Located in the Midwest region of the United States, Iowa is a landlocked state bordered by Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Iowa has an area of 56,857 square miles with a population density of 54 people per square mile. The capital is Des Moines, and its metropolitan area is home to over 217 thousand people. It is one of the most populous states in the country.
The geography of Iowa is mainly composed of rolling hills and plains. Approximately 85 percent of the state consists of cultivated cropland, while the remaining percentage contains tallgrass prairie or mixed grassland ecosystems.
Iowa's two most important rivers are the Mississippi and Missouri, contributing to an extensive river system spanning 2,339 miles (3,765 km). The Mississippi River rises in northwestern Minnesota and flows south to the Gulf of Mexico just below New Orleans. Meanwhile, the Missouri River rises in southern Montana from the Rocky Mountains and generally flows southeast toward St. Louis before merging with the Mississippi River north of the city. Other notable rivers include the Cedar and Des Moines Rivers. Many small lakes are also located mainly in the northwestern part of the Des Moines Lobe.
The landscape around the Mississippi River was once home to extensive hardwood forests, but locals cleared them to make way for agriculture. Soil erosion caused much of this land to be washed away by flooding in some areas.
In the far north-eastern part of Iowa, the Paleozoic Plateau is the elevated, deeply ridged bedrock fronting the Mississippi River. The Loess Hills, which are low mountains that span much of the western border with Nebraska, give way to 250-foot high bluffs rising above the Missouri River in the far west corner. These hills are located along the western border with Nebraska and South Dakota and cover about 1,080 square miles.
Further north in Iowa lies Hawkeye Point - the highest point in the state at an elevation of 1,677ft (511m) - situated amongst rolling hills of Northwest Iowa Plains. One can find glaciated drift topography, including kettle lakes in northwestern Iowa, pothole marshes, and other wetland areas throughout the state. In contrast, the lowest point of the state occurs at the junction of the Des Moines and Mississippi Rivers, at an elevation of 480ft.
In central Iowa, there are what's known as large-scale agricultural fields where corn and soybeans are typically planted in a grid-like pattern northwest to southeast pattern parallel with prevailing winds and drainage patterns eastward towards the Great Lakes tributary river systems that flow into Lake Michigan or Lake Erie.
Even more additional diversity is present in Iowa's landscapes, as there are a variety of wildlife refuges scattered throughout this part of North America, such as Prairie Creek Wildlife Refuge near Sumner, Wapsipinicon National Wildlife Refuge near Muscatine, Big Marsh Wildlife Refuge near Adair, plus many more publicly managed nature reserves suitable for outdoor recreation activities.
The State of Iowa is divided into 99 counties. In alphabetical order, these counties are: Adair, Adams, Allamakee, Appanoose, Audubon, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Clarke, Clay, Clayton, Clinton, Crawford, Dallas, Davis, Decatur, Delaware, Des Moines, Dickinson, Dubuque, Emmet, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Fremont, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Howard, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa County, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Kossuth, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Lucas, Lyon, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Mills, Mitchell, Monona, Monroe, Montgomery, Muscatine, Obrien, Osceola, Page, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Polk, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Ringgold, Sac, Scott, Shelby, Sioux, Story, Tama, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, Worth, and Wright.
With an area of 145,743.8 sq. km, Iowa is the 26th largest and the 30th most populous state in the USA. Located in the south-central part of the state, at the confluence of Des Moines and Raccoon River is, Des Moines – the capital, the largest and the most populous city of Iowa. The city serves as a major communication hub and is also home to numerous insurance and financial services companies.
The State of Iowa is located in the north-central (Midwest) region of the United States. Iowa is bordered by the state of Minnesota in the north; by Wisconsin in the northeast; by Illinois in the east and southeast; by Missouri in the south; by Nebraska in the west and by South Dakota in the northwest. It is also bounded by the Mississippi River in the east and the Missouri River along with its tributary – the Big Sioux River in the west.
Regional Maps: Map of North America
|Legal Name||State of Iowa|
|ISO 3166 Code||US-IA|
|Capital City||Des Moines|
Des Moines (566,004)
This page was last updated on February 7, 2023