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New report belies Steve King's scaremongering on immigration

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Sep 22, 2015 at 09:28:45 AM CDT

Representative Steve King owes much of his political notoriety to hyping alleged threats posed by immigrants. From being the Iowa legislature's leading advocate for an "official English" law to sparking a national uproar over his claim that there are 100 drug mules for every "DREAMer" who's a valedictorian, King is a voice for those who believe immigrants--particularly Hispanic immigrants and their progeny--may drag the U.S. down to "Third World status." His official Congressional website features a section on "illegal immigration stories," highlighting violent crimes committed by people not authorized to live in this country. He is the primary Congressional sponsor of legislation to end birthright citizenship, a stance that is becoming more mainstream in the Republican Party. He led the successful fight to prevent DREAMers covered under President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from enlisting in the U.S. military.

Yet a new report on "The Integration of Immigrants into American Society" belies most of King's scaremongering about demographic shifts in the U.S. population. Julia Preston summarized the report's highlights for the New York Times.

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Steve King's stand on birthright citizenship more mainstream than ever in GOP

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Aug 19, 2015 at 11:34:17 AM CDT

Just four years ago, Representative Steve King's commitment to ending birthright citizenship was considered such a political liability for Republicans that King was passed over to chair the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on immigration.

Now a growing number of Republican presidential candidates would end birthright citizenship for children born to parents not authorized to live in the U.S. In fact, GOP presidential contenders who share King's perspective outnumber those who are willing to defend current law, which has been settled for more than a century.

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Two perspectives on "Why Latinos don't caucus in Iowa"

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jul 29, 2015 at 07:20:02 AM CDT

This week's must-read piece for any Iowa politics watcher is by Matt Vasilogambros for the National Journal: "Why Latinos Don't Caucus in Iowa." The short answer: "no one asked them." You should click through to read the fuller explanation. I've posted a few excerpts after the jump.

I also enclose below comments from Christian Ucles on Vasilogambros's article. A native of Honduras who grew up in Iowa, Ucles has worked on campaigns in Texas and Minnesota as well as in our state. He is currently the political director for the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa.  

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Weekend open thread: "Demographics are destiny" edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 12:35:00 PM CDT

All topics are welcome in this open thread. Representative Steve King (R, IA-04) inspired the unifying theme of this weekend's post, when he approvingly linked to this recent article by Heather Mac Donald called "Practical Thoughts on Immigration." King commented, "USA declining 2 Third World status bc shrinking %age who would reverse course don't realize demographics r destiny." At this writing, King has not responded to my request that he clarify whether he meant to say that a U.S. where non-Hispanic whites are a minority would inevitably sink to "Third World status."

Meanwhile, the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that immigration contributed greatly to Iowa's population growth of 2 percent between 2010 and July 1, 2014.

After the jump I've enclosed a map showing the latest Iowa county population estimates, some links on the Census Bureau data, and excerpts from Mac Donald's commentary, which struck a chord with King.

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Two views of changing Iowa demographics

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 19:14:56 PM CDT

Today's Des Moines Register features a long front-page story by Daniel Finney and Jeffrey Kummer on Storm Lake (Buena Vista County) as one of Iowa's most diverse communities, and expected trends in the state's demographics between now and 2020. I encourage you to click through and read the whole thing. After the jump I've enclosed a few excerpts and one graphic from the feature. Separate, shorter pieces examine diversity trends in the Des Moines metro area (Polk and Dallas counties), Webster County (including the Fort Dodge area), and Butler County (the least diverse in Iowa).  

On Monday, Michael Barbaro of the New York Times examined Iowa's population shift from rural to urban and suburban areas as "a potent but unpredictable undercurrent in a closely fought Senate race." I've enclosed a few excerpts at the end of this post. Barbaro interviewed people northwest Iowa's heavily white Pocahontas County, as well as in downtown Des Moines, the far western suburbs in Dallas County, and Denison (Crawford County), a town where almost half the residents are Latino.

I spent some time in Denison last fall and was impressed by the vibrant downtown, with more locally-owned shops and restaurants than I've seen in most Iowa towns of similar size. One resident told me that approximately 75 percent of students in Denison's public schools are Latino. That has helped the area avoid the steep enrollment declines and school closures seen in Pocahontas, as Barbaro recounts, and in so many other communities.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.  

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71 percent of Iowa residents were born here

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 20:43:00 PM CDT

Some 71 percent of Iowa residents were born in this state, a higher percentage than in all but six states, according to an interactive graphic at the New York Times website based on data from 2012 (hat tip to the Des Moines Register's Daniel Finney). The states with an even greater proportion of residents born there, as of 2012, were Louisiana (79 percent), Michigan (77 percent), Ohio (75 percent), Pennsylvania (74 percent), and Wisconsin and Mississippi (72 percent each). The states with the lowest percentage of residents born there were Nevada (25 percent), Florida (36 percent), Arizona (38 percent), and Alaska and New Hampshire (42 percent each).

On this page you can view how migration to and from Iowa has changed over the past century. In 1900, following decades of extensive immigration from Europe, only 59 percent of Iowans were born in this state. That figure gradually rose each decade, peaking at 80 percent of Iowa residents being born here as of 1960 and 1970. By the same token, 14 percent of Iowans were born outside the U.S. as of 1900. That figure dropped steadily to a low point of 2 percent from 1960 through 1990. As of 2012, 5 percent of Iowa residents were foreign-born.

Among Iowans who have moved here from other states, those born in other Midwestern states outnumber those from the northeast, south, and west combined.

The percentage of native-born Iowans who have stayed here has fluctuated very little over the last century. At any given point measured, between 58 percent and 64 percent of all Americans born in Iowa were living in Iowa. Patterns of out-migration have changed somewhat. For many decades, a significant number of Iowa-born Americans have settled in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and other Midwestern states. Migration to California peaked in the middle part of the last century. As of 2012, there were more Iowa-born people living in southern states and more in other states in the west than in California. The New York Times comments,

Iowa has been the picture of stability. But the share of its population born in the state is at its lowest point since 1920. [...]

Iowa is unusual in that the overall number of people born in the state is itself declining, leaving fewer people to possibly migrate. The flow out of the state hasn't grown much, though people leaving head south.

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Prospects for increasing diversity in the Iowa legislature

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 08:10:18 AM CDT

Forty men and ten women currently serve in the Iowa Senate. No senators are African-American, Latino, or Asian-American.

Seventy-five men and 25 women currently serve in the Iowa House. Five state representatives are African-American and none are Latino or Asian-American.

Time for a look at how those numbers might change after the November election, now that primaries have determined the major-party nominees in all state legislative districts. Click here for the June 3 unofficial election results and here for the full list of candidates who filed to run in the primaries.

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Third most-commonly spoken language in Iowa homes is...German

by: desmoinesdem

Thu May 15, 2014 at 06:40:00 AM CDT

Ben Blatt put together a fascinating set of maps at Slate using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. Spanish is the second most-commonly spoken language in Iowa homes, as in most of the U.S. I was surprised to see that once English and Spanish are excluded, German is the most commonly-spoken language in Iowa homes. I assume the Amish population in southeast Iowa accounts for that finding, though Blatt's map shows German as the third-most spoken language in a lot of states that don't have a significant Amish community, to my knowledge.

Since Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing demographic group in Iowa, I would have expected some Asian language to rank higher than German on the Census Bureau's survey. (Vietnamese was the result for Nebraska, while Hmong was the result for Minnesota.) Apparently Iowa doesn't have a large enough immigrant community from any one Asian country to exceed the number of German-speakers.

Incidentally, Blatt's other maps indicate that in Iowa, Fox is the most commonly-spoken Native American language, Norwegian is the most commonly-spoken Scandinavian language, Hindi is the most commonly-spoken Indo-Aryan language, and Cushite is the most commonly-spoken African language--though I think "Cushite" refers to a group of east African languages, rather than one distinct language.

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To the Iowans defending Steve King: It's not about you

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 11:28:57 AM CST

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush told a New York audience on Monday

that his party needed to abandon a strategy of appealing to "older white guys" and that it "doesn't take a rocket scientist" to understand that demography matters in politics. [...]

Republicans can't win new voters "by narrowing your party and purifying your party and all this nonsense," he said.
And he blasted some of the rhetoric from congressional Republicans against immigration, such as Iowa Rep. Steve King as "shameful and so insulting ... [it's] totally out of the mainstream of conservative thought."

Iowa blogger Shane Vander Hart fumes,

If [Bush] is running in 2016 then he's running a clinic on how to guarantee one loses the Iowa Caucus.

First lesson if you want to lose attack Congressman Steve King (R-IA).  [...] The grassroots identify with Congressman King and his position on the issues. So when Bush takes a crack at him in New York of all places... well that shows he lacks the sense to run a successful campaign in Iowa.

I doubt Jeb Bush is focused on winning the Iowa caucuses. I think he's focused on the GOP not losing presidential elections until the end of time.

Winning the presidency is not about pandering to social conservatives in Iowa. Republicans can't win just by improving their performance among white voters. They need more support from fast-growing demographic groups. Specifically, as Bush knows very well, they need to do better among Latino voters in Florida. King may have won the battle against comprehensive immigration reform, but his national prominence on this issue is a nightmare for Republican strategists.  

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Report shows persistent racial disparities in U.S.

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:30:00 AM CDT

August 28 will mark 50 years since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's March on Washington, where he delivered his most famous speech. To mark the occasion, the Pew Center released a report on racial disparities (real and perceived) in the U.S.

The analysis finds that the economic gulf between blacks and whites that was present half a century ago largely remains. When it comes to household income and household wealth, the gaps between blacks and whites have widened. On measures such as high school completion and life expectancy, they have narrowed. On other measures, including poverty and homeownership rates, the gaps are roughly the same as they were 40 years ago.

I strongly recommend clicking through to read the full report. What a treasure trove. Chapter 1 covers perceptions of progress toward racial equality. Chapter 2 covers opinions about "short-term progress for black Americans." Chapter 3 "looks at a variety of economic, educational, health, political and social indicators to assess change in the relative well-being of black and white Americans in recent decades." I wasn't surprised to learn that white respondents are much more likely than African-Americans to say that "the situation of black people in this country is better now than it was five years ago." It's striking that only a minority of white respondents perceive that "blacks in their community are treated less fairly than whites by the criminal justice system, in the workplace and when voting in elections."

This slideshow highlights the key findings from the Pew Center's report, and this interactive feature tracks up to 50 years of data on "racial and ethnic gaps among whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics."  

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Steve King faction winning immigration battle in House GOP?

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 14:40:00 PM CDT

One of Representative Steve King's top priorities this year is blocking comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. House. A few months ago, King was concerned that House GOP leaders might cut a deal including "amnesty" for  approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants. He condemned the immigration reform bill U.S. senators approved last month with bipartisan support.

News out of Washington during the last week suggests that King's faction may be on the way to winning their battle to block any legislation outlining a path to citizenship.  

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Weekend open thread: Bad assumptions edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:15:00 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread.

I've been thinking about how bad assumptions produce flawed theories and poor decisions. Steve Denning wrote an excellent piece for Forbes about Milton Friedman and the origin of "the world's dumbest idea": "that the sole purpose of a firm is to make money for its shareholders."

Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for the conservative website RealClearPolitics, recently spun some rosy scenarios for Republicans worried about their party's over-reliance on white voters. GOP candidates would be extremely foolish to count on his "racial polarization" scenario panning out. His "full Rubio" and "modest Republican outreach toward Hispanics" scenarios seem too optimistic to me as well.

High nitrate levels in Iowa waterways continue to make news, as they have for the last two months. I enjoyed this Des Moines Register editorial from Saturday's paper. Excerpt:

During a meeting with The Des Moines Register's editorial board earlier this year, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen made the claim that Iowa's rivers are actually cleaner today than they were in the past. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. But Paulsen's comment speaks to a troubling mentality that permeates the Iowa Legislature: If you just tell Iowans the water is OK often enough, maybe they will believe you and will think the lake they are swimming in doesn't really smell like a toilet.

I don't take my kids swimming in any Iowa lakes, and I won't feel a bit sorry for Paulsen if he runs for Congress and loses the Republican primary, as I expect.

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Census data confirm growing Asian, Latino population in Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:40:00 AM CDT

The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that Asian-Americans are now the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group nationwide and in Iowa. An estimated 60,004 Asian-Americans were living in Iowa as of July 2012, which is 10.6 percent more than the census estimate for 2010 and 4.8 percent more than the estimate for 2011. Sanjita Shrestha, who leads the Iowa Department of Human Rights' Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, told Radio Iowa that "many Asians who come here are reuniting with family members and finding jobs." The largest numbers of Asian-Americans live in five Iowa counties: Polk, Johnson, Story, Linn and Scott. A map on the Cedar Rapids Gazette website shows that there are also relatively high percentages of Asian-Americans in some smaller counties such as Jefferson (where Fairfield is located) and Buena Vista.

There are still many more Latinos in Iowa than Asian-Americans, and Latino population growth continues to outpace population growth statewide. Ed Tibbetts reported for the Quad-City Times that census data show 162,894 Latinos were living in Iowa as of July 2012.

That's a 3.2 percent increase from the year before, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, which are being released today. The increase was 10 times the estimated boost in the state's overall population for the year. [...]

The new Census data says 25 of Iowa's 99 counties now have at least 5 percent of their population made up of Latinos, up from 15 just five years ago. Latinos make up 10 percent of the population in 10 counties, up from seven in 2008.

Muscatine County is approximately 16.5 percent Latino according to the new census estimates. In terms of raw numbers, the counties with the largest Latino populations are Polk, Woodbury, Scott, Marshall, Muscatine, and Johnson.

After non-Hispanic whites and Latinos, African-Americans are the third-largest racial group in Iowa. According to the latest census data, "Iowa's African-American population grew by 2.3 percent [from mid-2011 to mid-2012] to 97,080, with Polk, Johnson and Scott counties accounting for more than half the growth."

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GOP "autopsy" discussion thread (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 16:40:00 PM CDT

The Republican National Committee released a so-called "autopsy" on the 2012 election results today. You can read the full report on the "Growth and Opportunity Project" here. I've posted a few excerpts, links and thoughts after the jump.

Any comments about the GOP's rebuilding and rebranding effort are welcome in this thread.

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New contender emerges as most clueless Iowa legislator

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:30:00 AM CDT

Anyone who follows the Iowa legislature has frequent occasion to wonder how someone that ignorant got elected to the Iowa House or Senate. But every once in a while, a spectacularly clueless act grabs our attention. Last week a little-known first-term state representative made himself a contender for the title of Iowa's most clueless lawmaker.

UPDATE: Not so fast--see today's news, added at the end of this post.

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Weekend open thread: Health and happiness edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 10:05:00 AM CDT

Happy St. Patrick's Day to Bleeding Heartland readers who celebrate the occasion. This is an open thread; all topics are welcome. For a laugh, enjoy The Onion's recent write-up of Iowa fashion week: "The big themes this season are 'roomy,' 'loose,' and 'comfortable.'"

After the jump I've posted a few links about health and happiness, including details from Gallup's 2012 report on well-being in the United States. Iowa ranked ninth on the "Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index" but was not one of the "elite five states" that have shown consistently high levels of resident well-being over five years.

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Weekend open thread: Iowa demographics edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 20:55:54 PM CST

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? A few links related to Iowa demographics are after the jump, along with highlights from this week's "Iowa Press" program, featuring Republican Party of Iowa Chair A.J. Spiker and Iowa Democratic Party Chair Tyler Olson.

This is an open thread.

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Five takes on Asian Americans trending Democratic

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:35:00 AM CST

President Barack Obama's 50-point edge over Mitt Romney among Asian American voters was one of the most surprising election results for me. Growing up during the 1980s, it seemed like all of my Asian American friends' parents were Republicans. Bill Clinton received an estimated 31 percent of the Asian American vote in 1992, compared to 62 percent for Obama in 2008 and 73 percent for Obama this year.

Since the election, I've read several attempts to explain this trend. The most interesting links are after the jump.

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Mitt Romney sore loser discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 20:06:51 PM CST

He should have quit while he was behind, but Mitt Romney stepped in it again this week during a conference call with major Republican donors.
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Iowa census numbers discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 07:57:44 AM CST

The U.S. Census Bureau released a ton of new Iowa demographic information yesterday.

Data for Iowa show that the five most populous incorporated places and their 2010 Census counts are Des Moines, 203,433; Cedar Rapids, 126,326; Davenport, 99,685; Sioux City, 82,684; and Waterloo, 68,406. Des Moines grew by 2.4 percent since the 2000 Census. Cedar Rapids grew by 4.6 percent, Davenport grew by 1.3 percent, Sioux City decreased by 2.7 percent and Waterloo decreased by 0.5 percent.

The largest county is Polk with a population of 430,640. Its population grew by 15.0 percent since 2000. The other counties in the top five include Linn, with a population of 211,226 (increase of 10.2 percent); Scott, 165,224 (increase of 4.1 percent); Black Hawk, 131,090 (increase of 2.4 percent); and Johnson, 130,882 (increase of 17.9 percent).

Click here to find the Iowa numbers and charts. I haven't had as much time as I'd like to look through the data, but I'm posting a few starting points for discussion here.

Rick Smith's piece on growth in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor is worth a read. I'm not surprised Linn County grew substantially during the decade, especially in the suburbs, but the population growth in Cedar Rapids itself is impressive. I didn't expect to see that after the 2008 floods destroyed whole neighborhoods in the city.

After the jump I've posted official 2010 population numbers for all 99 Iowa counties, along with a map putting the counties in different population categories and a map grouping counties by population gain or loss (percentage). Ten Iowa counties have populations larger than 65,000 people. Another 14 counties have populations between 25,000 and 64,999; 29 counties have populations between 15,000 and 24,999; and 46 counties have populations between 4,029 (Adams) and 14,999. Dallas led the 33 Iowa counties that gained population between 2000 and 2010.

Although I wasn't able to reproduce this chart showing the racial and ethnic breakdown of the Iowa population by Congressional district, I did include those numbers at the end of this post. I was surprised to see that even though Polk County has the largest Latino/Hispanic population in Iowa, there are more Latino/Hispanic residents in IA-05 than in IA-03, with IA-02 and IA-04 not far behind. Meanwhile, IA-01 has the smallest Latino/Hispanic population but the largest African-American population. The largest Asian population is in IA-03 with IA-02 not far behind. View the chart here or scroll down for more details.

Share any thoughts about the census data or details that caught your eye in this thread. For example, the Newton Independent posted 2000 and 2010 numbers for Jasper County and area cities.

UPDATE: The Des Moines Register has lots of census coverage here. Statewide, Iowa's population grew by 4.1 percent from 2000 to 2010. The Latino population was up by 83.8 percent, the Asian population was up by 44.9 percent, and the African-American population was up by 44.1 percent.

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