Leave it to the U.S. Census to tell us what we already sort of figured: Iowa’s rural areas are declining and our cities are on the rise.
According to the bureau’s latest population estimates, 65 of our 99 counties lost population between 2011 and 2012.
More than half of Iowa counties recorded more deaths than births in the last two years, according to state data center figures.
Take Poweshiek County, just a couple clicks west of here, where 423 babies were born between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2012, and 494 county residents passed away.
On the domestic front, 116 more Poweshiek County residents moved out of the county than in during that two-year window.
What little growth the county did have came from people moving in from other countries — a net increase of 13 people, to be exact.
That’s par for the state, experts told reporters this week when the numbers came out. Iowa’s population bumps tend to be from babies born here or international immigration.
So you’ve got to wonder what those 13 new Poweshiekans thought when they picked up the Montezuma Record on Thursday and read an article, titled “Who Gets the Big Bucks,” noting how many odd-sounding names there were among high-earning employees at the University of Iowa.
Lots of names from Asia and the Near East, the author noted. Not so many Smiths and Joneses. And this observation: “there are eleven Ahmeds to only 30 Browns.”
“Hyphenated, unspellable and oriental names may get you the big bucks,” the story reportedly continued. I’m taking all this from news accounts — and boy, are there plenty — the Record’s not online.
Still, enough copies of the printed paper somehow managed to appear for every legislator in the state House of Representatives last week, if reports are to be believed.
Let’s leave aside the question of what might be a proper ratio of Ahmeds to Browns in any given situation; the Record’s wording was more than dumb.
It’s a willful ignorance that pretends to make distinctions between true Iowans and invaders with funny names.
He had the list in front of him — there are a lot of Iowans named Ahmed, a lot of Iowan Nguyens and Sukoviches. They’re making important contributions.
If we’re lucky, there will be many more to come.
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