By John Speer
When taking over the reins in Iowa in January, 2011, Governor Terry Branstad set some big goals - adding 200,000 new jobs, bumping family income 25 percent and returning Iowa to No. 1 in the U.S. educational ranks. He also called for slashing government costs by 15 percent.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad
In an appearance in Toledo on Nov. 15 focused on educational reforms, Branstad said the plan wouldn't happen overnight, but set a 10 year target for the sought-after results.
A joint report released last month by Iowa Workforce Development and iowa Economic Development contains an analysis of jobs and education in the state by region and county.
Tama County was included in the status report for the region which also has Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw and Grundy county data. The report says the information is based upon December, 2010, figures in most cases, but says some of the information is updated and from more recent sources.
There's both highs and lows for Tama County in this regional data the high school graduation rate of 91 percent is above the state average of 87.8 percent and ACT test scores average 22.3, second in the seven-county region, and above the Iowa average of 22.2 and nation - 21.0.
The county also shows a great diversity in population compared to the region and state as a whole.
The population breakdown by race in 2010 shows white alone - 86.5%, black- 0.3%, Asian / Pacific Islander- 0.3% and other- 12.9%.
The median household income for Tama County stood at $48,833 in 2010, above the Iowa averageof $48,031. The growth was 26.5 percent over the 10-year period beginning in the year 2000. State-wide the median household income growth was 18.8 percent and was 19.2 percent in the U.S.
However, the report says the region has a large proportion of households having an income of $50,000 or more per year. In Tama County the breakdown for 2010 as: $100,000 + - 12.3%, $50,000-$99,000- 33.4%, $35,000-$49,000- 18%, $15,000-$34,000- 26.2% and $0-$14,000-10%.
On the minus side, Tama County had an average weekly income totaling $583 - the lowest of the seven county region. It is noted the county "has been hit the hardest by layoffs" with 12-18 percent being affected over a 20-year period beginning in 1991.
In 2011, Tama county had the highest average unemployment rate of the seven county region at 6.9 percent. The state-wide average was 5.9 percent according to the report.
Tama County had the highest urban and rural property taxes in the seven county region - average $7.01 urban and $10.60 rural.
More Tama County information contained in the Workforce and Economic Development Regional Status Report:
Farm employment - Year 2000 - 76.1 persons per 1,000 population, 2010- 64.5 per 1,000 pop.
24.2 percent or 1,182 persons employed in accommodations and food services
11 percent or 535 government employees
K-12 school enrollment - year 2000- 3,338 students, 2010- 2,438 students.
Tama County Hispanic / Latino population- Year 2000 3.6 percent, 2010- 7.4 percent.
Tama County - median age - 41.8 years, Iowa 38.1, U.S. 37.1
Age distribution- 2010- 65 years+ - 18.4 percent; 45-64- 27.3; 25-44- 21.9; 15-24- 11.8; 0-14- 20.6.
loss 0f 1.9 percent in total population between 2000-10.