Polk County, IA

County

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2019 Population
490,161
0.607% 1-year growth
US Senator
Chuck Grassley
Republican Party
US Senator
Joni Ernst
Republican Party
2019 Median Age
36
0.559% 1-year increase
2019 Poverty Rate
10.4%
6.47% 1-year decrease
2019 Median Household Income
$66,918
2.01% 1-year decline
2019 Median Property Value
$198,400
4.86% 1-year growth
2019 Employed Population
259,751
0.883% 1-year decline

About

In 2019, Polk County, IA had a population of 490k people with a median age of 36 and a median household income of $66,918. Between 2018 and 2019 the population of Polk County, IA grew from 487,204 to 490,161, a 0.607% increase and its median household income declined from $68,291 to $66,918, a −2.01% decrease.

The 5 largest ethnic groups in Polk County, IA are White (Non-Hispanic) (77%), Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) (7.62%), White (Hispanic) (7.01%), Asian (Non-Hispanic) (4.85%), and Two+ (Non-Hispanic) (1.62%). 0% of the households in Polk County, IA speak a non-English language at home as their primary language.

94.8% of the residents in Polk County, IA are U.S. citizens.

The largest universities in Polk County, IA are Des Moines Area Community College (3,798 degrees awarded in 2019), Drake University (1,528 degrees), and Grand View University (522 degrees).

In 2019, the median property value in Polk County, IA was $198,400, and the homeownership rate was 66.3%. Most people in Polk County, IA drove alone to work, and the average commute time was 18.8 minutes. The average car ownership in Polk County, IA was 2 cars per household.

About the photo: The pedestrian bridge just south of Court Ave in downtown Des Moines.

Diversity

Polk County, IA is home to a population of 490k people, from which 94.8% are citizens. As of 2019, 17.2% of Polk County, IA residents were born outside of the country (84.5k people).

In 2019, there were 10.1 times more White (Non-Hispanic) residents (377k people) in Polk County, IA than any other race or ethnicity. There were 37.3k Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) and 34.3k White (Hispanic) residents, the second and third most common ethnic groups.

Race and Ethnicity

Race and Ethnicity

The 3 largest ethnic groups in Polk County, IA
  1. White (Non-Hispanic)
    377k ± 63
  2. Black or African American (Non-Hispanic)
    37.3k ± 1.37k
  3. White (Hispanic)
    34.3k ± 2.25k
8.67%
Hispanic Population
42.5k people

In 2019, there were 10.1 times more White (Non-Hispanic) residents (377k people) in Polk County, IA than any other race or ethnicity. There were 37.3k Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) and 34.3k White (Hispanic) residents, the second and third most common ethnic groups.

8.67% of the people in Polk County, IA are hispanic (42.5k people).

The following chart shows the 7 races represented in Polk County, IA as a share of the total population.

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Heritage

Foreign-Born Population

17.2%
2019 Foreign-Born Population
84.5k people
8.74%
2018 Foreign-Born Population
42.6k people

As of 2019, 17.2% of Polk County, IA residents (84.5k people) were born outside of the United States, which is lower than the national average of 34%. In 2018, the percentage of foreign-born citizens in Polk County, IA was 8.74%, meaning that the rate has been increasing.

The following chart shows the percentage of foreign-born residents in Polk County, IA compared to that of it's neighboring and parent geographies.

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Age by Nativity

35
Median Native-Born Age
± 0.3
39
Median Foreign-Born Age
± 1.5

In 2019, the median age of all people in Polk County, IA was 36. Native-born citizens, with a median age of 35, were generally younger than foreign-born citizens, with a median age of 39. But people in Polk County, IA are getting getting older. In 2018, the average age of all Polk County, IA residents was 36.

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Global Diversity

The PUMS dataset is not available at the County level, so we are showing data for Iowa.
Most Common Origin
  1. Mexico
    37,676 ± 4,737 people
  2. India
    11,569 ± 2,636 people
  3. China
    10,487 ± 2,510 people

In 2019, the most common birthplace for the foreign-born residents of Iowa was Mexico, the natal country of 37,676 Iowa residents, followed by India with 11,569 and China with 10,487.

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Citizenship

94.8%
2019 Citizenship
94%
2018 Citizenship

As of 2019, 94.8% of Polk County, IA residents were US citizens, which is higher than the national average of 93.4%. In 2018, the percentage of US citizens in Polk County, IA was 94%, meaning that the rate of citizenship has been increasing.

The following chart shows US citizenship percentages in Polk County, IA compared to that of it's neighboring and parent geographies.

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Military

Veterans

Most Common Service Period
  1. Vietnam
    8,100 ± 1,306
  2. Gulf War (2001-)
    5,136 ± 1,319
  3. Gulf War (1990s)
    4,485 ± 1,596

Polk County, IA has a large population of military personnel who served in Vietnam, 1.58 times greater than any other conflict.

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COVID-19

Daily New Cases by Date

Showing data at the state level for Iowa. Hospitalization data for some states may be delayed or not reported.
Y-Axis

This chart shows the number of COVID-19 daily new cases by date in Iowa, as a 7-day rolling average, compared with the four states with the most similar number of confirmed cases.

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Unemployment Insurance Claims

Data is only available at the state level. Showing data for Iowa.

This chart shows weekly unemployment insurance claims in Iowa (not-seasonally adjusted) compared with the four states with the most similar impact.

The most recent data point uses Advance State Claims data, which can be revised in subsequent weeks.

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Employment by Industry Sector

Data is only available at the state level. Showing data for Iowa.
Y-Axis
8.45%
Year-over-year growth
Employment change between May 2020 and May 2021

As of May 2021, there are 145M people employed in Iowa. This represents a 8.45% increase in employment when compared to May 2020.

The following chart shows monthly employment numbers for each industry sector in Iowa.

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Community Mobility

Data is only available at the state level. Showing data for Iowa.

This chart presents movement trends over time in the state of Iowa across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.

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Economy

Median household income in Polk County, IA is $66,918. In 2019, the tract with the highest median household income in Polk County, IA was Census Tract 112.03 with a value of $130,221, followed by Census Tract 117.01 and Census Tract 31, with respective values of $127,923 and $112,679.

Males in Iowa have an average income that is 1.39 times higher than the average income of females, which is $46,359. The income inequality in Iowa (measured using the Gini index) is 0.445, which is lower than than the national average.

The economy of Polk County, IA employs 260k people. The largest industries in Polk County, IA are Finance & Insurance (35,794 people), Health Care & Social Assistance (33,871 people), and Retail Trade (29,322 people), and the highest paying industries are Mining, Quarrying, & Oil & Gas Extraction ($70,304), Finance & Insurance ($64,986), and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting, & Mining ($64,543).

Wages

Median Household Income

$66,918
2019 value
± $2,399
−2.01%
1 Year Growth
± 5.54%

Households in Polk County, IA have a median annual income of $66,918, which is more than the median annual income of $65,712 across the entire United States. This is in comparison to a median income of $68,291 in 2018, which represents a −2.01% annual growth.

The following chart shows how the median household income in Polk County, IA compares to that of its neighboring and parent geographies.

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Wage by Gender in Common Jobs

The PUMS dataset is not available at the County level, so we are showing data for Iowa.
$64,487
Average Male Salary in Iowa
± $1,860
$46,359
Average Female Salary in Iowa
± $1,231

In 2019, full-time male employees in Iowa made 1.39 times more than female employees.

This chart shows the gender-based wage disparity in the 5 most common occupations in Iowa by number of full-time employees.

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Wage by Race and Ethnicity in Common Jobs

The PUMS dataset is not available at the County level, so we are showing data for Iowa.
Highest Average Salaries by Race & Ethnicity in Iowa
  1. American Indian and Alaska Native tribes specified; or American Indian or Alaska Native, not specified and no other races
    $81,576 ± $28,928
  2. Asian
    $53,730 ± $8,494
  3. White
    $48,480 ± $1,074

In 2019 the highest paid race/ethnicity of Iowa workers was American Indian and Alaska Native tribes specified; or American Indian or Alaska Native, not specified and no other races. These workers were paid 1.52 times more than Asian workers, who made the second highest salary of any race/ethnicity in Iowa.

This chart shows the race- and ethnicity-based wage disparities in the 5 most common occupations in Iowa by number of full-time employees.

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Wage Distribution

The closest comparable wage GINI for Polk County, IA is from Iowa.
0.445
2019 Wage GINI in Iowa
0.44
2018 Wage GINI in Iowa

In 2019, the income inequality in Iowa was 0.445 according to the GINI calculation of the wage distribution. Income inequality had a 1.26% growth from 2018 to 2019, which means that wage distribution grew somewhat less even. The GINI for Iowa was lower than than the national average of 0.478. In other words, wages are distributed more evenly in Iowa in comparison to the national average.

This chart shows the number of workers in Iowa across various wage buckets compared to the national average.

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Income by Location

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Race/Ethnicity
Highest Median Household Income (Total)
  1. Census Tract 112.03
  2. Census Tract 117.01
  3. Census Tract 31

In 2019, the tract with the highest Median Household Income (Total) in Polk County, IA was Census Tract 112.03 with a value of $130,221, followed by Census Tract 117.01 and Census Tract 31, with respective values of $127,923 and $112,679.

The following map shows all of the tracts in Polk County, IA colored by their Median Household Income (Total).

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Poverty by Age and Gender

Females 18 - 24
Largest Demographic Living in Poverty

10.4% of the population for whom poverty status is determined in Polk County, IA (49k out of 471k people) live below the poverty line, a number that is lower than the national average of 12.3%. The largest demographic living in poverty are Females 18 - 24, followed by Females 25 - 34 and then Females 35 - 44.

The Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who classifies as impoverished. If a family's total income is less than the family's threshold than that family and every individual in it is considered to be living in poverty.

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Poverty by Race and Ethnicity

Largest Race or Ethnicity Living in Poverty
  1. White
    32,812 ± 1,427
  2. Black
    8,533 ± 717
  3. Hispanic
    8,358 ± 638

The most common racial or ethnic group living below the poverty line in Polk County, IA is White, followed by Black and Hispanic.

The Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who classifies as impoverished. If a family's total income is less than the family's threshold than that family and every individual in it is considered to be living in poverty.

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Occupations

Employment by Occupations

260k
2019 Value
± 9,100
−0.883%
1 Year decline
± 4.97%

From 2018 to 2019, employment in Polk County, IA declined at a rate of −0.883%, from 262k employees to 260k employees.

The most common job groups, by number of people living in Polk County, IA, are Office & Administrative Support Occupations (33,029 people), Management Occupations (26,472 people), and Sales & Related Occupations (24,305 people). This chart illustrates the share breakdown of the primary jobs held by residents of Polk County, IA.

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Most Common

The most common jobs held by residents of Polk County, IA, by number of employees, are Office & Administrative Support Occupations (33,029 people), Management Occupations (26,472 people), and Sales & Related Occupations (24,305 people).

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Most Specialized

Compared to other counties, Polk County, IA has an unusually high number of residents working as Business & Financial Operations Occupations (1.69 times higher than expected), Computer & Mathematical Occupations (1.48 times), and Life, Physical, & Social Science Occupations (1.28 times).

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Highest Paid

The highest paid jobs held by residents of Polk County, IA, by median earnings, are Computer & Mathematical Occupations ($75,847), Computer, Engineering, & Science Occupations ($72,387), and Management Occupations ($72,084).

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Industries

Employment by Industries

260k
2019 Value
± 9,100
−0.883%
1 Year decline
± 4.97%

From 2018 to 2019, employment in Polk County, IA declined at a rate of −0.883%, from 262k employees to 260k employees.

The most common employment sectors for those who live in Polk County, IA, are Finance & Insurance (35,794 people), Health Care & Social Assistance (33,871 people), and Retail Trade (29,322 people). This chart shows the share breakdown of the primary industries for residents of Polk County, IA, though some of these residents may live in Polk County, IA and work somewhere else. Census data is tagged to a residential address, not a work address.

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Most Common

The most common industries in Polk County, IA, by number of employees, are Finance & Insurance (35,794 people), Health Care & Social Assistance (33,871 people), and Retail Trade (29,322 people).

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Most Specialized

Compared to other counties, Polk County, IA has an unusually high number of Finance & Insurance (2.96 times higher than expected), Retail Trade (1.04 times), and Manufacturing (1.01 times) industries.

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Highest Paying

The highest paying industries in Polk County, IA, by median earnings, are Mining, Quarrying, & Oil & Gas Extraction ($70,304), Finance & Insurance ($64,986), and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting, & Mining ($64,543).

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Domestic Trade

Domestic Production & Consumption

Domestic production and consumption consists of products and services shipped from Iowa to other states, or from other states to Iowa.
Top Domestic Production in Dollars
  1. $30.3B
  2. $20.5B
  3. $19B

In 2018, the top outbound Iowa product (by dollars) was Cereal grains with $30.3B, followed by Other ag prods. ($20.5B) and Machinery ($19B).

The following chart shows the share of these products in relation to all outbound Iowa products.

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Domestic Trade Growth

Showing data for Iowa.
$262B
2018 Value in Iowa
$426B
Projected 2045 Value in Iowa
62.3% growth

In 2018, total outbound Iowa trade was $262B. This is expected to increase 62.3% to $426B by 2045.

The following chart shows how the domestic outbound Iowa trade is projected to change in comparison to its neighboring states.

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Interstate Trade

Interstate trade consists of products and services shipped from Iowa to other states, or from other states to Iowa.
Most Common Trade Partners
  1. $24.6B
  2. $15.1B
  3. $11.9B

In 2018, the top outbound Iowa domestic partner for goods and services (by dollars) was Illinois with $24.6B, followed by Minnesota with $15.1B and Nebraska and $11.9B.

The following map shows the amount of trade that Iowa shares with each state (excluding itself).

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Civics

In the 2016 presidential election, the popular vote in Polk County, IA went to Hillary Rodham Clinton with 51.7% of the vote. The runner-up was Donald J. Trump (40.4%), followed by Other (7.89%). The most partisan county was Lyon County, IA with 81.4% of the vote going to Donald J. Trump running for the Republican Party.

Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are the senators currently representing the state of Iowa. In the United States, senators are elected to 6-year terms with the terms for individual senators staggered.

Iowa is currently represented by 4 members in the U.S. house, and members of the House of Representives are elected to 2-year terms.

Presidential Popular Vote by County

Presidential voting results are only available at the county level. Showing data for the counties inside of Iowa.
Showing data up to the 2016 election. Updated election results are currently being processed, and will be released in the coming months.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Popular Vote for Polk County, IA
51.7% for the Democratic Party
Most Partisan Counties in Iowa
  1. 81.4% for Donald J. Trump (Republican Party)
  2. 81.3% for Donald J. Trump (Republican Party)
  3. 78.8% for Donald J. Trump (Republican Party)

In the 2016 presidential election, the most partisan county in Iowa was Lyon County, IA with 81.4% of the vote going to Donald J. Trump running for the Republican Party.

The following map shows the counties in Iowa colored by their party leaning.

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US Senators from Iowa

Senatorial voting results are only available at the state level. Showing data for Iowa.
Chuck Grassley
Senator from Iowa3
Assumed office on January 3, 1981
Joni Ernst
Senator from Iowa2
Assumed office on January 3, 2015

Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are the senators currently representing Iowa.

In the United States, senators are elected to 6-year terms with the terms for individual senators staggered.

The following chart shows elected senators in Iowa over time, excluding special elections, colored by their political party.

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US Representatives from Iowa

Iowa is currently represented by 4 members in the U.S. house.

Members of the House of Representives are elected to 2-year terms, and the following chart shows the how the members for Iowa have changed over time starting in 2008.

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Education

In 2019, universities in Polk County, IA awarded 6,770 degrees. The student population of Polk County, IA is skewed towards women, with 13,975 male students and 18,888 female students.

Most students graduating from Universities in Polk County, IA are White (5,291 and 79.7%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (395 and 5.95%), Black or African American (285 and 4.29%), and Asian (253 and 3.81%).

The largest universities in Polk County, IA by number of degrees awarded are Des Moines Area Community College (3,798 and 56.1%), Drake University (1,528 and 22.6%), and Grand View University (522 and 7.71%).

The most popular majors in Polk County, IA are Liberal Arts & Sciences (1,254 and 18.5%), Registered Nursing (379 and 5.6%), and Welding Technology (336 and 4.96%).

The median tuition cost in Polk County, IA for private four year colleges is $23,061.

Concentrations

Most Common
  1. 158 degree-majorss awarded
  2. 1,226 degree-majorss awarded
  3. 187 degree-majorss awarded

In 2019, the most common concentation for Associates Degree recipients in Polk County, IA was General Studies with 158 degrees awarded.

This visualization illustrates the percentage of students graduating with a Associates Degree from schools in Polk County, IA according to their major.

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Universities

Largest Universities by degrees awarded
  1. 3,798 degrees awarded
  2. 1,528 degrees awarded
  3. 522 degrees awarded
$23,061
Median Private

In 2019, the Polk County, IA institution with the largest number of graduating students was Des Moines Area Community College with 3,798 degrees awarded.

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Student Gender for Common Institutions

3,028
Degrees Awarded to Men
3,742
Degrees Awarded to Women

In 2019, 3,028 men were awarded degrees from institutions in Polk County, IA, which is 0.809 times less than the 3,742 female students who received degrees in the same year.

This chart displays the gender disparity between the institutions in Polk County, IA by degrees awarded.

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Student Race and Ethnicity

Most Common Student Race or Ethnicity
  1. White
    5,291 degrees awarded
  2. Hispanic or Latino
    395 degrees awarded
  3. Black or African American
    285 degrees awarded

In 2019 the most common race/ethnicity group awarded degrees at institutions in Polk County, IA was White students. These 5,291 degrees mean that there were 13.4 times more degrees awarded to White students then the next closest race/ethnicity group, Hispanic or Latino, with 395 degrees awarded.

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Housing & Living

The median property value in Polk County, IA was $198,400 in 2019, which is 0.825 times smaller than the national average of $240,500. Between 2018 and 2019 the median property value increased from $189,200 to $198,400, a 4.86% increase. The homeownership rate in Polk County, IA is 66.3%, which is higher than the national average of 64.1%. People in Polk County, IA have an average commute time of 18.8 minutes, and they drove alone to work. Car ownership in Polk County, IA is approximately the same as the national average, with an average of 2 cars per household.

Housing

Property Value

$198,400
2019 Median
± $5,592
$189,200
2018 Median
± $5,620

In 2019, the median property value in Polk County, IA grew to to $198,400 from the previous year's value of $189,200.

The following charts display, first, the property values in Polk County, IA compared to it's parent and neighbor geographies and, second, owner-occupied housing units distributed between a series of property value buckets compared to the national averages for each bucket. In Polk County, IA the largest share of households have a property value in the $200k - $250k range.

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Household Income

Please note that the buckets used in this visualization were not evenly distributed by ACS when publishing the data.
$66,918
Median Household Income
± $2,399
198k
Number of Households
± 7,784

In 2019, the median household income of the 198k households in Polk County, IA declined from $66,918 from the previous year's value of $68,291.

The following chart displays the households in Polk County, IA distributed between a series of income buckets compared to the national averages for each bucket. The largest share of households have an income in the $75k - $100k range.

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Property Taxes

$3k+
Average Range

This chart shows the households in Polk County, IA distributed between a series of property tax buckets compared to the national averages for each bucket. In Polk County, IA the largest share of households pay taxes in the $3k+ range.

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Rent vs Own

66.3%
2019 Homeownership
67.8%
2018 Homeownership

In 2019, 66.3% of the housing units in Polk County, IA were occupied by their owner. This percentage declined from the previous year's rate of 67.8%.

This percentage of owner-occupation is higher than the national average of 64.1%. This chart shows the ownership percentage in Polk County, IA compared it's parent and neighboring geographies.

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Commute Time

18.8 minutes
Average Travel Time

Using averages, employees in Polk County, IA have a shorter commute time (18.8 minutes) than the normal US worker (26 minutes). Additionally, 1.04% of the workforce in Polk County, IA have "super commutes" in excess of 90 minutes.

The chart below shows how the median household income in Polk County, IA compares to that of it's neighboring and parent geographies.

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Commuter Transportation

Most Common Commute in 2019
  1. Drove Alone (83.1%)
  2. Carpooled (8.34%)
  3. Worked At Home (4.9%)

In 2019, 83.1% of workers in Polk County, IA drove alone to work, followed by those who carpooled to work (8.34%) and those who worked at home (4.9%).

The following chart shows the number of households using each mode of transportation over time, using a logarithmic scale on the y-axis to help better show variations in the smaller means of commuting.

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Transportation

Car Ownership

2 cars
Average Number

The following chart displays the households in Polk County, IA distributed between a series of car ownership buckets compared to the national averages for each bucket. The largest share of households in Polk County, IA have 2 cars, followed by false.

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Health

95% of the population of Polk County, IA has health coverage, with 55.1% on employee plans, 17.6% on Medicaid, 10.4% on Medicare, 10.6% on non-group plans, and 1.34% on military or VA plans.

Per capita personal health care spending in Iowa was $8,200 in 2014. This is a 5.05% increase from the previous year ($7,806).

Primary care physicians in Polk County, IA see 1026 patients per year on average, which represents a 1.58% increase from the previous year (1010 patients). Compare this to dentists who see 1354 patients per year, and mental health providers who see 372 patients per year.

Comparing across all counties in the state, Wayne County has the highest prevalence of diabetes (20.3%). Additionally, Wayne County has the highest prevalence of adult obesity (48.6%)

Patient to Clinician Ratios

1,026 to 1
Patient to Primary Care Physician Ratio in Polk County, IA

Primary care physicians in Polk County, IA see an average of 1,026 patients per year. This represents a 1.58% increase from the previous year (1,010 patients).

The following chart shows how the number of patients seen by primary care physicians has been changing over time in Polk County, IA in comparison to its neighboring geographies.

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Behavioral Health Conditions

Data only available at the state level.
State with the Highest Prevalence
  1. 8.26% of the population affected
  2. 8.13% of the population affected
  3. 7.98% of the population affected

In 2016, West Virginia had the highest prevalence of adults with major depressive episode, with 8.26% of the population affected. The second highest is Arkansas (8.13%), followed by New Hampshire (7.98%).

The following map shows the percent of individuals with major depressive episode by state over multiple years.

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Access and Quality

Data only available at state level.
Most prevalent states
  1. 19.2% of adults
  2. 17.9% of adults
  3. 17.6% of adults

In 2016, Mississippi had the highest prevalence of adults who haven't seen a doctor in the past 12 months due to cost, at 19.2%. It is followed by Texas (17.9%) and Louisiana (17.6%).

The following map shows the prevalence of adults who haven't seen a doctor in the past 12 months due to cost by state over multiple years.

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Health Care Spending

Data is only available at the state level. Showing data for Iowa.
$8,200
Total Per Capita Spending on Personal Health Care in Iowa
$4,076
Per Enrollee Private Health Insurance Spending on Personal Health Care
$6,702
Per Enrollee Medicaid Spending on Personal Health Care
$9,317
Per Enrollee Medicare Spending on Personal Health Care

Between 2013 and 2014, all personal health care spending per capita in Iowa (including private, Medicare, and Medicaid) grew 5.05%, from $7,806 to $8,200.

The following chart shows how this spending changed over time in comparison to Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance spending, per enrollee.

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Health Care Coverage

4.98%
Uninsured
55.1%
Employer Coverage
17.6%
Medicaid
10.4%
Medicare
10.6%
Non-Group
1.34%
Military or VA

Between 2018 and 2019, the percent of uninsured citizens in Polk County, IA grew by 1.54% from 4.9% to 4.98%.

The following chart shows how the percent of uninsured individuals in Polk County, IA changed over time compared with the percent of individuals enrolled in various types of health insurance.

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Health Risks

Data available at the county level.
Most at risk counties
  1. 20.3% prevalence
  2. 19.5% prevalence
  3. 16.1% prevalence

Wayne County has the highest prevalence of diabetes in Iowa, at 20.3%.

The following map shows the prevalence of diabetes in Iowa by county over multiple years.

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