Polk County, IA

County

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2021 Population
488,871
0.711% 1-year growth
US Senator
Chuck Grassley
Republican Party
US Senator
Joni Ernst
Republican Party
2021 Median Age
35.9
0.56% 1-year increase
2021 Poverty Rate
10.1%
2.48% 1-year decrease
2021 Median Household Income
$73,015
4.69% 1-year growth
2021 Median Property Value
$201,300
5.72% 1-year growth
2021 Employed Population
259,529
0.65% 1-year growth

About

In 2021, Polk County, IA had a population of 489k people with a median age of 35.9 and a median household income of $73,015. Between 2020 and 2021 the population of Polk County, IA grew from 485,418 to 488,871, a 0.711% increase and its median household income grew from $69,747 to $73,015, a 4.69% increase.

The 5 largest ethnic groups in Polk County, IA are White (Non-Hispanic) (76.2%), Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) (7.02%), White (Hispanic) (5.15%), Asian (Non-Hispanic) (4.88%), and Two+ (Non-Hispanic) (2.89%).

None of the households in Polk County, IA reported speaking a non-English language at home as their primary shared language. This does not consider the potential multi-lingual nature of households, but only the primary self-reported language spoken by all members of the household.

94.9% of the residents in Polk County, IA are U.S. citizens.

The largest universities in Polk County, IA are Des Moines Area Community College (3,727 degrees awarded in 2021), Drake University (1,503 degrees), and Grand View University (565 degrees).

In 2021, the median property value in Polk County, IA was $201,300, and the homeownership rate was 66.9%.

Most people in Polk County, IA drove alone to work, and the average commute time was 19.6 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.

geosearchPopulation & Diversity

Polk County, IA is home to a population of 489k people, from which 94.9% are citizens. As of 2021, 9.44% of Polk County, IA residents were born outside of the country (46.1k people).

In 2021, there were 10.9 times more White (Non-Hispanic) residents (373k people) in Polk County, IA than any other race or ethnicity. There were 34.3k Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) and 25.2k White (Hispanic) residents, the second and third most common ethnic groups.

Citizenship

94.9%
2021 Citizenship
94.9%
2020 Citizenship

As of 2021, 94.9% of Polk County, IA residents were US citizens, which is higher than the national average of 93.4%. In 2020, the percentage of US citizens in Polk County, IA was 94.9%, meaning that the rate of citizenship has been decreasing.

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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Race and Ethnicity

The 3 largest ethnic groups in Polk County, IA
  1. White (Non-Hispanic)
    373k ± 543
  2. Black or African American (Non-Hispanic)
    34.3k ± 1.16k
  3. White (Hispanic)
    25.2k ± 1.35k
8.71%
Hispanic Population
42.6k people

In 2021, there were 10.9 times more White (Non-Hispanic) residents (373k people) in Polk County, IA than any other race or ethnicity. There were 34.3k Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) and 25.2k White (Hispanic) residents, the second and third most common ethnic groups.

8.71% of the people in Polk County, IA are hispanic (42.6k people).

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

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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
    41,634 ± 4,977 people
  2. India
    10,950 ± 2,565 people
  3. Vietnam
    8,674 ± 2,283 people

In 2021, the most common birthplace for the foreign-born residents of Iowa was Mexico, the natal country of 41,634 Iowa residents, followed by India with 10,950 and Vietnam with 8,674.

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Foreign-Born Population

9.44%
2021 Foreign-Born Population
46.1k people
9.09%
2020 Foreign-Born Population
44.1k people

As of 2021, 9.44% of Polk County, IA residents (46.1k people) were born outside of the United States, which is lower than the national average of 13.6%. In 2020, the percentage of foreign-born citizens in Polk County, IA was 9.09%, 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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Veterans

Most Common Service Period
  1. Vietnam
    6,492 ± 514
  2. Gulf War (2001-)
    4,642 ± 659
  3. Gulf War (1990s)
    3,870 ± 640

Polk County, IA has a large population of military personnel who served in Vietnam, 1.4 times greater than any other conflict.

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briefcaseEconomy

The economy of Polk County, IA employs 260k people. The largest industries in Polk County, IA are Health Care & Social Assistance (34,618 people), Finance & Insurance (34,329 people), and Retail Trade (29,587 people), and the highest paying industries are Utilities ($70,448), Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services ($68,253), and Public Administration ($68,192).

Males in Iowa have an average income that is 1.35 times higher than the average income of females, which is $50,335. The income inequality in Iowa (measured using the Gini index) is 0.439, which is lower than than the national average.

Occupations

260k
2021 Value
± 4,426
0.65%
1 Year growth
± 2.36%

From 2020 to 2021, employment in Polk County, IA grew at a rate of 0.65%, from 258k employees to 260k employees.

The most common job groups, by number of people living in Polk County, IA, are Office & Administrative Support Occupations (30,256 people), Management Occupations (26,503 people), and Sales & Related Occupations (26,115 people). This chart illustrates the share breakdown of the primary jobs held by residents of Polk County, IA.

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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 Industries

260k
2021 Value
± 4,426
0.65%
1 Year growth
± 2.36%

From 2020 to 2021, employment in Polk County, IA grew at a rate of 0.65%, from 258k employees to 260k employees.

The most common employment sectors for those who live in Polk County, IA, are Health Care & Social Assistance (34,618 people), Finance & Insurance (34,329 people), and Retail Trade (29,587 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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Median Earnings by Industry

$52,907
Median earning men ± $937
$39,304
Median earning women ± $880

The industries with the best median earnings for men in 2021 are Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting, & Mining ($78,478), Public Administration ($73,597), and Finance & Insurance, & Real Estate & Rental & Leasing ($70,876).

The industries with the best median earnings for women in 2021 are Public Administration ($64,022), Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting, & Mining ($59,311), and Finance & Insurance, & Real Estate & Rental & Leasing ($57,403).

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Employment by Industry Sector

Data is only available at the state level. Showing data for Iowa.
Y-Axis
2.75%
Year-over-year growth
Employment change between February 2022 and February 2023

As of February 2023, there are 155M people employed in Iowa. This represents a 2.75% increase in employment when compared to February 2022.

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

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Establishments by Size

The industries with the most establishments
  1. 4,843
    Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance
  2. 3,983
    Finance & Insurance, and Real Estate, Rental & Leasing
  3. 3,147
    Professional, Scientific & Management, and Administrative & Waste Management Services

The visualization shows the distribution of establishments by industry and by size according to the number of employees.

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Payroll by Industry Sector

The industries with the highest total annual payroll
  1. $9.36M
    Finance & Insurance, and Real Estate, Rental & Leasing
  2. $5.38M
    Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance
  3. $3.1M
    Manufacturing

The chart shows the total annual payroll and the average annual payroll by industry.

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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. $20.6B
  2. $19.9B
  3. $19.1B

In 2020, the top outbound Iowa product (by dollars) was Meat/seafood with $20.6B, followed by Mixed freight ($19.9B) and Machinery ($19.1B).

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.
$252B
2020 Value in Iowa
$518B
Projected 2050 Value in Iowa
105% growth

In 2020, total outbound Iowa trade was $252B. This is expected to increase 105% to $518B by 2050.

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. $21.2B
  2. $16.2B
  3. $10.8B

In 2020, the top outbound Iowa domestic partner for goods and services (by dollars) was Illinois with $21.2B, followed by Minnesota with $16.2B and Texas and $10.8B.

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

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flagCivics

In the 2020 presidential election, the popular vote in Polk County, IA went to Joseph R Biden Jr. with 56.5% of the vote. The runner-up was Donald J. Trump (41.6%), followed by Jo Jorgensen (1.28%).

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.

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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learningEducation

In 2021, universities in Polk County, IA awarded 6,856 degrees. The student population of Polk County, IA in 2021 is skewed towards women, with 25,216 male students and 35,338 female students.

Most students graduating from Universities in Polk County, IA are White (5,006 and 73.8%), followed by Unknown (459 and 6.77%), Hispanic or Latino (454 and 6.7%), and Black or African American (340 and 5.02%).

The largest universities in Polk County, IA by number of degrees awarded are Des Moines Area Community College (3,727 and 54.4%), Drake University (1,503 and 21.9%), and Grand View University (565 and 8.24%).

The most popular majors in Polk County, IA are Liberal Arts & Sciences (1,067 and 15.6%), Registered Nursing (540 and 7.88%), and Homeland Security (348 and 5.08%).

The median tuition cost in Polk County, IA for private four year colleges is $24,989.

Applicants, Admissions & Enrolled

University
Measure

In 2021 in Polk County, IA, the percentage of applicants admitted was 74.5%, while the percentage of admitted who enrolled was 15.8%. The number of students enrolled in 2021 was 60,554 (41.6% men and 58.4% women).

The line chart  shows the evolution of the percentage of applicants admitted, admitted who enrolled or the number of students enrolled according to the option selected in the upper button.

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Enrollments by Gender and Races

Universities

In 2021 there were 60,554 students enrolled in Polk County, IA, 41.6% men and 58.4% women.

By race, the largest number of students enrolled was concentrated in White with 40,892 records, of which 58.8% were women and 41.2% men.

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Concentrations

Most Common
  1. 1,045 degree-majors awarded
  2. 211 degree-majors awarded
  3. 125 degree-majors awarded

In 2021, the most common concentation for Associates Degree recipients in Polk County, IA was Liberal Arts & Sciences with 1,045 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

Gender
Race
Largest Universities by degrees awarded
  1. 3,727 degrees awarded
  2. 1,503 degrees awarded
  3. 565 degrees awarded

In 2021, the institution with the largest number of graduating students was Des Moines Area Community College with 3,727 degrees awarded.

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Student Diversity

University

In 2021, 2,642 men were awarded degrees from institutions in Polk County, IA, which is 0.627 times less than the 4,214 female students who received degrees in the same year.

In 2021 the most common race/ethnicity group awarded degrees at institutions was White students. These 5,006 degrees mean that there were 10.9 times more degrees awarded to White students then the next closest race/ethnicity group, Unknown, with 459 degrees awarded.

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Awarded Degrees over Time

The graph shows the evolution of awarded degrees by degrees. Under the paragraphs, the average number of awarded degrees by university in each degree is shown.

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Average Net Price by Sector

Universities

Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above ($24,989) is the sector with the highest median state tuition in 2021.

Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above ($700) is the sector with the highest median state fee in 2021.

Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above ($1,212) is the sector with the highest average net price of books and supplies.

The graph shows the average net price by sector and year.

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Educational Pyramid

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

In 2021, 0.63% of men over 25 years of age had not completed any academic degree (no schooling), while 0.621% of women were in the same situation.

This visualization shows the gender distribution of the population according to the academic level reached.

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Educational Attainment

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

The most common educational levels obtained by the working population in 2021 were High School or Equivalent (742k), Some college (567k), and Bachelors Degree (459k).

This visualization illustrates the percentage distribution of the population according to the highest educational level reached. You can filter the data by race by using the selector above.

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homeHousing & Living

The median property value in Polk County, IA was $201,300 in 2021, which is 0.822 times smaller than the national average of $244,900. Between 2020 and 2021 the median property value increased from $190,400 to $201,300, a 5.72% increase. The homeownership rate in Polk County, IA is 66.9%, which is approximately the same as the national average of 64.6%.

People in Polk County, IA have an average commute time of 19.6 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.

Median household income in Polk County, IA is $73,015. In 2021, the tract with the highest Median Household Income in Polk County, IA was Census Tract 112.03 with a value of $149,048, followed by Census Tract 115 and Census Tract 101.01, with respective values of $134,394 and $127,981.

In 2022, 13.7% of the population was living with severe housing problems in Polk County, IA. From 2014 to 2022, the indicator grew 0.419%.

Property

$201,300
Median Property Value 2021
±$2,530
$130,549
Median Property Taxes
±$2,537

The following chart display owner-occupied housing units 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.

The chart underneath the paragraph shows the property taxes in Polk County, IA compared to it's parent and neighbor geographies.

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Rent vs Own

66.9%
Homeownership
2021
62.5%
Homeowners with Mortgage
2021

In 2021, 66.9% of the housing units in Polk County, IA were occupied by their owner. This percentage declined from the previous year's rate of 67.1%.

This chart shows the percentage of owner in Polk County, IA compared it's parent and neighboring geographies.

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Income by Location

Use the dropdown to filter by race/ethnicity.
Race/Ethnicity
Highest Median Household Income (Total)
  1. Census Tract 112.03
  2. Census Tract 115
  3. Census Tract 101.01

In 2021, the tract with the highest Median Household Income (Total) in Polk County, IA was Census Tract 112.03 with a value of $149,048, followed by Census Tract 115 and Census Tract 101.01, with respective values of $134,394 and $127,981.

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

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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.
$73,015
Median Household Income
± $1,049
195k
Number of Households
± 3,650

In 2021, the median household income of the 195k households in Polk County, IA grew to $73,015 from the previous year's value of $69,747.

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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Wage Distribution

The closest comparable wage GINI for Polk County, IA is from Iowa.
0.439
2021 Wage GINI in Iowa
0.438
2020 Wage GINI in Iowa

In 2021, the income inequality in Iowa was 0.439 according to the GINI calculation of the wage distribution. Income inequality had a 0.221% growth from 2020 to 2021, 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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Commuter Transportation

Most Common Commute in 2021
  1. Drove Alone (78.4%)
  2. Worked At Home (10%)
  3. Carpooled (7.92%)

In 2021, 78.4% of workers in Polk County, IA drove alone to work, followed by those who worked at home (10%) and those who carpooled to work (7.92%).

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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Commute Time

19.6 minutes
Average Travel Time

Using averages, employees in Polk County, IA have a shorter commute time (19.6 minutes) than the normal US worker (26.8 minutes). Additionally, 1.01% 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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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.

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Severe Housing Problems

In 2022, 13.7% of the population was living with severe housing problems in Polk County, IA. From 2014 to 2022, the indicator grew 0.419%.

The graph shows the trend of the percentage of the population living with severe housing problems.

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Poverty & Diversity

10.1% of the population for whom poverty status is determined in Polk County, IA (48.5k out of 480k people) live below the poverty line, a number that is lower than the national average of 12.6%. The largest demographic living in poverty are Females 25 - 34, followed by Females 18 - 24 and then Males < 5.

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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Children in Poverty

In 2022, 13.8% of the children was living in poverty in Polk County, IA. From 2014 to 2022, the indicator declined 3.1%.

The graph shows the trend of the percentage of the children living in poverty.

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Crimes & Accidents

Indicator

In 2022, the number of reported violent crimes offenses per 100,000 population was 392 in Polk County, IA. From 2014 to 2022, the indicator grew 59.9 per 100,000 population.

The graph shows the trend in the number of reported violent crimes offenses per 100,000 population.

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pulseHealth

95.3% of the population of Polk County, IA has health coverage, with 56.8% on employee plans, 16.4% on Medicaid, 9.98% on Medicare, 10.9% on non-group plans, and 1.28% 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 1025 patients per year on average, which represents a 0.0975% decrease from the previous year (1026 patients). Compare this to dentists who see 1332 patients per year, and mental health providers who see 349 patients per year.

By gender, of the total number of insured persons, 49.1% were men and 50.9% were women.

Patient to Clinician Ratios

1,025 to 1
Patient to Primary Care Physician Ratio in Polk County, IA

Primary care physicians in Polk County, IA see an average of 1,025 patients per year. This represents a 0.0975% decrease from the previous year (1,026 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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Health Care Diversity

In 2021, insured persons according to age ranges were distributed in 26.4% under 18 years, 22.6% between 18 and 34 years, 38.2% between 35 and 64 years, and 12.9% over 64 years.

By gender, of the total number of insured persons, 49.1% were men and 50.9% were women.

The following chart shows the number of people with health coverage by gender.

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Uninsured People

4.7%
Uninsured
56.8%
Employer Coverage
16.4%
Medicaid
9.98%
Medicare
10.9%
Non-Group
1.28%
Military or VA

Between 2020 and 2021, the percent of uninsured citizens in Polk County, IA grew by 1.73% from 4.63% to 4.7%.

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 Outcomes

Indicator

In 2022, the number of deaths among residents under age 18 per 100,000 population was 50.8 in Polk County, IA.

The graphic shows the trend of the indicator in Polk County, IA.

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Health Behaviors

Indicator

In 2022, the percentage of the adult population (age 18 and older) that reports a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2 (age-adjusted) was 35.3% in Polk County, IA.

The graphic shows the trend of the indicator in Polk County, IA.

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Clinical Care

Indicator

In 2022, the percentage of population under age 65 without health insurance was 5.82% in Polk County, IA.

The graphic shows the trend of the indicator in Polk County, IA.

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