Postville, Iowa

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Postville, Iowa
Postville, Iowa business district.JPG
Hometown to the World[1][2]
Location of Postville, Iowa
Location of Postville, Iowa
Coordinates: 43°5′6″N 91°34′10″W / 43.08500°N 91.56944°W / 43.08500; -91.56944Coordinates: 43°5′6″N 91°34′10″W / 43.08500°N 91.56944°W / 43.08500; -91.56944
Country United States
State Iowa
CountiesAllamakee, Clayton
SettledJune 1843
IncorporatedMarch 11, 1873
 • Total2.11 sq mi (5.46 km2)
 • Land2.11 sq mi (5.46 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)
1,181 ft (360 m)
 • Total2,227
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,055/sq mi (407.5/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)563
FIPS code19-64290
GNIS feature ID0460373

Postville is a city in Allamakee and Clayton Counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. It lies near the junction of four counties and at the intersection of U.S. Routes 18 and 52 and Iowa Highway 51, with airport facilities in the neighboring communities of Waukon, Decorah, Monona, and Prairie du Chien. The population was 2,227 at the 2010 census, down from 2,273 in 2000. The city is located in the southwestern corner of Allamakee County and the northwestern corner of Clayton County in a quad county or four corner region where four counties meet in the same spot. Winneshiek County is just to the west, and Fayette County is located just to the southwest of Postville.


Postville was platted in 1853.[6] The city was named for Joel Post, a pioneer settler.[7]

In 1987, a group of Hasidic Jews started a Kosher slaughterhouse[8] called Agriprocessors. After numerous accusations of mistreatment of cattle, pollution, and violations of labor law, the facility was raided by the federal government in May 2008, resulting in hundreds of arrests of undocumented workers.[9] Agriprocessors filed for bankruptcy on November 5, 2008; the plant was bought at auction in July 2009 by SHF Industries and has resumed production under the new name Agri Star.


Postville's longitude and latitude coordinates in decimal form are 43.085102, -91.569515.[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.11 square miles (5.46 km2), all of it land.[3]


Historical populations
Source:"American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 2,227 people, 744 households, and 497 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,055.5 inhabitants per square mile (407.5/km2). There were 902 housing units at an average density of 427.5 per square mile (165.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.0% White, 4.4% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.7% Pacific Islander, 14.3% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 32.0% of the population.

There were 744 households of which 40.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.2% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.54.

The median age in the city was 30.2 years. 32.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.6% were from 25 to 44; 18.4% were from 45 to 64; and 14.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.4% male and 49.6% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 2,273 people, 792 households, and 548 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,093.6 people per square mile (421.9/km²). There were 824 housing units at an average density of 396.5 per square mile (153.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.59% White, 0.62% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 17.03% from other races, and 2.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 20.63% of the population. Estimates of the Hasidic population range from 150 (American Jewish Year Book) to more than 300. 30% of Postville's residents were German, 18% Mexican, 10% Norwegian, 6% English, 6% Ukrainian, 5% Russian, 4% Irish, and 2% Swiss.[13]

There were 792 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.17.

Age spread: 25.7% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,667, and the median income for a family was $40,125. Males had a median income of $22,083 versus $16,596 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,264. About 9.4% of families and 12.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.7% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.

Ethnic groups[edit]

In 2017 about one quarter of its population was made up of recent immigrants from Latin America and Somalia; Greg Flakus of Voice of America stated that this was ethnically diverse compared to most Iowa towns, which were almost uniformly non-Hispanic white, even though "Postville is not all that diverse" compared to major American metropolitan areas.[14] The earliest immigrants were from England, Germany, and Scandinavia.[14]

Orthodox Jews established Agriprocessors circa 1987; the founders of the plant came from New York City.[14] At its peak, there were about 100 Orthodox Jewish families in Postville. After the 2008 raid the number declined, and in 2017 there were about 50 Orthodox Jewish families.[15] Postville has services for Jewish families typically seen in larger communities.[14] Postville also has a Jewish elementary school and a yeshiva. A Judaic library opened in 2005, but it closed after the raid.[15]

There was a lack of labor after the 2008 raid lead to the arrests of Hispanics; as a result, Somalis came to Postville from Minnesota and Wisconsin to work in the area kosher factory.[15] Mother Jones stated that this caused a "cultural shift".[16]

Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America discusses the arrival of the Orthodox Jews.


Postville's growth was due to the presence of two large meat processing plants, Agriprocessors and Iowa Turkey Products. The Iowa Turkey Products plant burned in December 2003; it was rebuilt in Marshall, Minnesota.

Agriprocessors, a kosher meat plant, was the largest of its type in the world. As of February 2008 it employed about 900 people and purchased $100 million worth of livestock annually. In May 2008, it was the target of a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid.[17] Subsequently, a criminal complaint was filed against Agriprocessors and its principal for alleged violations of child labor laws.[18] As a result of its legal problems, Agriprocessors became insolvent and was run by a Chapter 11 bankruptcy trustee until bought at auction in July 2009 by SHF Industries. It resumed business as Agri Star Meat & Poultry, LLC under the new ownership.

As of 2017, 700 people, more than 30% of the total population, work at Agri Star; about one hundred are of Somali origins.[15]

Postville is also the home of a composites factory, Norplex-Micarta, started in 1975.[19] The Norplex factory produces laminated plastics plate, sheet, and profile shapes. As of 2007 it employed between 150 and 200 workers.[20]


Postville Community School District operates public schools.

Mesivta of Postville is the area yeshiva.[21]

Notable person[edit]

Postville was the boyhood home of 1946 Nobel Peace Prize laureate John R. Mott.


  1. ^ "City of Postville, Iowa - Hometown to the World". Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-05-11. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
  5. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  6. ^ Alexander, W. E. (1882). History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties, Iowa. Western Publishing Company. p. 398.
  7. ^ Ellery M. Hancock (1913). Past and Present of Allamakee County, Iowa: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement. S. J. Clarke publishing Company. p. 477.
  8. ^ "Kosher slaughterhouse owners surrounded by scandal." Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008
  9. ^ Spencer S. Hsu (May 18, 2008). "Immigration Raid Jars a Small Town". Washington Post.
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  13. ^ "Postville, IA, Ancestry & Family History". Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  14. ^ a b c d Flakus, Greg (2017-06-02). "Small Iowa Town Celebrates Its Diversity". Voice of America. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  15. ^ a b c d Tapper, Josh (2016-02-03). "Postville, Iowa's Jewish Community Bounces Back After Immigration Raid". Haaretz. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  16. ^ Michaels, Samantha (2017-08-24). "A Federal Judge Put Hundreds of Immigrants Behind Bars While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  17. ^ Postville Raid
  18. ^ "Mayor: Feds turned my town 'topsy turvy'". Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  19. ^ "About Norplex-Micarta: history, technology, and capabilities". Norplex-Micarta. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  20. ^ "CORTERA-NORPLEX OAK INC". Cortera, Inc. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  21. ^ Home. Mesivta of Postville. Retrieved on October 24, 2017.

Books on Postville[edit]

External links[edit]