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Iowa’s recent population growth patterns have echoed trends across the Midwest, where strong urbanization forces are in evidence. From 2000- 2009, Midwestern population growth has concentrated in and around metropolitan cities, while most rural areas have lost population.
Outside of metropolitan areas, counties with larger cities fared better than their less urbanized counterparts. Proximity to a metropolitan area also bolstered growth or mitigated losses in some nonmetro counties.
States within the region demonstrated some notable differences in their non-metropolitan growth patterns. Missouri and Wisconsin demonstrated more balanced growth across their metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties than other Midwestern states.
Individual state and local development strategies are unlikely to reverse the region’s more dominant, urbanization trends. Still, understanding Iowa’s experience in a broader, regional context may help policy-makers and planners in responding to the state’s changing demographic landscape.