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The State of the State

Chronicle Guest View- in the Public Interest

April 26, 2011
By Amy K. Frantz and Jennifer L. Crull
In our recent POLICY STUDY, The State of the State, Public Interest Institute examines each county’s population, median household income, average annual wage of the private sector and government sector, and average state tax burden per taxpayer. It also looks at how these numbers have changed in each county since 2000. Finally, we present an employment overview for various sectors of the economy, including government, construction, manufacturing, farm employment, financial activities, and service. Below is an overview of some of the data presented in The State of the State POLICY STUDY.

Population: How do Iowa’s counties compare in population gain or loss since 2000? Only 22 Iowa counties had a population gain over the last decade, led by Dallas County, home of the Jordan Creek Shopping Center and other retail development, with a population gain of 52.02 percent. The other 77 counties all lost population, ranging from Marshall County, with a loss of 0.13 percent, to 13 counties with a double-digit population loss, led by Pocahontas County, with a loss of population of 15.19 percent.

Employment: Total employment in the state of Iowa has risen from 1,920,708 in 2000 to 2,025,350 in 2008, a gain of 104,642 jobs or an increase of 5.45 percent. However, this gain was not spread evenly around the state – 53 of Iowa’s counties increased total employment from 2000 to 2008, while 46 counties saw a decrease in total employment. Also of note is that this report uses the latest data available for county employment, from 2008. However, with the continuing recession and economic downturn, it is certain that employment figures that become available in the next year or two will reflect the continuing rise in unemployment and decrease in total employment.

State Tax Burden: Every county in Iowa but one – Montgomery County – saw the average state tax burden per taxpayer increase from 2000 to 2008. Montgomery County taxpayers’ average state tax burden per taxpayer fell by 11.45 percent from 2000 to 2008. In the other 98 Iowa counties, the increase in the average state tax burden per taxpayer rose, from an increase of 79.27 percent in Chickasaw County to an increase of 4.28 percent in Iowa County.

In our The State of the State POLICY STUDY, Public Interest Institute has provided a look at economic indicators for each of the 99 counties in Iowa, allowing the reader to see a snapshot of information for each county, as well as to compare the counties in key areas. How does your county rank against the other counties of Iowa?

Amy K. Frantz is research vice-president and Jennifer L. Crull is IT specialist at the Public Interest Institute in Mount Pleasant.


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