How Audubon, other Iowa towns thrive, rise above rural decline

8 Sep 2021


Bloomfield, Iowa, lacks the advantages some small Iowa towns have. It is not on the interstate highway system or a major airport.

But Bloomfield, Davis County’s seat in southern Iowa 11 miles from Iowa’s border with Missouri, grew its population from 2,640 in 2010 to 2,682 in 2020, new U.S. census data show.

“Even if people aren’t working here, they’re living here,” Tammy Roberts, the town’s community development director, said.

A handful of small Iowa towns like Bloomfield, with populations of less than 5,000 and not part of a larger metro area, bucked the trend and grew their populations in the 2020 census data just released. These outliers come at a time when census data show Iowans increasingly living in urban areas. The growing small towns have one or more of the following working in their favor, a four-month IowaWatch investigation revealed during visits to 58 towns of 5,000 or fewer people.

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