DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) – The state of Iowa is still waiting to learn what preliminary census data from the past decade will mean for the state.
What is known is that Iowa will keep its four U.S. congressional seats, but lawmakers will wait for final census results before they approve the plan that will re-draw the district boundaries.
The state is growing, but Joe Murphy of the Iowa Business Council questions whether it’s fast enough.
“That’s not necessarily a good trendline for Iowa. That’s only about 14,000 people per year that we’ve added to our population. That’s incredibly concerning when you think about the future economic trajectories of this state,” Murphy said.
The newest data show that Iowa’s population has grown by 4.7% over the past 10 years. That’s slower than the average but still faster than some other Midwestern states.
Most of that growth has been for Iowa’s urban areas. Des Moines grew by 15% and Iowa City by 13%. Iowa State Professor David Peters says it all comes down to jobs.
“Yeah, it is a jobs issue, right? The jobs are in the metro areas, and our kids have the skills to get those high-paying professional jobs, and that’s where they move t,” Peters said.
And many of those employers feel good about the future. The Iowa Business Council says its members are largely optimistic about the next six months, but many say their biggest concern is not having enough workers.