William Petroski published a good article in yesterday’s Des Moines Register about Latino population growth in Iowa. I recommend clicking through to read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Iowa’s Latino population totaled 134,402 for the 12 months ending July 1, 2009. That was up 5 percent, or an increase of 6,488 people, compared to a year earlier.
Over the past two decades, Iowa’s Latino population has quadrupled. […]
Besides immigration from other countries and migration from other states, two key factors are driving growth: Most Latinos moving to Iowa are young people, and they have high fertility rates, said Sandra Burke, a demographer at Iowa State University’s Community Vitality Center. At least half or more of the growth of Iowa’s Latino population is from births, she said.
The median age of Iowa Latinos is 22.9 years, while the median age for all Iowans is 38, according to the State Data Center of Iowa. Meanwhile, the average family size for Iowa Latinos is 3.5, while the average family size among all Iowans is 2.9.
A wonderful place to raise a family
Many Latinos are joining family members already here, said Sandra Sanchez of Des Moines, chairwoman of the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs.
“Iowa is really a wonderful place to raise a family,” often better than in large cities such as Los Angeles or Chicago, said Sanchez, who is also director of the Immigrant Voice Program of the American Friends Service Committee.
Latinos now make up about 4.5 percent of Iowa’s population. This map at the Des Moines Register’s site shows the raw population numbers and percentages for all 99 counties. Nearly a quarter of Iowa’s Latino population lives in Polk County, containing Des Moines and most of its suburbs.
In absolute numbers, the ten Iowa counties with the largest Latino populations are Polk, Woodbury, Scott, Muscatine, Marshall, Linn, Johnson, Buena Vista, Pottawatamie and Dallas.
The Iowa counties with the largest percentage of Latino residents are Crawford and Buena Vista (tied at 22 percent), Louisa (17 percent), Marshall (16 percent), Muscatine (15 percent), Franklin (14 percent), Woodbury (12 percent), Wright (10 percent), and Allamakee (9 percent). In addition, Latinos comprise at least 5 percent of the population in eleven other counties. See the Register’s map for county numbers from the latest census estimates.