Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival started about 16 years ago as a way to celebrate the contributions from the more than 22 Latin countries that are represented in Iowa. The festival has become more important as our Latino population has grown. There are about 174,000 Latinos living in Iowa, which makes us the state’s largest race/ethnic minority. The population has grown more than 110 percent since 2000.

Other facts about our people:

  • By July 1, 2050, it is estimated there will be 450,321 Latinos living in Iowa. We will constitute 13 percent of the state’s population.
  • 12.1 percent of our population is younger than age 5, as of July 1, 2014. There are more Latino preschoolers than any other race or ethnic group.
  • 37 percent of our people were born in Latin America; 32 percent were born in Iowa.
  • The majority of our people were born in Mexico (41,224 in 2014). However, others are natives of El Salvador (3,647), Guatemala (4,887), Panama (625), Ecuador (714), Columbia (665), Brazil (759) and Venezuela (656), which is why the festival celebrates all of these countries and more.
  • The largest Latino population is in Polk County, where 36,994 Latinos (21.3 percent of the statewide population) live.
  • Other high concentrations of Latinos are Crawford County (27.3 percent), Buena Vista (24.8 percent), Marshall (19.9 percent) and Louisa (16.2 percent).
  • From 2000 to 2014, 52.7 percent of the growth in the Latino population occurred in Polk, Woodbury, Johnson, Marshall, Scott, Pottawattamie, Linn and Crawford counties. The Latino population in Ringgold increased by 669.2 percent between 2000 and 2014.

All information is from the State Data Center of Iowa