Union County, Iowa

Union County is a county located in the southern part of the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2020 census, the population was 12,138.[1] The county seat is Creston.[2] Organized at a time of tensions before the Civil War, the county was named in 1853 for the union that people wanted to preserve. The rural county's peak of population was in 1930. Its economy is based on agriculture and related industries. Creston and the county are still served by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF), the largest network in the nation.

Union County
Union County Courthouse
Map of Iowa highlighting Union County
Location within the U.S. state of Iowa
Map of the United States highlighting Iowa
Iowa's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 41°01′33″N 94°14′29″W / 41.025833333333°N 94.241388888889°W / 41.025833333333; -94.241388888889
Country United States
State Iowa
Founded1853
SeatCreston
Largest cityCreston
Area
 • Total426 sq mi (1,100 km2)
 • Land424 sq mi (1,100 km2)
 • Water2.2 sq mi (6 km2)  0.5%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total12,138
 • Density28/sq mi (11/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district3rd
Websiteunioncountyiowa.gov

HistoryEdit

The first permanent European-American settlers came in 1849 and 1850. Mormons had earlier established Mt. Pisgah in the eastern part of the county as a way station as they traveled west, but had left this area by 1848. Settlers used Pisgah as a base to establish farms along the Grand and Platte rivers that run through the county. They found a market for their produce with the emigrants traveling overland to California to take part in the Gold Rush. Travelers often sought shelter with the settlers along the way. In 1851 one settler counted 2,600 teams driven by emigrants to California; they often drove herds of sheep and cattle, trying to get animals to the gold fields to feed the miners, but many died along the way.[3]

The first village was Petersville, founded in 1853, the same year that the county was organized. The county was named for the union which many people wanted to preserve, at a time of rising tensions between the North and the South.[4]

After the American Civil War, railroad construction linked the areas of the county, giving rise to new towns, and gave access to other markets. In 1868 the railroad reached Afton, Iowa, and the next year Creston, the county seat, was made a division point. The railroad built service facilities there, a roundhouse and related structures. The railroad brought immigrants and migrants to the area, who were attracted to the fertile soil as farmland. Immigrants came from across central and eastern Europe, as well as from eastern states of the US. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) continues to be important in the area, serving as the chief network for hauling grain and coal. Over the years, it drew workers from industrial cities such as Chicago to Creston.

The county has a fair each year. In the late 19th century, southwestern Iowa claimed the title of Bluegrass Capital, having cultivated bluegrass throughout the area. In 1889 the Bluegrass Association was founded, made up of representatives of the 18 counties in this region. They built a Bluegrass Palace on the Union County Fairgrounds. It was designed by Louis Syberkro, an artist, and constructed by J. C. Woodruff, both of Creston. Made of sod and baled hay on a wood frame, the building was 100 feet square, with corner turrets and a central tower 92 feet high. It held exhibits of farm products and resource commodities from counties of the association, including wood, coal, sandstone, and marble. The palace was such a success that the Bluegrass Association commissioned a larger one the following year, which supplied about three times as much space. In a separate wing was an auditorium large enough to hold 2,000 people.[5]

GeographyEdit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 426 square miles (1,100 km2), of which 424 square miles (1,100 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (0.5%) is water.[6]

Major highwaysEdit

Adjacent countiesEdit

DemographicsEdit

Historical population
Census Pop.
18602,012
18705,986197.5%
188014,980150.3%
189016,90012.8%
190019,92817.9%
191016,616−16.6%
192017,2683.9%
193017,4351.0%
194016,280−6.6%
195015,651−3.9%
196013,712−12.4%
197013,557−1.1%
198013,8582.2%
199012,750−8.0%
200012,309−3.5%
201012,5341.8%
202012,138−3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2018[11]
 
Population of Union County from US census data

2020 censusEdit

The 2020 census recorded a population of 12,138 in the county, with a population density of 28.5794/sq mi (11.0346/km2). 96.37% of the population reported being of one race. 90.34% were non-Hispanic White, 0.97% were Black, 3.29% were Hispanic, 0.31% were Native American, 0.54% were Asian, 0.06% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander and 4.49% were some other race or more than one race. There were 5,784 housing units, of which 5,169 were occupied.[1]

2010 censusEdit

The 2010 census recorded a population of 12,534 in the county, with a population density of 29.5342/sq mi (11.4032/km2). There were 5,937 housing units, of which 5,271 were occupied.[12]

2000 censusEdit

 
2000 Census Age Pyramid for Union County

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 12,309 people, 5,242 households, and 3,354 families residing in the county. The population density was 29 people per square mile (11/km2). There were 5,657 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.44% White, 0.23% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.32% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. 1.02% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,242 households, out of which 27.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.10% were married couples living together, 8.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.00% were non-families. 31.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.30% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 25.30% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 18.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,905, and the median income for a family was $41,453. Males had a median income of $27,700 versus $20,760 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,690. About 7.40% of families and 11.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.80% of those under age 18 and 9.30% of those age 65 or over.

CommunitiesEdit

CitiesEdit

Unincorporated communitiesEdit

TownshipsEdit

Census-designated placeEdit

Population rankingEdit

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2020 census of Union County.[1]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2020 Census)
1 Creston City 7,536
2 Afton City 874
3 Lorimor City 386
4 Cromwell City 105
5 Arispe City 96
6 Shannon City (partially in Ringgold County) City 67 (73 total)
7 Thayer City 51
8 Kent CDP 37

PoliticsEdit

United States presidential election results for Union County, Iowa[14]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 4,010 64.83% 2,061 33.32% 114 1.84%
2016 3,525 60.44% 1,922 32.96% 385 6.60%
2012 2,813 47.22% 3,043 51.08% 101 1.70%
2008 2,781 47.02% 3,000 50.73% 133 2.25%
2004 3,165 52.94% 2,747 45.95% 66 1.10%
2000 3,003 52.32% 2,540 44.25% 197 3.43%
1996 2,156 38.11% 2,787 49.27% 714 12.62%
1992 2,224 36.45% 2,565 42.04% 1,313 21.52%
1988 2,751 45.54% 3,236 53.57% 54 0.89%
1984 3,583 54.49% 2,875 43.72% 118 1.79%
1980 3,372 56.40% 2,182 36.49% 425 7.11%
1976 2,873 48.30% 2,955 49.68% 120 2.02%
1972 3,734 62.47% 2,112 35.34% 131 2.19%
1968 3,365 57.05% 2,137 36.23% 396 6.71%
1964 2,502 39.95% 3,751 59.89% 10 0.16%
1960 4,417 61.85% 2,720 38.08% 5 0.07%
1956 4,666 62.21% 2,828 37.70% 7 0.09%
1952 5,742 68.92% 2,566 30.80% 24 0.29%
1948 4,138 55.81% 3,218 43.40% 58 0.78%
1944 4,566 61.29% 2,861 38.40% 23 0.31%
1940 5,421 62.54% 3,229 37.25% 18 0.21%
1936 4,647 53.42% 3,938 45.27% 114 1.31%
1932 3,043 42.96% 3,967 56.01% 73 1.03%
1928 5,432 66.71% 2,651 32.56% 60 0.74%
1924 4,250 54.15% 1,166 14.86% 2,432 30.99%
1920 4,466 65.63% 2,228 32.74% 111 1.63%
1916 2,050 49.95% 1,985 48.37% 69 1.68%
1912 1,096 28.15% 1,528 39.25% 1,269 32.60%
1908 2,207 52.36% 1,843 43.72% 165 3.91%
1904 2,674 62.16% 1,322 30.73% 306 7.11%
1900 2,462 50.86% 2,218 45.82% 161 3.33%
1896 2,196 46.83% 2,425 51.72% 68 1.45%


See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "2020 Census State Redistricting Data". census.gov. United states Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Petersville and other early settlements", Union County Early Settlers and the Mormons, 2012-2014, Iowa GenWeb
  4. ^ "Union County History", 2012-2014, Iowa GenWeb
  5. ^ Adapted from original article from The Goldfinch 6, No. 1 (October 1984). Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  11. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  12. ^ "Population & Housing Occupancy Status 2010". United States Census Bureau - American FactFinder. Retrieved June 3, 2011.[dead link]
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  14. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 28, 2018.

External linksEdit


Coordinates: 41°01′33″N 94°14′29″W / 41.02583°N 94.24139°W / 41.02583; -94.24139