September 15, 2013

Database: Iowa’s Opportunity Gap

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Jaime Vargas/IowaWatch

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Jaime Vargas/IowaWatch

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

This is a five-week long series examining a disparity gap that shows up in U.S. Census data for Iowa from 1960 through 2010.

HOW WE DID THE PROJECT

IowaWatch obtained an analysis of 50 years of U.S. Census data earlier this year from the Colorado-based public service journalism organization I-News, a member of the Investigative News Network to which IowaWatch belongs. IowaWatch pulled Iowa data from the I-News report, organized and analyzed it, and shared it with The Hawk Eye in Burlington; The Fort Dodge Messenger; The Gazette, in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City; and the West Liberty Index. Reporters from those newspapers interviewed sources in Burlington, Fort Dodge, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and West Liberty. IowaWatch did the other interviews.

Lauren Mills/IowaWatch

The original database for this story was compiled by I-News using Census number from the past six decades.

Among the many issues creating opportunity gaps for minorities in Iowa is the disproportionate number of Iowa prisoners identifying as minorities. While blacks made up just under three percent of Iowa’s population during the 2010 census, they formed roughly 26 percent of Iowa’s prison population during that same year.

Lauren Mills/IowaWatch

Experts interviewed by IowaWatch reporter, Stephen Gruber-Miller, said negative stereotypes continue to impact minorities in Iowa. Among those negative stereotypes is the impression that young minorities are more likely to commit violent crimes. However, information from the Iowa Uniform Crime Reports show shoplifting and simple assault are among the most common offenses made by both minorities and whites in Iowa.

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