Background: Old Capitol, Iowa City,
Author Bill Whittaker

Living in Iowa

Iowa - Fields of Opportunity

History, Geography, Homes, and State Resources of Iowa

Iowa USA Map
Iowa USA Map

Iowa is situated between the rivers of the Missouri and the Mississippi right in the heartland of American. The state is mostly rural dotted with smaller towns and the intermittent mid-sized city. Although Iowa is pretty much unfamiliar to people living outside the state and often confused with Idaho, natives are fiercely proud to live in the Hawkeye state. If you’re relocating to the state of Iowa, you’ll discover a low cost of living along with low crime rates plus lots of wide open space, and friendly neighborhoods with a focus on family life.

The first Europeans to visit the area were the French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet in 1673. The U.S. obtained control of the area in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and during the first half of the 19th century, there was heavy fighting between white settlers and Indians. Lands were taken from the Indians after the Black Hawk War in 1832 and again in 1836 and 1837.

When Iowa became a state in 1846, its capital was Iowa City; the more centrally located Des Moines became the new capital in 1857. At that time, the state's present boundaries were also drawn.

Climate

Iowa summers are known for heat and humidity, with daytime temperatures sometimes near 90 °F and occasionally passing the 100 °F mark. Average winters in the state have been known to drop well below freezing, even dropping below −18 °F..

Demography

  • Iowa Geography, Facts and History
  • Iowa Facts & Trivia
  • Iowa Flags
  • Famous People from Iowa
  • Iowa Timeline
  • Iowa Official Song
  • Education

    Iowa Colleges. The Iowa Board of Regents is composed of nine volunteer citizens appointed by the governor to make policy decisions, coordinate and oversee state universities, two special K-12 schools and affiliated centers.

    Iowa's three public universities include: Iowa State University, Ames. The University of Iowa, Iowa City and the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls

    Economy

    After hitting bottom in the 1980s, Iowa's economy has become increasingly less dependent on agriculture, and by the early part of 21st century was characterized by a mix of manufacturing, biotechnology, finance and insurance services, and government services.

    Flora and Fauna

    Iowa State Flower - Wild Prarie Rose
    Iowa State Flower - Wild Prarie Rose

    Iowa State Tree Bur Oak
    Iowa State Tree Bur Oak

    Even though much of Iowa is under cultivation, unusual wild specimens as bunchberry and bearberry can be found in the northeast, where the loess soil supports tumblegrass, western beard-tongue, and prickly pear cactus. Other notable plants are pink lady's slipper and twinleaf in the eastern woodlands, arrowgrass in the northwest, and erect dryflower and royal and cinnamon ferns in sandy regions.

    Common Iowa mammals include red and gray foxes, raccoon, opossum, woodchuck, muskrat, common cottontail, gray fox, and flying squirrel.

    The bobolink and purple martin have flyways over the state; the cardinal, rose-breasted grosbeak, and eastern goldfinch (the state bird) nest there.

    Game fish include rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and walleye; in all, Iowa has 140 native fish species.

    Rare animals include the pygmy shrew, ermine, black-billed cuckoo, and crystal darter. Listed as threatened or endangered by the federal government in August 2003 were nine species, including the Indiana bat, bald eagle, Higgins' eye pearlymussel, piping plover, Iowa Pleistocene snail, pallid sturgeon, gray wolf, and least tern.

  • Iowa State Bird (American Goldfinch)
  • Iowa Official State Flower (Wild prairie rose)
  • Iowa Official State Tree (Bur Oak)
  • Government

    Iowa State Capitol
    Iowa State Capitol
    The Iowa State Capitol, seat of the Iowa General Assembly, is located in Iowa's capital city at East 9th Street and Grand Avenue,, Des Moines, and houses the Iowa Senate, Iowa House of Representatives, the Office of the Governor, and the Offices of the Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of State. The building also includes a chamber for the Iowa Supreme Court, although court activities usually take place in the neighboring Iowa Supreme Court building.

    The building was constructed between 1871 and 1886, and is the only five-domed capitol in the nation. The Capitol is set atop a hill and offers a panoramic view of the city's downtown and the West Capitol Terrace. Various monuments and memorials are to its sides and front, including the Soldiers and Sailors' Monument and the Lincoln and Tad statue.

    The state's elected executives are the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, and secretary of agriculture, all serving four-year terms. The governor and lieutenant governor, elected jointly, must be US citizens, at least 30 years old, and must have been resident of the state for at least two years. To vote in Iowa, a person must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old, a state resident, and not able to claim the right to vote elsewhere. Restrictions apply to those convicted of certain crimes and to those judged by the court as mentally incompetent to vote.

  • Official State of Iowa Website
  • Attractions

    Situated in the heart of the country and serving as the nation's top corn producer, the state of Iowa has many things to be proud of. From the state capital of Des Moines to the second largest city, Cedar Rapids, Iowa welcomes visitors with a distinct Midwestern charm that can't be beat. While exploring Iowa, you can find attractions like the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium to enrich your knowledge; numerous state parks, like Maquoketa Caves, for an adventure; and plenty of scenic landscapes, such as the Bridges of Madison County, to inspire your more creative side. Those who visit Iowa, and those who call it home, agree that there is something special about the state that keeps people coming back.
  • Iowa Travel and Tourism Division
  • Amusement Parks

    Adventureland, Altoona
      Adventureland is a family-owned amusement park in Altoona, Iowa (just northeast of Des Moines). It is marketed as featuring over 100 rides, shows and attractions. The park contains many design nods inspired by Disneyland: The entrance has a train station with two tunnels (on the left- and right-hand side) leading into the Main Street area, just like at Disneyland or Disney World's Magic Kingdom (and also similar to many other parks built since Disneyland opened in 1955); over in Outlaw Gulch, there are several tombstones that have virtually the same wording as tombstones outside of Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion attraction; the rocking pirate ship (Galleon) has played a soundtrack that included splashing water and an excerpt from the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song, "Yo Ho". Adventureland is a theme area of its own at Disneyland.
    Arnolds Park, Arnolds Park
      Arnolds Park is in the center of the Iowa Great Lakes resort region. It is home to a historic amusement park, also called Arnolds Park, which features Legend, An ACE Coaster Landmark Legend, which carried its first riders in 1927, is believed to be the 13th oldest wooden roller coaster in the U.S. In 2012 the amusement park was selected as one of the fifteen best in the Midwest region by Midwest Living magazine.
    Lost Island Amusement Park, Waterloo

    National Parks

    Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, Various States IL,IA,NE,UT,WY
      Explore the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail across five states to see the 1,300-mile route traveled by Mormons who fled Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1846-1847.
    Effigy Mounds National Monument, Harpers Ferry, IA
      The mounds preserved here are considered sacred by many Americans, especially the Monument's 20 culturally associated American Indian tribes. A visit offers opportunities to contemplate the meanings of the mounds and the people who built them. The 200 plus American Indian mounds are located in one of the most picturesque sections of the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

    Sports

    Iowa has four major college teams playing in Division I for all sports. In football, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), whereas the University of Northern Iowa and Drake University compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Although Iowa has no professional major league sports teams, Iowa has minor league sports teams in baseball, basketball, hockey, and other sports.

  • Iowa Sports
  • Taxes

    Iowa Tax Facts
    • Income tax: 0.36% - 8.98%
    • Sales tax: 6% - 7%
    • Property tax: 1.48% average effective rates
    • Gas tax: 30.5 cents per gallon of regular gasoline, 32.5 cents per gallon of diesel

    Transportation

    Aviation

    Des Moines International Airport
    Des Moines International Airport
    Iowa Airports There are 122 public use airports in Iowa. The airports in Iowa are well connected to the other states of USA. The airports in Iowa use up to date technology as the state since all kinds of weather.

    Iowa is a fairly large state with 122 airports in Iowa. The only international airport in Iowa is the Des Moines International Airport.

    Des Moines International Airport receives nearly two million passengers annually. Des Moines International Airport are Allegiant Air, American Eagle, Comair-Delta Connections, Continental Express, Midwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, US Airways and United Airlines. Private meeting rooms, business center and conference rooms are available to conveniently have business meetings.

    Rail

    Amtrak's California Zephyr serves the south of Iowa with stops at Burlington, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa, Osceola, and Creston on its daily route between Chicago and Emeryville, California. Fort Madison is served by Amtrak's Southwest Chief, running daily between Chicago and Los Angeles.

    Roads

    Iowa has four primary interstate highways. Interstate 29 (I-29) travels along the state's western edge through Council Bluffs and Sioux City. I-35 travels from the Missouri state line to the Minnesota state line through the state's center, including Des Moines. I-74 begins at I-80 just northeast of Davenport. I-80 travels from the Nebraska state line to the Illinois state line through the center of the state, including Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities. I-380 is an auxiliary Interstate Highway, which travels from I-80 near Iowa City through Cedar Rapids ending in Waterloo and is part of the Avenue of the Saints highway. Iowa is among the few jurisdictions where municipalities install speed cameras on interstate highways providing a substantial revenue source from out of state drivers.

    Iowa Housing

    The median home value in Iowa is $140,500. Iowa home values have gone up 4.5% over the past year and predictions are they will fall -0.5% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Iowa is $130. The median price of homes currently listed in Iowa is $172,500 while the median price of homes that sold is $169,500. The median rent price in Iowa is $1,075.
  • Iowa Association of Realtors
  • Iowa Real Estate Commission
  • Iowa Real Estate Listings
  • Iowa Cities & Towns

    Iowa consists of 99 counties and has 947 cities. Every incorporated municipality in Iowa is called a "city," regardless of population. Incorporated cities may have one of six types of municipal government, but most operate as mayor–council. 490 of Iowa's 947 cities—just over half—have less than 500 residents.

    The largest city by population and also land area is Des Moines with 203,433 residents and 80.87 square miles of land. The smallest cities by population are Beaconsfield and Le Roy, each having 15 residents.

  • List of Iowa Cities and Towns
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