The Jefferson Iowa News®


  Jefferson Population Decline Bucks Iowa Trend

Since the 2000 census, the population of Jefferson has taken a disturbing but definitive turn downward. Based on US Census estimates, the population of Jefferson has declined by nearly 6% over the last seven years, falling from over 4600 to about 4300.

This trend was the focus of a recent article featured here at Jefferson Iowa News, the Iowa Communities Services Comparison. Now, you may simply disregard these statistics, thinking that rural Iowa towns are all following the same trend. But before you jump to that conclusion, consider the following numbers:

Many central Iowa communities are experiencing extreme population growth. Over the same seven-year period, Waukee has seen 113% growth. Grimes' population is up 37%. Norwalk is up over 20%. Polk City is up nearly 30%. Just in case you think only communities near Des Moines are growing, consider Adel's population, which is up 17%.

Similarly, Perry has witnessed a 15% population growth over the same period. Spirit Lake has long passed Jefferson in population, gaining 11% the last seven years.

If you prefer to compare Iowa communities along the old Lincoln Highway, Boone has grown by 1.5%, Carroll by 1.2%, and Denison by 1.1%. If you would rather compare towns of similar size and demographics, Osceola has grown by over 4%, as has Winterset.

Apparently, it is best to view Jefferson by comparing it to surrounding communities, so that geographic factors can be eliminated. This will not make fans of Jefferson any happier. Our staff compared Jefferson's population trends to surrounding small towns, many of which Jeffersonians would not even consider worth their time.

Remember that Jefferson's population has declined by 6% over the last seven years. In that same time period, Scranton has seen a 10% population increase. Bayard has lost 4% of its population, as has Lake City. Glidden and Paton have lost 3%, and Grand Junction 5%.

This makes Jefferson the grand champion of lost population over the last seven years! These are not our numbers, they are figures provided by the US census bureau!

submitted by Rick Bland, city editor