Dubuque County, Iowa

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Dubuque County
The Dubuque County Courthouse is an example of Beaux-Arts architecture.
Official seal of Dubuque County
Map of Iowa highlighting Dubuque County
Location within the U.S. state of Iowa
Map of the United States highlighting Iowa
Iowa's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 42°28′15″N 90°52′42″W / 42.47083°N 90.87833°W / 42.47083; -90.87833Coordinates: 42°28′15″N 90°52′42″W / 42.47083°N 90.87833°W / 42.47083; -90.87833
Country United States
State Iowa
Founded1834
Named forJulien Dubuque
SeatDubuque
Largest cityDubuque
Area
 • Total617 sq mi (1,600 km2)
 • Land608 sq mi (1,570 km2)
 • Water8.3 sq mi (21 km2)  1.4%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total99,266
 • Density160/sq mi (62/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district1st
Websitewww.dubuquecountyiowa.gov

Dubuque County is a county located in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2020 census, the population was 99,266,[1] making it the eighth-most populous county in Iowa. The county seat is Dubuque.[2] The county is named for Julien Dubuque, the first European settler of Iowa.

Dubuque County comprises the Dubuque, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area.[3]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

Dubuque County is named for French trader Julien Dubuque,[4] the first European settler of Iowa, and an early lead mining pioneer in what is now Dubuque County. Dubuque was French Canadian, and had (by most accounts) a friendly relationship with the local Fox tribe of Native Americans. He and other early pioneers established a lucrative mining and trading industry in the area. When lead deposits began becoming exhausted, the pioneers developed boat building, lumber yards, milling, brewing, and machinery manufacturing to take its place.

The establishment of the City of Dubuque in 1833 led to large-scale settlement of the surrounding area. This was greatly encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which sent priests, bishops, and nuns to establish churches in the unpopulated countryside. Primarily, Irish and German (many of whom were Catholic) immigrants came to the region.

At an extra session of the Sixth Legislative Assembly of Michigan Territory held in September, 1834, the Iowa District was divided into two counties by running a line due west from the lower end of Rock Island in the Mississippi River. The territory north of this line (which started just south of the present-day Davenport) was named Dubuque County, and all south of it was Demoine County [sic]. Thus, at that time Dubuque County nominally included not only much of what is now the state of Minnesota but portions of what are now North Dakota and South Dakota.

Dubuque County became part of Wisconsin Territory once it was split off from Michigan Territory on July 3, 1836. A massive reorganization and reduction of the county's size was executed on December 21, 1837, when its original area was separated into 13 named new counties and a "non-county area". The land in present day Minnesota and the Dakotas was transferred to the newly created Fayette County in this action. Dubuque County became a part of Iowa Territory upon its creation on July 4, 1838.[5]

In 1858, Saint Francis Catholic Church was established in Dubuque County.

Middle history[edit]

In the 1980s, the farm crisis set in, and devastated large sections of the Midwest, including Dubuque County. Since the area was heavily dependent on agriculture-related industries like Deere and Company and the Dubuque Packing Company, unemployment soared. In one month of 1982, Dubuque County had 23% unemployment, the highest in the nation. The county experienced huge population losses during this time, as workers left the area. It would not fully recover from this until the late 1990s, when the economy diversified, shifting away from manufacturing, and toward various service-related establishments.

Modern history[edit]

Since the 1990s, the area has become much more prosperous. Today, the county boasts record employment levels and a growing population. The surging economy can especially be seen in the West Side of the City of Dubuque, and in neighboring Peosta and Asbury. These areas have expanded so much that concerns now lie with trying to manage the growth, a sharp change from just 20 years ago.

It is one of Iowa's two original counties along with Des Moines County; both were organized by the Michigan Territorial legislature in 1834.

The city of Dubuque was chartered in 1833 as the first city in Iowa.

In 2021, the Dubuque County Minutemen baseball team advanced to the American Legion World Series semi-finals, the first team from Iowa to advance that far since Cedar Rapids, IA in 1975.

Government[edit]

Dubuque County is governed by a three-member Board of Supervisors elected at large. Current supervisors include Ann McDonough, Jay Wickham and Harley Pothoff (chairperson). They meet weekly on Monday at 9:00 a.m. and the last Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the Dubuque County Courthouse.

The current county attorney is C.J. May, who succeeded Ralph Potter in 2019.

The current county auditor is Kevin Dragotto, who succeeded Denise Dolan in 2021.

Law enforcement[edit]

Dubuque County Sheriff's Office
{{{patchcaption}}}
AbbreviationDCSO
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionDubuque, Iowa, USA
Map of Iowa highlighting Dubuque County.svg
Map of Dubuque County Sheriff's Office's jurisdiction
Size617 square miles (1,600 km2)
Population92,359 (2006)
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters770 Iowa Street, Dubuque, Iowa
Sheriff responsible
  • Joe Kennedy (since 2016)[6]
Website
Official website

The county sheriff's office provides law enforcement services for unincorporated areas of Dubuque County, as well as providing courthouse security, operating the county jail, and performing civil procedures. The Sheriff's Department is located at the Dubuque City/County Law Enforcement Center. The department shares facilities and other resources with the Dubuque Police Department.

Geography[edit]

Geographic features[edit]

The county borders on Illinois and Wisconsin, and is bounded on the northeast by the Mississippi River.[7] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 617 square miles (1,600 km2), of which 608 square miles (1,570 km2) is land and 8.3 square miles (21 km2) (1.4%) is water.[8] The county is drained by north and south forks of the Maquoketa River.[7]

The county seat is Dubuque, Iowa, which is located along the Mississippi River in the east-central portion of the county. Eastern Dubuque County is markedly different from the western portion in that its topography is very uneven. The city of Dubuque and surrounding areas adjacent to the Mississippi River have many steep hills, bluffs, and ravines. Also, the eastern portion is more heavily wooded than the west, which is mostly rolling farmland.

Dubuque County is widely known for its impressive bluffs along the Mississippi River, which run along the entire length of the county's riverbanks. These form part of Iowa's Coulee Region, otherwise known as the Driftless Area. During the last ice age, much of the Mississippi Valley near Dubuque County was bypassed by glacial flows, which flattened the surrounding land in eastern Illinois, Wisconsin, and western Iowa, leaving the Driftless Area unusually rugged.

Major parks[edit]

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources administers 3 park and preserve areas in the county:

The Dubuque County Conservation Board administers 11 park and recreation areas in the county:

  • Bankston Park
  • Fillmore Recreation Area & Fairways
  • Finley's Landing Park
  • Heritage Trail & Pond
  • Interstate Power Forest Preserve
  • Massey Marina Park
  • Mud Lake Park
  • New Wine Park
  • Pohlman Prairie Preserve
  • Swiss Valley Nature Park & Preserve
  • Whitewater Canyon Park

The City of Dubuque and other towns in the county also operate public park systems of their own. (see Parks in Dubuque, Iowa)

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18403,059
185010,841254.4%
186031,164187.5%
187038,96925.0%
188042,99610.3%
189049,84815.9%
190056,40313.1%
191057,4501.9%
192058,2621.4%
193061,2145.1%
194063,7684.2%
195071,33711.9%
196080,04812.2%
197090,60913.2%
198093,7453.5%
199086,403−7.8%
200089,1433.2%
201093,6535.1%
202099,2666.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2019[13]
Population of Dubuque County from US census data

2020 census[edit]

The 2020 census recorded a population of 99,266 in the county, with a population density of 160.6862/sq mi (62.04130/km2). 96.34% of the population reported being of one race. 85.97% were non-Hispanic White, 4.16% were Black, 3.00% were Hispanic, 0.26% were Native American, 1.04% were Asian, 0.84% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander and 4.74% were some other race or more than one race. There were 42,630 housing units of which 39,891 were occupied.[14]

2010 census[edit]

The 2010 census recorded a population of 93,653 in the county, with a population density of 153.9940/sq mi (59.4574/km2). There were 38,951 housing units, of which 36,815 were occupied.[15]

2000 census[edit]

2000 Census Age Pyramid for Dubuque County

At the 2000 census,[16] there were 89,143 people, 33,690 households and 23,111 families residing in the county. The population density was 147 per square mile (57/km2). There were 35,505 housing units at an average density of 58 per square mile (23/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.07% White, 0.86% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 1.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

2005 estimates by the census indicated that Dubuque had a population that identified itself as being 95.5% non-Hispanic white, 1.3% African American, 0.7% Asian and 1.5% Latino.[17]

There were 33,690 households, of which 33.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.80% were married couples living together, 8.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.40% were non-families. 26.70% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.07.

25.60% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.20% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.30 males.

The median household income was $39,582 and the median family income was $48,742. Males had a median income of $31,977 versus $22,309 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,600. About 4.90% of families and 7.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.80% of those under age 18 and 11.00% of those age 65 or over.

Economy[edit]

Historically, Dubuque County's economy was driven by heavy industry, including, among others, Deere and Company, and the now-defunct Dubuque Packing Company. However, within the last 20 years, and especially within the last 10 years, the economy has diversified a great deal. Now, alongside manufacturing, which still employs thousands of workers, many county residents work in the tourism/gaming, health care, education, publishing, and financial service sectors.

The county's economy is largely centered around business and industry within the City of Dubuque. With the exception of industrial areas in Cascade, Dyersville, and Peosta, almost all of the rest of the county is rural and agriculturally driven. Some of the key industries in Dubuque County include: Deere and Company, Eagle Window & Door Co., Flexsteel Industries, Mi-T-M Corp., A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co., Klauer Mfg., Georgia-Pacific, and Swiss Valley Farms, among others. Besides industry, large numbers of people work for the Dubuque Community School District, Mercy Medical Center - Dubuque, Medical Associates, Finley Hospital, Prudential Financial, the City of Dubuque, and Cottingham & Butler.

Growth[edit]

Dubuque County has, in recent years, enjoyed job growth, low unemployment, and the rapid expansion of business and commerce. Alongside these positives, the county is beginning to see a growing population, as well. Up from a recent low of 86,403 in 1990, the population is now about 97,000 and growing. This can be seen especially in the West Side of the City of Dubuque, and in nearby Asbury and Peosta. This fact is especially significant, considering that all of the counties surrounding Dubuque County have fewer people now than they did in 1900, with the exception of Grant County, Wisconsin.

Politics[edit]

Dubuque County is historically Democratic and has supported every Democratic Party Presidential candidate from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, with President Obama winning the county by over 20 points in 2008.[18] In 2016, it was narrowly won by Donald Trump, who became the first Republican to win the county since President Eisenhower in 1956.[19] Trump won the county again in 2020, by a larger margin.

Dubuque County is within Iowa's 1st congressional district, represented by Republican Ashley Hinson.

United States presidential election results for Dubuque County, Iowa[20]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 27,214 50.47% 25,657 47.58% 1,055 1.96%
2016 23,460 47.18% 22,850 45.96% 3,411 6.86%
2012 21,280 41.81% 28,768 56.53% 846 1.66%
2008 18,651 38.89% 28,611 59.65% 701 1.46%
2004 20,100 42.73% 26,561 56.46% 382 0.81%
2000 16,462 40.83% 22,341 55.41% 1,520 3.77%
1996 13,391 35.19% 20,839 54.77% 3,821 10.04%
1992 14,007 32.60% 20,539 47.80% 8,422 19.60%
1988 14,530 37.69% 23,797 61.74% 220 0.57%
1984 19,239 46.37% 21,876 52.72% 376 0.91%
1980 18,649 44.90% 18,689 44.99% 4,201 10.11%
1976 17,459 44.71% 20,548 52.62% 1,042 2.67%
1972 17,272 47.29% 18,417 50.43% 832 2.28%
1968 14,197 40.72% 18,664 53.54% 2,002 5.74%
1964 10,104 29.87% 23,695 70.06% 24 0.07%
1960 12,740 36.64% 22,007 63.30% 19 0.05%
1956 17,923 57.36% 13,174 42.16% 150 0.48%
1952 18,075 55.03% 14,542 44.27% 228 0.69%
1948 10,111 39.02% 15,521 59.90% 281 1.08%
1944 12,502 49.11% 12,867 50.54% 89 0.35%
1940 14,590 51.30% 13,805 48.54% 46 0.16%
1936 8,275 30.22% 16,291 59.50% 2,812 10.27%
1932 6,747 24.99% 19,210 71.15% 1,042 3.86%
1928 9,744 33.30% 19,437 66.42% 81 0.28%
1924 8,280 32.77% 5,718 22.63% 11,269 44.60%
1920 12,436 59.22% 7,636 36.36% 928 4.42%
1916 5,772 47.22% 6,063 49.60% 388 3.17%
1912 1,620 13.82% 6,237 53.20% 3,867 32.98%
1908 4,708 39.71% 6,645 56.05% 502 4.23%
1904 5,485 48.31% 4,913 43.27% 955 8.41%
1900 4,752 41.09% 6,655 57.55% 157 1.36%
1896 5,203 43.73% 6,510 54.72% 185 1.55%


Education[edit]

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Townships[edit]

Dubuque County is divided into seventeen townships:

Population ranking[edit]

List of Cities in Dubuque County ranked by population
Recorded by the United States Census Bureau
'county seat'
Rank City 2020 City Population 2010 City Population Change
1 Dubuque 59,667 57,637 +3.52%
2 Asbury 5,943 4,170 +42.52%
3 Dyersville (partially in Delaware County) 4,477 4,058 +10.33%
4 Cascade (partially in Jones County) 2,386 2,159 +10.51%
5 Epworth 2,023 1,860 +8.76%
6 Peosta 1,908 1,377 +38.56%
7 Farley 1,766 1,537 +14.90%
8 New Vienna 382 407 −6.14%
Worthington 382 401 −4.74%
10 Holy Cross 356 374 −4.81%
11 Luxemburg 245 240 +2.08%
12 Rickardsville 202 182 +10.99%
13 Sherrill 189 177 +6.78%
14 Centralia 116 134 −13.43%
15 Bernard 114 112 +1.79%
16 Sageville 95 122 −22.13%
17 Zwingle (partially in Jackson County) 84 91 −7.69%
18 Balltown 79 68 +16.18%
19 Bankston 23 25 −8.00%
20 Durango 20 22 −9.09%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2020 Census State Redistricting Data". census.gov. United states Census Bureau. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on July 4, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Metropolitan Statistical Area Definitions" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 1, 2006. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 109.
  5. ^ "WI: Individual County Chronologies". publications.newberry.org. Archived from the original on April 14, 2017. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  6. ^ "DUBUQUE COUNTY SHERIFFS". Encyclopedia Dubuque. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Dubuque" . The American Cyclopædia.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  13. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "2020 Census State Redistricting Data". census.gov. United states Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  15. ^ "Population & Housing Occupancy Status 2010" (PDF). United States Census Bureau American FactFinder. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ Dubuque County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau Archived June 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "David Leip's Presidential Atlas (Maps for Iowa by election)". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  19. ^ "Democrats' Task: Rebuild the Blue Political Wall in Midwest". fortune.com. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  20. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 7, 2018.

External links[edit]