowa has 62 institutions of higher education, of which 18 are public and 44 are private.
Percentage of population by religious affiliation:
Christians – 78% - 2,484,141
Protestants – 60% - 1,910,878
Catholics – 18% - 573 263
Other religions – 1% - 31,847
No religion – 21% - 668,807
Iowa's gross domestic product (GDP) was $103 billion in 2003. The
state's per capita income, meanwhile, was $28,340. Iowa's unemployment
rate was 4.1%.
The primary sector accounts for 4% of Iowa's GDP. Together, agriculture and livestock account for 4% of Iowa's GDP, and employ approximately 136 thousand people. The effects of fishing and forestry are of little importance on the state's economy. Iowa has about 94,000 farms, covering more than 90 percent of the state. Only Nebraska has a larger percentage of the state's area covered by farms. Iowa is the largest corn producer in the United States, producing approximately one-fifth of the corn produced in the country. Iowa also has the largest hog herd in the country. The state is also one of the largest soybean producers in the country. Iowa concentrates about a quarter of the American pig herd. Other important products of Iowa agriculture are straw, oats, apples, legumes and cattle herds.
The secondary sector accounts for 26% of GDP. The manufacturing industry contributes 22% of the state's GDP and employs approximately 267 thousand people. The total value of products manufactured in the state is $31 billion. The main industrialized products manufactured in the state are industrially processed foods, machinery, chemical products, electrical equipment and transportation vehicles. Iowa is the largest producer of ethanol in the country. The construction industry accounts for 4% of the state's GDP, and employs approximately 100,000 people. The effects of mining on the state's economy are not important, and it employs about 3 thousand people. The main natural mineral resource in the state is limestone.
The tertiary sector contributes 70% of GDP. Approximately 17% of the state's GDP is generated through community and personal services. This sector employs about 535 thousand people. Wholesale and retail trade accounts for 16% of the state's GDP, and employs approximately 420 thousand people. Financial and real estate services account for about 16% of the state's GDP, and employ approximately 135 thousand people. Des Moines is the financial center of the state, the second largest insurance industry center in the United States (behind only Hartford, Connecticut) and the third largest in the world (behind London and Hartford). Public services account for 12 % of Iowa's GDP, and generate employment for approximately 254 thousand people. Transportation, telecommunications and public utilities employ 92 thousand people, and account for 9% of Iowa's GDP. About 85% of the electricity generated in The state's electricity is produced by coal- or oil-fired thermal power plants, with the state's only nuclear power plant, the Duane Arnold Energy Center, producing 11%, and hydroelectric plants producing about 2%.
Des Moines is the main transportation center in Iowa. It is an
important road and rail center in the Midwest region of the United
States, and has the state's main airport, Des Moines International
Airport. In 2002, Iowa owned 6,537 kilometers of railroad tracks.
In 2003, the state had 182,686 kilometers of public roads, of which 1,259 kilometers were interstate highways, considered part of the federal highway system of the United States.
Iowa's first newspaper, the Dubuque Visitor, was first published in 1836, in Dubuque, and publication lasted only until 1837. The oldest newspaper in the state still in circulation, meanwhile, is the Hawk Eye, which was It first published in 1837, in Burlington, as the Wisconsin Territorial Gazette and Burlington Advertiser. Currently, about 370 newspapers are printed in the state, of which 37 are dailies.
The first radio station was founded in 1919, in Iowa City. The state's first television station was founded in 1949, also in Iowa City. Iowa currently has 208 radio stations—of which 84 are AM and 124 are FM—and 21 television stations.
Iowa had only one major league sports team: the Waterloo Hawks played
in the National Basketball Association in the 1949/50 season. Since
then, the state has only had professional minor league teams, such as
the Iowa Cubs of the Pacific Coast League, the Iowa Energy of the NBA
D-League, and the Iowa Stars and Iowa Wild of the American Hockey
In college sports, the two most prominent teams in the state are the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big Ten Conference and the Iowa State Cyclones of the Big 12 Conference. The Hawkeyes have won the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl in American football.
The Iowa Speedway is an oval circuit opened in 2006, which has hosted motorsports races for the IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Truck Series. Meanwhile, the Knoxville oval has hosted the Knoxville Nationals since 1961, one of the main sprint car races in the country.
In golf, the PGA Tour has had an annual tournament in Iowa since 1971 and the Champions Tour since 2001. The 2011 US Veterans Open was also held there and the 2017 Solheim Cup will be held there.
In this state, more specifically in the city of Des Moines, the Groove metal and alternative metal band, Slipknot, was founded in 1995, which is possibly the most popular and successful musical act from this state.