Two Iowa metros on list of ten "worst cities for black Americans"

The Des Moines metro area has made plenty of "best places" lists during the last five years, but Chamber of Commerce types won’t be bragging about the top ten ranking that appeared last week. After examining "the disparities between white and black Americans in several economic and social measures" across the country, Thomas C. Frohlich and Sam Stebbins of the 24/7 Wall St. website "identified the 10 worst cities for black Americans." The authors noted, "Four of the cities with the worst racial inequality are in Illinois, two are in Iowa, and all are in the Midwest."

Follow me after the jump to learn why the Des Moines metro area ranked ninth and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro area tenth on this list.

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New report belies Steve King's scaremongering on immigration

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

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"

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

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

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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