Iowa Facts

Iowa Facts

Iowa is a midwestern state that was once part of French Louisiana and Spanish Louisiana before being sold to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.

The state is mostly made up of farmland, and it’s known for its many cornfields and plains. It’s also home to many sculptures and art collections, along with many fun roadside attractions.


Quick Facts

  • Capital: Des Moines
  • Population: 3 million
  • Nickname: The Hawkeye State
  • Key Cities: Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Iowa City, Dubuque, Sioux City
  • Postal Abbreviation: IA
  • Major Industries: Agriculture, renewable energy, advanced manufacturing, services, information and communication technology


  • How did Iowa get its name: The state of Iowa borrowed its name from the Iowa River, which was named for the Indian tribes that lived in the area. The tribal name “Ayuxwa” was spelled by the French as “Ayoua,” while the English spelled it as “Ioway.”
  • Date admitted to the Union: Monday, December 28, 1846


  • Size: 56,273 sq. miles
  • Lowest point: Mississippi River at 480 feet
  • Highest point: Hawkeye Point at 1,670 feet
  • Counties: 99
  • Famous locations: National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, State Capitol, Maquoketa Caves State Park, the Bridges of Madison County, Grotto of the Redemption

Famous Iowans

  • Johnny Carson- television host
  • Ashton Kutcher- actor
  • Cloris Leachman- actress
  • Shawn Johnson- Olympic gymnast
  • Hill Harper- actor/author
  • George Nelson- astronomer/astronaut

Fun Facts

  • In Iowa, there are more hogs than humans. While the human population is around three million, the hog population is 21.2 million! That means for every one human, there are four hogs.
  • If you’re interested in taking a “world’s largest” tour, Iowa is the place to go. Visit Strawberry Point, Iowa, and you’ll see a 15-foot tall fiberglass strawberry, the world’s largest. You can also find the world’s largest bullhead fish statue at Crystal Lake, Iowa. It’s 12 feet long. Finally, head to Iowa City to view the world’s largest wooden nickel, which is also 12 feet across.


  • Iowa is 92% farmland. This is probably why it’s considered the safest U.S. state to live in. And Ames, Iowa has been listed as the ninth “Best Place to Live” by CNNMoney.com.


  • Iowa has the highest literacy rate in the nation at 99%. That means nearly every person in the state of Iowa can read.
  • The Grotto of the Redemption, nicknamed “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” is located in West Bend, Iowa. It’s a religious monument made of the world’s most complete man-made collection of fossils, minerals, and shells. The collection’s value is estimated to be more than $4.3 million.
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not says the most crooked street in the world is Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa. The sharp turns and strange angles were designed to connect Burlington’s downtown area with the shopping district. Traffic is one-way only: downhill.

More US state facts.