Fremont County, the southwest corner of Iowa. Number 9 in population

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This week I will review our ninth-smallest county in terms of population, Fremont County. The 2010 census found 7,441 people living in the entire 517 square miles of the county, the 34th largest in Iowa. To put this in perspective, Fremont County is roughly equal in population to the city of Knoxville (Marion County).

Fremont County is southwest of Des Moines; it is located the extreme southwest corner of Iowa. According to Google Maps, the county seat of Fremont County, Fremont, is 166 road miles from the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines.

Fremont County was founded in 1847 when it was formed from Pottawattamie County. The county was named after the John C. Fremont, the early American Explorer.

The highest population in Fremont County (18,546) was in the 1900 census. The county has lost population in every census since that time, and in 2010 had roughly half the population that it had in 1940.

The racial makeup of the county was 98.01 percent White, 0.04 percent Black or African American, 0.24 percent Native American, 0.24 percent Asian, 0.96 percent from other races, and 0.51 percent from two or more races. 2.17 percent of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Some 6.5 percent of the population lives in households with income at or below the poverty level. Average personal income was estimated at $41,968 which was the 16th highest of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Fremont County had the 41st lowest unemployment rate in 2010 (tied with one other), 5.1 percent. (As of December 2016 the unemployment rate was 3.0 percent.)

In terms of educational attainment, Fremont County has the 49th lowest rate of residents having received a bachelor’s degree or higher, 17.4 percent. Almost right in the middle of the rankings. The overall rate in Iowa is 24.8 percent, as a comparison.

Fremont County is currently a part of the third Congressional district and has been represented by David Young (R) since 2015. Currently Fremont County is a part of Iowa Senate district 12, represented by Mark Costello (R) and part of Iowa House district 23, represented by David Sieck (R).

2016 Elections Results
Donald Trump 2,407 (67 percent) Hillary Clinton 963 (26.8 percent) Others 225 (6.2 percent)
US Senate Chuck Grassley 2,562 (73.52 percent) Patty Judge 735 (21.1 percent) Others 188 (5.38 percent)
US House David Young 2,477 (71.45 percent) Jim Mower 714 (20.6 percent) Other 309 (7.95 percent)
Iowa Senate- Mark Costello 2476 (89.81 percent) Don Brantz 727 (L). NO DEMOCRAT
Iowa House- David Sieck 2427 (72.1 percent) Craig Florian (D) 938 (27.9 percent)

Since 1960, the Republican Nominee has carried Fremont County 14 times and the Democratic Nominee 1 time in the 1964 Lyndon Johnson landslide. Romney carried Fremont County in 2012 by 9 percent while Trump won in 2016 with a 40.2 percent advantage!

The Fremont County Board of Supervisors is composed of 3 Republicans. All offices are held by Republicans.

Looking back at the 2014 elections, Joni Ernst carried Fremont County with 65.44 percent of the vote against Bruce Braley, and Governor Terry Branstad received 72.75 percent against Jack Hatch, so Democrats losing in the county by wide margins is a continuing trend.

While Fremont County was an another electoral disaster for Democrats in 2016, this is nothing new as the only recent time a Democrat has carried the county was in the national landslide in 1964.

Many 2016 election post mortems have pointed out the disastrous (for Democrats) collapse of support in rural areas that have little demographic diversity. Fremont County is an yet another example where this problem is long standing, and 2016 was marginally worse than recent elections. Democrats cannot expect to find electoral success when losing counties by 40 percent in presidential elections, 54 percent in Senate elections, 52 percent in House elections and definitely not by failing to have a candidate for Iowa Senate races.

Next week: Van Buren County.

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