December 30, 2013

Iowa population continues slow climb

Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Iowa’s population keeps creeping up, but the rate isn’t enough to keep up with growth from other states.

The U.S. Census Bureau released new population estimates for the states on Monday. Iowa’s population is now thought to be 3.09 million. That’s a gain of about 1.4 percent compared to 2010.

Iowa has a long run of growth. Census data shows growth every year for 26 consecutive years. But, in that same time, Iowa has lost a seat in Congress. What gives?

The answer is that Iowa just hasn’t kept pace with the growth in other parts of the country. Since seats in the U.S. House are allocated based on population, it is possible to lose representation while still gaining population.

New York and Florida are a case in point. The last census cost New York two congressional seats, while Florida gained two. But New York was, and is, the nation’s third-largest state. While Florida is expected to overtake New York soon, it hasn’t done so just yet.