Iowa Population Trends

The U.S. Census Bureau recorded an 0.2% increase in Iowa residents between 2018 and 2019. But the state had a growth rate of 3.6% when compared with 2010. (jarndt/Morguefile)

(Des Moines) -- Newly released census estimates show Iowa's population is holding steady, but isn't exactly surging. However, a demographer says it's much better than some other Midwestern states.

The U.S. Census Bureau said from July 2018 to July 2019, Iowa gained more than 6,000 residents. Brookings Institution demographer William Frey said what's happening in the Hawkeye State is similar to some neighboring states in the upper Midwest.

"Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa are growing at kind of a modest rate - a little bit higher for Minnesota than for Wisconsin or Iowa," Frey said.

Minnesota led the three states with a population gain of more than 33,000, while Wisconsin added more than 15,000 residents. As for other Midwestern states, Michigan barely saw any growth while Illinois lost residents for a sixth year in a row.

The recent estimate from the Census Bureau leads up to the next official count, which will begin to unfold in the coming months.

Frey said while Iowa and its neighbors are seeing a lot of residents move out of their respective states to other parts of the country, they're offsetting those losses through international migration and having more births than deaths.

"All have also experienced immigration from abroad that, along with the natural increase, counters that," he said. "So, I think that's a good sign."

The upcoming official census count plays a role in determining whether states will gain or lose congressional seats. While there hasn't been much chatter that Iowa will lose a seat, Frey said it's still too early in the process to speculate. He said making sure all Iowans participate will be helpful in ensuring that doesn't happen.