20 Interesting Facts About Iowa

Author: Jason Coles

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Updated On:

Founded in the mid-1600s by French settlers, declared a state in the mid-1800s, and sandwiched between Minnesota from the North and Missouri from the South is the totally landlocked Midwestern state of Iowa.

There is plenty to consider when you think of Iowa and the opportunities the state presents, from the fantastic quality of life, endless entertainment, amazing cities and towns, historical national and state parks, vast open plains, and an abundance of amazingly fresh produce.

Reasons as to why people choose the Hawkeye State to live, do business, or relocate are almost endless, so, why not take a look at some of the reasons, and discover why people believe Iowa is such an amazing place, by taking a look at our list of the most interesting facts about Iowa.

Interesting facts about Iowa

Here is our list of 20 interesting facts about Iowa – enjoy!

1. Iowa’s population is approximately 3.15 million, which is higher than Jamaica, Slovenia, and Qatar to name just a few nations. However, when you compare it with the other 49 states, Iowa’s population only ranks 31st.

2. If you didn’t know, Iowa has a thing for hogs! That’s because there are approximately 7 times more hogs than people in the state!

3. Iowa shares a common similarity with most other states – history. There is so much history to the state of Iowa that many people aren’t aware of, originating years before the settlers. The people of Iowa used to be called the “Ioway People”, they were a Native American tribe that once called the area their home, the meaning of “Iowa” has been debated for many years.

4. The Hawkeye State is known for its agriculture and access to fresh produce, which is distributed around the entire state, non more so than corn. With over 2.5 billion bushels, Iowa produces more corn than a lot of countries do, Mexico is one example!

5. Sliced bread was first introduced in the state. That’s right, people have been eating bread for hundreds of years, in fact, it is one of the world’s oldest prepared foods. However, the first-ever bread-slicing machine was invented in Iowa, by Otto Frederick Rohwedder. It was on July 6, 1928, that the first auto-sliced loaves were produced by this revolutionary invention.

6. Iowa witnessed the famous bat incident in which Ozzy Osbourne took part in. On January 20, 1982, a teenage fan threw a bat onstage at a Black Sabbath concert in the capital city of Des Moines. Assuming the bat was fake, Ozzy took a rather worrying bite out of it, which was when he suddenly came to the realization that it was real – shortly after the incident, Ozzy headed straight to the hospital for a rabies shot.

7. Back to Iowa’s livestock and produce – there are approximately 67 million chickens in Iowa. Meaning that there are more chickens in Iowa than there are people living in France! Not only is this fact absolutely insane, but what it means is that these hens will produce around 15 billion eggs a year. Which is enough to feed everyone in the United States an egg a day for 47 days!

Interesting facts about Iowa

8. Iowa and its neighboring state, Missouri almost went to war during the 1830s due to a surveying error. The feud between the states began when one surveyor’s boundary line was 4 miles further north than it should have been, so, when another surveyor was sent to resurvey, his line ended up uneven by around 2,500 acres. After this, a Missouri tax collector tried to take the taxes from those living within these acres, he was arrested shortly after by an Iowan sheriff. After months of threats and civil war talks, the federal government stepped in and put a stop to things by marking out the correct border.

9. Unlike most other states, Iowa’s population is more urban than rural. With over 61% urban and over 38% rural!

10. Fort Atkinson, Iowa was the only fort to be built by the U.S. government in order to protect one Indian American tribe from another.

Economic Facts About Iowa

There is a lot to be said and a lot to take a look at when analyzing Iowa’s economic strength and business climate. Despite being smaller in size and population, Iowa’s economy remains healthy and stable.

If you would like to learn how to register a business in Iowa so you can start your entrepreneurial journey, we have created a checklist walking you through the process.

Iowa has been considered by many over the years as having an extremely solid environment for growth and development for businesses, employees, investors, and entrepreneurs alike. This is backed up by having a low cost of living and high quality of life when compared with the rest of the U.S.

Let’s take a look at some economic facts about Iowa

  • Iowa’s GDP is approximately $173 billion.
  • Iowa has a progressive income tax system, which means the amount you earn will determine how much you will be taxed. The income tax you may have to pay ranges between 0.33% – 8.53%.
  • The sales tax rate for the state of Iowa is 6%.
  • Iowa ranks 2nd for economic and business opportunity out of all 50 states (US News & World Report).
  • Iowa ranks 9th for its education system (US News & World Report).
  • Iowa has found itself ranked 14th out of all 50 states for its overall economic score (US News & World Report).
  • The average house price in Iowa is $157,308, however, this is seasonally adjusted to stay current. Make sure to take a look at Zillow’s website.
  • Food processing is the largest industry in Iowa.
  • TUS News & World Report has ranked Iowa as the most affordable state to live in out of all 50.
  • The total number of small businesses in Iowa is over 272,000.
  • These small businesses make up over 99% of Iowa businesses.
  • Out of these small businesses, there are over 649,000 small business employees.
  • 48% of Iowa’s employees are employed by small businesses.
  • The minimum wage in Iowa is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal minimum wage.
  • There are over 11,000 self-employed minorities.
  • Over 2,800 small business exporters.
  • Iowa’s corporate income tax rate ranges between 5.5%-9.8%.

Here are some more cool Iowa facts

11. Iowa boasts the largest strawberry in the world, well, the biggest strawberry statue in the world. The impressive giant strawberry can be seen on the Strawberry Point Building in Clayton County.

12. Iowa has many things that are used to best represent the state, from nicknames to a state bird, Iowa has got it all, let’s have a look:

  • Iowa’s nickname is the “Hawkeye State”.
  • Iowa’s motto is “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain”.
  • State Fish – Channel Fish.
  • State Bird – American Goldfinch.
  • State flower – Wild Rose.
  • State rock – Geode.
  • State Tree – Oak.

13. The maximum speed limit you can drive in Iowa is 70 MPH, this is only on certain roads, however.

14. Florida may have the most golf courses of any other state; however, it is Iowa that has more golf courses per capita than any other state.

Interesting facts about Iowa

15. Despite being a completely landlocked state Iowa actually has an island. Sabula town in Jackson County, Iowa, is located on an island residing on the Mississippi River. The land area is approximately 1.26 square miles and the island town only boasts a population of around 600 people, and is referred to by many as the “Island City”.

16. Each U.S. state has its own two-letter postal abbreviation, used mainly to distinguish each state when sending packages or letters. It appears on official addresses of locations around the United States and tends to consist of two letters within the state’s name. Iowa’s abbreviation is the first and last, “IA”.

17. Iowa City, Iowa is one of the more historic places within the state, being the first state capital. Des Mois is now the rightful capital city, which makes sense when you consider the population is over double that of Iowa City, at over 215,000. Iowa City’s population is only around 74,000.

18. The famous Iowa state fair is an annual fair celebration, taking place in Des Moines in August. The first fair took place in 1854 and Iowa’s state fairgrounds have been used as the host of this historical event since 1886! The fair takes place over an 11-day period.

19. Iowa fun facts don’t get much better than this one – Crystal Lake Iowa is home to the world’s largest Bullhead fish! At 12 feet long, it comes as no surprise how much attention this discovery got! You are able to freely fish the lake in Hancock county, and there is also a giant statue paying homage to this awesome fish.

Interesting facts about Iowa

20. Iowa has 15 official and unofficial state symbols in total that have been adopted over the past several years and pay homage to the achievements of the state, past and present, as well as historical and cultural milestones within the state – helping shape Iowa into the beautiful state everybody knows and loves today. If you would like to see the detailed list of Iowa state symbols, check out our Iowa symbols page dedicated to this.

Interesting US State Facts


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Jason Coles

Jason Coles is the Founder of Foreign USA and its Chief Content Writer and Editor. Recognized as a prolific business plan writer by many prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. who refer his services to their clients regularly, Jason has written over 1,350 business plans across the past 17+ years for start-up companies and franchises looking to expand their footprint in the United States. Jason is considered a seasoned expert in his field. He creates detailed business plans for his clients that include five-year financial projections, market and industry analysis reports, demographic studies, organizational charts, job descriptions, employee hiring plans, and more.