The Hawkeye State

Where is it?

State Flag




Geographic coordinates:
40°36'N to 43°30'N
89°5'W to 96°31'W
total: 56,276 sq mi
land: 55,875 sq. mi
water: 4010 sq.mi
coastline: N/A
shoreline: N/A
Bordering States:
Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: 480 ft
highest point: Hawkeye Point 1,670 ft
The Mississippi River forms the eastern boundary of the state. The boundary along the west is formed by the Missouri River south of Sioux City and by the Big Sioux River north of Sioux City. There are several natural lakes in the state, most notably Spirit Lake, West Okoboji Lake, and East Okoboji Lake in northwest Iowa (see Iowa Great Lakes). Man-made lakes include Lake Odessa, Saylorville Lake, Lake Red Rock, and Rathbun Lake. The topography of the state is gently rolling plains. Loess hills lie along the western border of the state. Some of these are several hundred feet thick. In the northeast along the Mississippi River is a section of the Driftless Zone, which in Iowa consists of low rugged hills covered with conifers—a landscape not usually associated with this state. The point of lowest elevation is Keokuk in southeastern Iowa, at 480 feet (146 m). The point of highest elevation, at 1,670 feet (509 m), is Hawkeye Point, located in a feedlot north of Sibley in northwest Iowa. The mean elevation of the state is 1,099 feet (335 m). Considering the size of the state at 56,271 square miles (145,743 km²), there is very little elevation difference.




3,107,124 (2014)
Largest City:
Des Moines: 203,433 (2010)
Age structure:
0-5 years old: 6.1%
<18 years old: 23.0%
65 years and over: 14.7%
Male: 49.2% Female: 50.8%
Population growth rate:
1.4% (2000-2005)
Population density:
52.4 per sq mi
Race(2000 Census):
White non-Hispanic: 91.7%
Hispanic: 3.5%
Black: 2.3%
Asian: 1.4%
Multi-Race: 0.9%
Christian: 74%
Other: 6%
Non-Religious: 20%




The first Europeans to explore Iowa were French citizens following the Suix and Fox Indians. At first, due to a lack of trees, Iowa was believed to not be able to support agriculture. Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette are believed to be the first European explorers to visit Iowa. They described Iowa as lush, green, and fertile. Iowa has been home to approximately 17 different Native American tribes. Today, only the Meskwaki tribe remains. The first American settlers officially moved to Iowa in June 1833. Primarily, they were families from Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. During the 1835 Dragoon expedition to map and survey central Iowa, many dragoons got lost in prairie grass which was over their heads even on horseback. The map maker was Albert Lee, who is the namesake for Albert Lee, Minnesota. One of the commanders was Nathan Boone, the youngest son of Daniel Boone. The Chicago and North Western Railway reached Council Bluffs in 1867. Council Bluffs was designated the eastern terminus for the Union Pacific Railroad. The completion of five major railroads across Iowa brought major economic changes as well as travel opportunities. During the American Civil War, more than 75,000 Iowans participated in the war, 13,001 of whom died (mostly by disease). Iowa had a higher percentage of soldiers serve in the Civil War, per capita, than any other state in the Union, with nearly 60% of eligible males serving. Among many cases in point would be Isaac S. Struble of Plymouth County, Congressman from 1883-1891. Iowa saw a large increase in farming of beef, corn, and pork during World War I, but farmers saw economic hardships after the war. These hardships were the result of the removal of war-time farm subsidies. Total recovery did not occur until the 1940s. The Farm Crisis of the 1980's saw a major decline of family farms in Iowa and around the Midwest, and it was marked by a sharp drop in the state's rural population. Although Iowa's primary industry is agriculture, it also produces refrigerators, washing machines, fountain pens, farm implements, and food products that are shipped around the world. Iowa is also a major producer of ethanol and biodiesel. As of 2006, Iowa is the only Midwestern state to have a growing/expanding economy.




Des Moines
December 28, 1846 (29th State)
State Tree:
Northern Red Oak
State Bird:
Eastern Goldfinch
State Flower:
Wild Prairie Rose
The Code of Iowa contains the statutory laws of the State of Iowa. The Iowa Legislative Service Bureau is a non-partisan governmental agency that is responsible for organizing, updating and publishing the Iowa Code. The Iowa Code is republished in full in odd years (i.e., 1999, 2001, 2003, etc..) and is supplemented in even years. Iowa has a liberal populist tradition, but now is fairly evenly divided between the two major political parties. The state supported Democrats in the presidential contests from 1988 through 2000. It was one of only two states that supported Democrat Al Gore that switched to supporting George W. Bush in 2004. President Bush narrowly won the state's 7 electoral votes by a margin of 0.7 percentage points with 49.9% of the vote. Democratic strength is concentrated in the eastern region of the state and in Des Moines. Iowa is an alcohol monopoly or Alcoholic beverage control state. The state gets considerable attention every four years because it holds the first presidential caucus, a gathering of voters to select delegates to the state convention. Along with the New Hampshire primary a week later, it has become the starting gun for choosing the two major-party candidates for president. The caucus, held in January of the election year, involves people gathering in homes or public places and choosing their candidate, rather than casting secret ballots, as is done in a primary election. The national and international media give Iowa (and New Hampshire) about half of all the attention accorded the national candidate selection process, which gives the voters enormous leverage. Some candidates decide to skip the Iowa caucus, especially those who oppose ethanol subsidies, and use their resources in other early states such as New Hampshire and South Carolina. Those who enter the caucus race often expend enormous effort to reach voters in each of Iowa's 99 counties.




The state's total gross state product for 2003 was US$103 billion. Its per capita income for 2003 was US$28,340. Iowa's main agricultural outputs are hogs, corn, soybeans, oats, cattle and dairy products. Its industrial outputs are food processing, machinery, electric equipment, chemical products, publishing and primary metals. Iowa produces the nation's largest amount of ethanol. Des Moines also serves as a center for the insurance industry.