Number 4 of 99: Taylor County

Previous installments in this series can be found here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

This week I will review our fourth-smallest county in terms of population, Taylor County. The 2010 census found 6,317 people living in the entire 532 square miles (36th smallest) that are within Taylor County. Taylor County is south and west of Des Moines. It borders on two of the other sparsely populated counties we have already reviewed, Adams and Ringgold.

According to Google Maps, the county seat of Taylor County, Bedford, is 115 road miles from the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines. Taylor County was founded in 1847 when it was separated from Page County and was named after General (and soon to be president) Zachary Taylor.

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Up Next- Audubon County (3/99)

Continuing a 99-part series. You can find previous entries here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

This week I will review our third-smallest county in terms of population, Audubon County.

The 2010 census found 6,119 people living in the entire 443 square miles (22nd smallest) that are within Audubon County. Audubon County is directly west of Des Moines. According to Google Maps, the county seat of Audubon County, Audubon, is 84.8 road miles from the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines.

Audubon County was founded in 1851 when it was split from Pottawattamie County. And yes, it was named after John James Audubon. The highest population in the county was 13,626 in the 1900 census. Audubon County has lost population in every census since that time. The racial makeup of the county was 99.17 percent white, 0.15 percent Black or African-American, 0.09 percent Native American, 0.19 percent Asian, 0.03 percent from other races, and 0.38 percent from two or more races. 0.48 percent of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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A look at Jefferson County, Iowa

A former southeast Iowa resident shares insight into an unusual rural county, where Trump supporters campaigned on a unique message. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Given the increasing attention being paid to the continuing decline of rural Iowa, Jefferson County is an interesting absurdity among these conversations and the 2016 presidential election.

Jefferson County, population 16,843, is a mesh of traditional rural Iowa and a hot pot coalition of Transcendental Meditation followers from around the globe. Fairfield, the county seat, is more than 60 miles to the nearest urban center and stands out as the rare rural Iowa community that has gained population in recent years: a 4 percent population increase between 2010-2014, according to a questionable census report. (Questionable because a portion of the census’s reported increase in residents may be international students who took classes in Fairfield, but live in other states for the majority of their student/work visa.)

Fairfield is also known for its progressive views on organic farming and green energy, as well as residents’ higher than average educational attainment and religious diversity. Given those facts, Jefferson County should have been an easy win for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton coalition in 2016. As it has been reliably, other than in 2000, when the Natural Law Party’s John Hagelin won 15 percent of the vote, shifting the county from the Al Gore to the George Bush column. Instead, Clinton lost Jefferson County to Donald Trump by 38 votes.

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How The Rust Belt Won Donald Trump The Presidency

Grant Gregory is a recent graduate who has worked on several Iowa campaigns. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Donald Trump won the presidency on November 8 because independent and Democratic voters who supported President Barack Obama in 2012 shifted their vote for Donald in 2016. Middle-class Americans flipped the switch on party identity and flocked to the anti-establishment candidate in a fantastic fashion. In fact, 37 states shifted to the right from 2012 in 2016, despite Obama approval ratings hovering around 56 percent, according to Gallup.

A combination of race, education, and incomes all likely determined the tremendous swing from Democratic strongholds, but Iowa was unique in that it demographically aligned almost perfectly with the Trump brand. Iowa shifted more than any other swing state in the country, voting +5.8 percent Obama in 2012 and +9.4 percent Trump in 2016, a total margin shift of 15.2 percent, according to David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.

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The 16 Bleeding Heartland posts I worked hardest on in 2016

For the first time last year, I put some thought into what posts had consumed the greatest amount of my energy. I realized that some of those deep dives were among my most satisfying writing projects. That new awareness informed my editorial choices in good and bad ways. Unfortunately, some election-related stories I would have covered in previous cycles didn’t get written in 2016, because I was immersed in other topics. On the plus side, those rabbit holes led to work I’m proud to have published.

Assembling this post was more challenging than last year’s version. Several pieces that would have been among my most labor-intensive in another year didn’t make the cut. A couple of posts that might have made the top ten were not ready to go before the holidays. Maybe they will end up in a future collection of seventeen posts I worked hardest on in 2017.

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Next we visit Ringgold County, Iowa

Part 2 in a planned 99-part series profiling each of Iowa’s counties before the 2018 general election. Last week’s post on Adams County is here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

This week I will review our second smallest county in terms of population, Ringgold County.

The 2010 census found 5,131 people living in the entire 539 square miles that are within Ringgold County. Ringgold County is located south and west of Des Moines. According to Google Maps, the county seat of Ringgold County, Mounty Ayr, is 89.2 road miles from the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines. Ringgold County was founded in 1847 when it was split from Des Moines County. The highest population in the county was 15,325 in the 1900 census. Ringgold County has lost population in every census since that time except for less than 1% increases from the previous census in the 1920 and 2000 censuses.

The racial makeup of the county in the 2010 census was 99.07% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.02% from other races, and 0.42% from two or more races. 0.24% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. An extremely non-diverse county in terms of race.

14.3 percent of the population live in households with income at or below the poverty level. The per capita income was estimated at $29,468 which ranks 93rd of 99 in counties in Iowa. Ringgold County had the 12th lowest unemployment rate in 2010, 4.7%. (As of November 2016 the unemployment rate was 2.7%.) In terms of educational attainment, Ringgold County has the 21st highest rate of residents having received a bachelors degree or higher, 20.8 percent.

Ringgold County is currently a part of the 3rd congressional district, represented by David Young-R since 2015. Currently Ringgold County is a part of the 12th District in the Iowa Senate represented by Mark Costello-R and part of the 24th District in the Iowa House of Representatives represented by Cecile Dolecheck-R.

Recent election results are after the jump.

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