Monday, October 25, 2021

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Feature Story

Records and Rankings


Humans yearn for orderliness: Where do things stand?… How high are those things stacked?… How far away is this?… What’s the pecking order of that?

After understanding where stuff is in relation to other stuff, then our minds are free to ponder: Why?… What can we do to improve?… Who is to blame?

But for this particular issue, CITYVIEW focused primarily on metrics: Is Iowa the seventh fattest state in the nation? Does Des Moines’ population outnumber its five largest suburbs?… Plus we put in a little bit of trivia, such as: Which Iowa native holds the distinction of being the first-ever NFL draft pick and the first player to win a Heisman Trophy? (Hint: He never played a down in the NFL, and he is NOT from Adel.)

The following pages include measurements, local records and rankings. Who did what, where and how high while going against such-and-such odds? Central Iowa by the numbers? Ready or not… Here we go!

A place to grow

Every 9 seconds, on average, one new baby boy or baby girl breathes its first gasp of air and populates the “Home of the Brave.”

Prep Iowa

Every 11 seconds, on average, the nation’s number diminishes by one as someone exhales his or her last breath.

Every 44 seconds, on average, the U.S. grows by one net international migrant.

After all these ups and downs are rounded out, the U.S. population grows by one additional person every 24 seconds, on average, and it now totals more than 330 million people. During the time between the 2010 U.S Census and its estimates dated July 1, 2018, the U.S. population has grown 6 percent, and it is the third most populous country in the world. China and India rank No. 1 and No. 2 respectively.

Iowa’s favorite condiment is Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Dressing Buttermilk. This was the conclusion of Influenster based upon more than 50,000 Influenster reviews. The ratings website analyzed the most popular condiments for each state.

6 percent is the national standard for growth…

Have local entities kept up?

The State of Iowa grew only half as fast as the national average: 3.2 million people populate Iowa. This represents a 3.6 percent increase — nearly 110,000 people — since the 2010 census.

Polk County doubled the national pace: 487,204 people populate Polk County. This represents a 13.1 percent increase since the 2010 census.

Des Moines proper held about even with the nation: 216,853 people populate the city of Des Moines. This represents a 6.2 percent increase since the 2010 census. This is roughly the same as the national numbers.

Combined, the Des Moines/West Des Moines Metro Area is the fastest growing metropolitan statistical region in Iowa, growing by 15 percent during that span; the Iowa City Metro Area placed next, posting a 13.6 percent increase, followed by the Ames Metro Area, which put up a 9.6 percent growth number. But none of the aforementioned cities can match the growth of Dallas County.

Dallas County’s population grew by 36 percent since 2010, making it the eighth fastest growing county in the nation, according to The State Data Center’s 2018 county and metropolitan estimates made via the U.S. Census Bureau. The next fastest growing counties in Iowa grew less than half as rapidly: Johnson County registered a 15.6 percent increase since 2010; Polk County posted a 13 percent increase since 2010.* Dallas County’s population now exceeds 90,000.

In 2017, nearly 34 percent of non-pregnant adult Iowans were overweight and 36 percent were obese, based on BMI. The combined
percentage of individuals who were overweight or obese was 70 percent. The numbers for 2018 were slightly better, but Iowa still rated
as the seventh most obese state in the nation.
Source: and

Some Iowa shrinkage

More than half of Iowa’s population — 52.8 percent — resides in 10 of the state’s 99 counties: Polk, Linn, Scott, Johnson, Black Hawk, Woodbury, Story, Dubuque, Pottawattamie, Dallas.* Meanwhile, some of Iowa’s other counties are struggling.

Eighty counties in Iowa have experienced negative net migration, meaning more people moved away from the county than to it.*

Sixty-nine of Iowa’s 99 counties have had population decreases since 2010. Emmet County lost more than 10 percent of its population during that time, which is the steepest rate of decline in the state. Clinton County had the greatest population decline, losing 2,599 people.*

The “Central Iowa 9”

(individual estimated populations)
If you combine the populations of Polk County and its eight surrounding counties, nearly 900,000 people live in the “Central Iowa 9,” and that equates to 28 percent of Iowa’s total population…

26,346 Boone County
90,180 Dallas County
37,147 Jasper County
16,249 Madison County
33,407 Marion County
39,981 Marshall County
487,204 Polk County
98,105 Story County
51,056 Warren County
879,675 Total estimated population of Polk County plus its eight surrounding counties.

Des Moines has the eighth worst automobile drivers in the nation, according to Local residents are 88 percent more likely to receive a speeding ticket than the average driver and 25 percent more likely to get in an at-fault accident than the average driver.

The “Big 5” suburbs

An estimated 80,000 workers pour into downtown Des Moines for work each week. The city has one of the highest per-capita rates of downtown commuter employment in the country. Central Iowa enjoys commutes that are generally shorter than the time it takes to cook a pizza — 18-22 minutes — and this is one reason that central Iowa’s suburbs are booming. Five central Iowa suburbs have a population greater than 20,000.

66,641 West Des Moines
65,284 Ankeny
43,949 Urbandale
22,810 Waukee
22,040 Johnston
220,724 The total combined population of The Big 5 exceeds that of Des Moines proper (216,853 people), and together they grew at four times the national average 27.7 percent Rate of growth since 2010 for the combined population of West Des Moines, Ankeny, Urbandale, Waukee and Johnston. 65.4 percent Waukee has grown an estimated 65.4 percent from the 2010 census.

WAUKEE YOUTH MOVEMENT… 31.6 percent, or nearly one-third of Waukee’s population, is 18 or younger. That is the highest rate of youth within the Big 5 and is significantly higher than Des Moines’ 24.4 percent. Waukee is the only suburb of the Big 5 to exceed 27 percent.

URBANDALE SILVER-HAWKS… 13.7 percent of people living within Urbandale are 65-plus. Urbandale has the highest percentage of 65-plus people of the municipalities in the area with 20,000 or more residents. In contrast, Waukee has 9 percent.

JOHNSTON GENDER GAP… 52.4 percent of Johnston residents are female — the highest rate of the Big 5. Two other nearby towns, Grimes and Winterset, check in at 54 percent female.

Poverty by the numbers

6.2 percent West Des Moines reported the highest poverty rate of central Iowa’s five biggest suburbs.***

3.5 percent Waukee’s poverty rate of 3.5 percent is the lowest of the five.***

18.1 percent The Census Bureau states that Des Moines proper has a poverty rate of more than 18 percent.***

***The Census Bureau cautions against comparing this number to the poverty rates of other municipalities due to non-uniform methods of gathering data.

We appreciate your service!

9,679 veterans live in The Big 5 vs. 10,348 veterans reside in Des Moines proper

Unless otherwise noted, the preceding facts were derived from:


Top baby names

Girl and boy names chosen for Iowa babies in 2018.



Source: Vital Statistics of Iowa in Brief – 2018 Provisional Data:

Two in five Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, according to “2019 Cancer Iowa,” published by the University of Iowa.

Top 10 causes of death in Iowa

Rate/Ratio                                                            Cause                          Number per 100,000
Heart Disease                                                       7,078                           224.3
Cancer                                                                 6,342                           200.9
Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases                        1,844                           58.4
Alzheimer’s Disease                                               1,430                           45.3
Unintentional Injuries                                            1,407                           44.6
Cerebrovascular Disease                                        1,403                           44.5
Diabetes Mellitus                                                   884                             28.0
Influenza and Pneumonia                                       688                             21.8
All Infective and Parasitic Diseases                          186                             5.9
Source: Vital Statistics of Iowa in Brief (2018 provisional data)


Cancer is expected to surpass “Diseases of the Heart” as the No. 1 killer of Iowa residents, according to “Iowa Health Factbook” last updated March 2018. (

As of 2017, 60 percent of Iowa adults have had at least one drink of alcohol within the past 30 days. This number is up from 55 percent in 1999. 66 percent of male Iowans answered in the affirmative for 2017.
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

27.5 percent Iowa males admitted to binge drinking in 2017 — having five or more drinks on one occasion.
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

19.1 percent of Des Moines/West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area residents who consumed vegetables less than one time per day in 2017.
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

60/40 SPLIT: Of the 104 Iowa homicides in 2017, 62 were by firearm, the other 40 percent of homicides were accomplished without firearms.
Source: IDPH Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Health Statistics, 2017 Vital Statistics of Iowa

495 VS. 83**

Nearly 500 suicides occurred in Iowa in 2018; 83 died by way of homicide and legal intervention.

82 percent of Iowa residents who took their own life were male.

68 percent of Iowa residents who died by way of homicide or legal intervention were male.

Births to “out-of-wedlock” parents**

6 percent Iowa births in 1968 to “out-of-wedlock” parents (2,960/46,737)

18 percent Iowa births in 1988 to “out-of-wedlock” parents (6,730/38,070)

35 percent Iowa births in 2018 to “out-of-wedlock” parents (13,103/37,709)

1. China 1.39 billion
2. India 1.31 billion
3. United States 332 million
4. Indonesia 265 million
5. Pakistan 211 million
(Source of preceding estimates:

Maternal deaths: rate per 100,000 live births**

8.1 Maternal Deaths in 1998
23.9 Maternal Deaths in 2018

Maternal Death: A death of a woman due to complications of pregnancy, labor, delivery or puerperium.


1988 0.9 per 100,000 population
1998 2.3 per 100,000 population
2008 2.7 per 100,000 population
2018 2.4 per 100,000 population

**Source: Iowa Department of Public Health. Bureau of Health Statistics. 2018 Vital Statistics of Iowa. Des Moines: Iowa Dept. of Public Health, 2019. Web.

Oliver and Harper top the list of most popular baby names in Iowa, according to the state’s most recent reports.

Iowa birth highlights in 2017

Oldest Father 76
Oldest Mother 50
Youngest Father 15
Youngest Mother 12
Highest Weight Reported 13 pounds, 2 ounces
Month Most Births Occurred In: August


Not in my house!

85.4 percent of Iowans said they never allow smoking in their house.

17.1 percent of Iowa adults are current smokers — defined as smoking at least 100 cigarettes in a lifetime and smoking every day or some days during the past 30 days. This number increased from 16.7 percent the prior year.

An estimated 34 million or 14 percent* of all American adults currently smoke cigarettes.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S.

Iowa respondents with household incomes of less than $15,000 reported the highest proportion of current smokers: 31.6 percent.

Less than 5 percent of Iowans aged 75-plus are current smokers.

24.6 percent of the people in Iowa are former smokers.

Source: and *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017

Agriculture stats

Iowa contains more than 86,000 farms within its borders, and 6,200 of those are hog farms, which equates to nearly one-third of the nation’s total. So it is no surprise that Iowa ranks as the No. 1 pork-producing state in the U.S.

50 million
Approximate number of hogs per year taken to market by Iowa pork producers. At any one time, there are approximately 20-24 million pigs being raised within the state’s borders.

Approximate ratio of hogs to Iowans

$1.1 billion
Exports of pork from Iowa in 2017.

Source:; Source:;


Iowa offers an abundance of earning opportunities besides agriculture, as witnessed by its No. 1 ranking for jobs in 2019, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics*, and Des Moines is often regarded as a global powerhouse in regards to the insurance industry.


$60,011 Des Moines median household income


3.9 percent Unemployment Rate in Polk County


Iowa exclamation points

It is widely believed that humans began occupying the area that is now known as Des Moines 7,000 years ago. A lot has happened here since that first person stepped foot on our fertile soil. The following are a few VERY random highlights.

Des Moines’ downtown area has been home to 18 prehistoric American Indian mounds, according to accounts by the city’s early settlers, but these sites have mostly been destroyed.

1843… RACCOON CITY, IOWA! Captain James Allen began construction of a military fort at the intersection of the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers nearly 180 years ago. Fort Raccoon was the captain’s initial naming choice, but the War Department preferred Fort Des Moines.

1928… IOWA’S ONE AND ONLY WHITE HOUSE OCCUPANT! Herbert Hoover is elected President. America’s 31st President (1929-33) was born in a rural Iowa village near West Branch in 1874. He is the first president born west of the Mississippi River and the only Iowan to achieve that office. For most of his teenage years, Hoover lived in Oregon. He moved to California when he enrolled at Stanford University.

1935… IOWA MAN WINS FIRST HEISMAN TROPHY EVER AWARDED! In 1935, Jay Berwanger, an all-purpose player from Dubuque, who played at the University of Chicago, was awarded the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, which was later renamed the Heisman Trophy. Berwanger went on to become the top pick in the first-ever NFL draft. He was originally selected by the Philadelphia Eagles, but his rights were traded to the Chicago Bears. Berwanger declined the invitation to be a Bear, though, citing low pay and preferring to pursue a business career. The former eastern Iowan was unimpressed by his personal football fame. According to his obituary in, for many years, “he had no space at home for the Heisman Trophy, so it sat in his aunt’s home. She used it to keep the front door open, allowing cool breezes into the house.”

Nearly a quarter of Milford’s female population — 23 percent — gave birth during the 12 months preceding the 2016 American Community Survey. Milford is a city in Dickinson County, Iowa.

An estimated 80,000 workers arrive in downtown Des Moines for work each week. The city has one of the highest per-capita rates of downtown commuter employment in the

1958… ANKENY: YOU’VE GOT MAIL! The city of Ankeny gets mail and parcel post delivery, effective Sept. 6, 1958. Citizens wishing to receive mail are urged to make the necessary preparations including having visible house numbers and obtaining mailboxes.
Source: Ankeny Press Citizen, July 3, 1958.

1969… DRAKE UNIVERSITY TO THE FINAL FOUR! Maury John coached Drake University to the Final Four in 1964. The Bulldogs then lost
by three points to Lew Alcindor — now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — and the rest of the UCLA Bruins.

1972… IOWA IS FIRST IN POLITICS! The Democratic Party first held its first-in-the-nation caucuses in Iowa in 1972; the GOP did so in 1976.

2019… TIGHT END UNIVERSITY! Two University of Iowa tight ends (football) were selected in the first round of the NFL draft in 2019,
something never before accomplished by any tandem of collegiate teammates at that position. The duo of T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, drafted by Detroit and Denver, respectively, are the latest and possibly the greatest on an impressive list of former Iowa tight ends who went on to either star or play professionally. As such, the Hawks have been dubbed by some as “Tight End U.”

Eleven Hawkeye tight ends have been drafted during the previous 20 NFL drafts. Plus at least two others went undrafted but played in the league.

San Francisco 49ers Tight End George Kittle, a former Hawkeye, is widely regarded as one of, if not the, best top tight ends in the league.

Another former Iowa player, Parker Hesse of the Tennessee Titans, is working to make the pros as a tight end in 2019 even though he played defensive line as a collegian. ♦

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