Polk County, IA

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Population

481,830

1.64% growth

Median Age

35.5


Median Household Income

$65,995

3.01% growth

Poverty Rate

11.7%


Number of Employees

261,263

2.9% growth

Median Property Value

$180,700

5.18% growth

About

In 2017, Polk County, IA had a population of 482k people with a median age of 35.5 and a median household income of $65,995. Between 2016 and 2017 the population of Polk County, IA grew from 474,045 to 481,830, a 1.64% increase and its median household income grew from $64,067 to $65,995, a 3.01% increase.

The population of Polk County, IA is 77.5% White Alone, 8.43% Hispanic or Latino, and 6.21% Black or African American Alone. N/A% of the people in Polk County, IA speak a non-English language, and 95.2% are U.S. citizens.

The largest universities in Polk County, IA are Des Moines Area Community College (3,358 degrees awarded in 2016), Drake University (1,505 degrees), and Grand View University (645 degrees).

The median property value in Polk County, IA is $180,700, and the homeownership rate is 68%. Most people in Polk County, IA commute by Drove Alone, and the average commute time is 18.8 minutes. The average car ownership in Polk County, IA is 2 cars per household.

About the photo: The pedestrian bridge just south of Court Ave in downtown Des Moines.

Economy

The economy of Polk County, IA employs 261k people. The largest industries in Polk County, IA are Health Care & Social Assistance (35,334 people), Finance & Insurance (33,550 people), and Retail Trade (32,316 people), and the highest paying industries are Public Administration ($63,282), Management of Companies & Enterprises ($61,223), and Utilities ($61,179).

Median household income in Polk County, IA is $65,995. Males in Polk County, IA have an average income that is 1.3 times higher than the average income of females, which is $46,360. The income inequality in Polk County, IA (measured using the Gini index) is 0.434, which is lower than than the national average.

Wages

Median Household Income

$65,995

2017 value

± $2,029

3.01%

1 Year Growth

± 5.04%

Households in Polk County, IA have a median annual income of $65,995, which is more than the median annual income of $60,336 across the entire United States. This is in comparison to a median income of $64,067 in 2016, which represents a 3.01% annual growth.

Look at the chart to see how the median household income in Polk County, IA compares to that of it's neighboring and parent geographies.

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Wage by Gender in Common Jobs

The PUMS dataset is not available at the County level, so we are showing data for Iowa.

$60,175

Average Male Salary

± $1,575

$46,360

Average Female Salary

± $1,221

In 2017, full-time male employees in Iowa made 1.3 times more than female employees.

This chart shows the gender-based wage disparity in the 5 most common occupations in Iowa by number of full-time employees.

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Wage by Race and Ethnicity in Common Jobs

The PUMS dataset is not available at the County level, so we are showing data for Iowa.

Highest Average Salaries by Race & Ethnicity

  1. Asian

    $56,525 ± $7,743

  2. White

    $46,220 ± $948

  3. American Indian and Alaska Native tribes specified; or American Indian or Alaska Native, not specified and no other races

    $42,007 ± $13,617

In 2017 the highest paid race/ethnicity of Iowa workers was Asian. These workers were paid 1.22 times more than White workers, who made the second highest salary of any race/ethnicity.

This chart shows the race- and ethnicity-based wage disparities in the 5 most common occupations in Iowa by number of full-time employees.

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Wage Distribution

The closest comparable wage GINI for Polk County, IA is from Iowa.

0.434

2017 Wage GINI

0.444

2016 Wage GINI

In 2017, the income inequality in Iowa was 0.434 according to the GINI calculation of the wage distribution. Income inequality had a 2.29% decline from 2016 to 2017, which means that wage distribution grew somewhat more even.

The 2017 the GINI for Iowa was lower than than the national average of 0.479. In other words, wages are distributed more evenly in Iowa in comparison to the national average.

This chart shows the number of workers in Iowa across various wage buckets compared to the national average.

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Income by Location

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Highest Median Household Income (Total)

  1. Census Tract 117.01

  2. Census Tract 112.03

  3. Census Tract 30.02

In 2017, the tract with the highest Median Household Income (Total) in Polk County, IA was Census Tract 117.01 with a value of $123,169, followed by Census Tract 112.03 and Census Tract 30.02, with respective values of $119,531 and $115,750.

The following map shows all of the tracts in Polk County, IA colored by their Median Household Income (Total).

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Poverty by Age and Gender

Females 25 - 34

Largest Demographic Living in Poverty

11.7% of the population for whom poverty status is determined in Polk County, IA (53.6k out of 458k people) live below the poverty line, a number that is lower than the national average of 13.4%. The largest demographic living in poverty are Females 25 - 34, followed by Females 18 - 24 and then Females 35 - 44.

The Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who classifies as impoverished. If a family's total income is less than the family's threshold than that family and every individual in it is considered to be living in poverty.

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Poverty by Race and Ethnicity

Largest Race or Ethnicity Living in Poverty

  1. White

    36,253 ± 1,363

  2. Black

    9,026 ± 700

  3. Hispanic

    8,938 ± 689

The most common racial or ethnic group living below the poverty line in Polk County, IA is White, followed by Black and Hispanic.

The Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who classifies as impoverished. If a family's total income is less than the family's threshold than that family and every individual in it is considered to be living in poverty.

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Occupations

Employment by Occupations

261k

2017 Value

± 8,676

2.9%

1 Year growth

± 4.69%

From 2016 to 2017, employment in Polk County, IA grew at a rate of 2.9%, from 254k employees to 261k employees.

The most common job groups, by number of people living in Polk County, IA, are Office & Administrative Support Occupations (37,384 people), Sales & Related Occupations (28,929 people), and Management Occupations (27,343 people). This chart illustrates the share breakdown of the primary jobs held by residents of Polk County, IA.

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Most Common

The most common jobs held by residents of Polk County, IA, by number of employees, are Office & Administrative Support Occupations (37,384 people), Sales & Related Occupations (28,929 people), and Management Occupations (27,343 people).

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Most Specialized

Compared to other counties, Polk County, IA has an unusually high number of residents working as Business & Financial Operations Occupations (1.36 times higher than expected), Computer & Mathematical Occupations (1.22 times), and Food Preparation & Serving Related Occupations (1.18 times).

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Highest Paid

The highest paid jobs held by residents of Polk County, IA, by median earnings, are Legal Occupations ($90,060), Architecture & Engineering Occupations ($82,063), and Computer & Mathematical Occupations ($78,408).

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Industries

Employment by Industries

261k

2017 Value

± 8,676

2.9%

1 Year growth

± 4.69%

From 2016 to 2017, employment in Polk County, IA grew at a rate of 2.9%, from 254k employees to 261k employees.

The most common employment sectors for those who live in Polk County, IA, are Health Care & Social Assistance (35,334 people), Finance & Insurance (33,550 people), and Retail Trade (32,316 people). This chart shows the share breakdown of the primary industries for residents of Polk County, IA, though some of these residents may live in Polk County, IA and work somewhere else. Census data is tagged to a residential address, not a work address.

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Most Common

The most common industries in Polk County, IA, by number of employees, are Health Care & Social Assistance (35,334 people), Finance & Insurance (33,550 people), and Retail Trade (32,316 people).

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Most Specialized

Compared to other counties, Polk County, IA has an unusually high number of Finance & Insurance (2.71 times higher than expected), Retail Trade (1.11 times), and Wholesale Trade (1.04 times) industries.

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Highest Paying

The highest paying industries in Polk County, IA, by median earnings, are Public Administration ($63,282), Management of Companies & Enterprises ($61,223), and Utilities ($61,179).

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Domestic Trade

Domestic Production & Consumption

Domestic production and consumption consists of products and services shipped from Iowa to other states, or from other states to Iowa.

Top Domestic Production in Dollars

  1. $24.8B

  2. $18.8B

  3. $18.2B

In 2015, the top outbound Iowa product (by dollars) was Cereal grains with $24.8B, followed by Machinery ($18.8B) and Other ag prods. ($18.2B).

The following chart shows the share of these products in relation to all outbound Iowa products.

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Domestic Trade Growth

Showing data for Iowa state.

$245B

2015 Value

$363B

Projected 2045 Value

47.9% growth

In 2015, total outbound Iowa trade was $245B. This is expected to increase 47.9% to $363B by 2045.

The following chart shows how the domestic outbound Iowa trade is projected to change in comparison to its neighboring states.

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Interstate Trade

Interstate trade consists of products and services shipped from Iowa to other states, or from other states to Iowa.

Most Common Trade Partners

  1. $26.2B

  2. $16.1B

  3. $11.4B

In 2015, the top outbound Iowa domestic partner for goods and services (by dollars) was Illinois with $26.2B, followed by Minnesota with $16.1B and Nebraska and $11.4B.

The following map shows the amount of trade that Iowa shares with each state (excluding itself).

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Health

95.1% of the population of Polk County, IA has health coverage, with 58.8% on employee plans, 13.6% on Medicaid, 9.65% on Medicare, 12.3% on non-group plans, and 0.77% on military or VA plans.

Per capita personal health care spending in the county of Polk County, IA was $8,200 in 2014. This is a 5.05% increase from the previous year ($7,806).

Primary care physicians in Polk County, IA see 1037 patients per year on average, which represents a 0.387% increase from the previous year (1033 patients). Compare this to dentists who see 1468 patients per year, and mental health providers who see 468 patients per year.

Comparing across all counties in the state, Appanoose County has the highest prevalence of diabetes (13.3%). Additionally, Union County has the highest prevalence of adult obesity (39.4%)

Patient to Clinician Ratios

1,037 to 1

Patient to Primary Care Physician Ratio

Primary care physicians in Polk County, IA see an average of 1,037 patients per year. This represents a 0.387% increase from the previous year (1,033 patients).

The following chart shows how the number of patients seen by primary care physicians has been changing over time in Polk County, IA in comparison to neighboring states.

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Behavioral Health Conditions

Data only available at the state level.

State with the Highest Prevalence

  1. 8.26% of the population affected

  2. 8.13% of the population affected

  3. 7.98% of the population affected

In 2016, West Virginia had the highest prevalence of adults with major depressive episode, with 8.26% of the population affected. The second highest is Arkansas (8.13%), followed by New Hampshire (7.98%).

The following map shows the percent of individuals with major depressive episode by state over multiple years.

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Access and Quality

Data only available at state level.

Most prevalent states

  1. 19.2% of adults

  2. 17.9% of adults

  3. 17.6% of adults

In 2016, Mississippi had the highest prevalence of adults who haven't seen a doctor in the past 12 months due to cost, at 19.2%. It is followed by Texas (17.9%) and Louisiana (17.6%).

The following map shows the prevalence of adults who haven't seen a doctor in the past 12 months due to cost by state over multiple years.

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Health Care Spending

Data is only available at the state level. Showing data for Iowa.

$8,200

Total Per Capita Spending on Personal Health Care 

$4,076

Per Enrollee Private Health Insurance Spending on Personal Health Care

$6,702

Per Enrollee Medicaid Spending on Personal Health Care

$9,317

Per Enrollee Medicare Spending on Personal Health Care

Between 2013 and 2014, all personal health care spending per capita in Iowa (including private, Medicare, and Medicaid) grew 5.05%, from $7,806 to $8,200.

The following chart shows how this spending changed over time in comparison to Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance spending, per enrollee.

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Health Care Coverage

4.91%

Uninsured

58.8%

Employer Coverage

13.6%

Medicaid

9.65%

Medicare

12.3%

Non-Group

0.77%

Military or VA

Between 2016 and 2017, the percent of uninsured citizens in Polk County, IA grew by 7.54% from 4.57% to 4.91%.

The following chart shows how the percent of uninsured individuals in Polk County, IA changed over time compared with the percent of individuals enrolled in various types of health insurance.

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Health Risks

Data available at the county level.

Most at risk counties

  1. 13.3% prevalence

  2. 12.6% prevalence

  3. 12.1% prevalence

Appanoose County has the highest prevalence of diabetes in Iowa, at 13.3%.

The following map shows the prevalence of diabetes in Iowa by county over multiple years.

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Diversity

Polk County, IA is home to a population of 482k people, from which 95.2% are citizens. As of 2017, 8.66% of Polk County, IA residents were born outside of the country (41.7k people).

The ethnic composition of the population of Polk County, IA is composed of 374k White Alone residents (77.5%), 40.6k Hispanic or Latino residents (8.43%), 29.9k Black or African American Alone residents (6.21%), 23.3k Asian Alone residents (4.85%), 12.3k Two or More Races residents (2.55%), 1.02k American Indian & Alaska Native Alone residents (0.211%), 740 Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific Islander Alone residents (0.154%), and 265 Some Other Race Alone residents (0.055%).

The most common foreign languages spoken in Polk County, IA are N/A.

Age

Age by Nativity

35

Median Native-Born Age

± 0.3

39

Median Foreign-Born Age

± 0.9

In 2017, the median age of all people in Polk County, IA was 35.5. Native-born citizens, with a median age of 35, were generally younger than than foreign-born citizens, with a median age of 39. But people in Polk County, IA are getting getting older. In 2016, the average age of all Polk County, IA residents was 35.

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Heritage

Foreign-Born Population

8.66%

2017 Foreign-Born Population

41.7k people

8.45%

2016 Foreign-Born Population

40.1k people

As of 2017, 8.66% of Polk County, IA residents (41.7k people) were born outside of the United States, which is lower than the national average of 13.7%. In 2016, the percentage of foreign-born citizens in Polk County, IA was 8.45%, meaning that the rate has been increasing.

The following chart shows the percentage of foreign-born residents in Polk County, IA compared to that of it's neighboring and parent geographies.

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Global Diversity

The PUMS dataset is not available at the County level, so we are showing data for Iowa.

Most Common Origin

  1. Mexico

    37,481 ± 4,725 people

  2. Vietnam

    11,395 ± 2,616 people

  3. China

    10,837 ± 2,551 people

In 2017, the most common birthplace for the foreign-born residents of Iowa was Mexico, the natal country of 37,481 Iowa residents, followed by Vietnam with 11,395 and China with 10,837.

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Citizenship

95.2%

2017 Citizenship

94.8%

2016 Citizenship

As of 2017, 95.2% of Polk County, IA residents were US citizens, which is higher than the national average of 93.1%. In 2016, the percentage of US citizens in Polk County, IA was 94.8%, meaning that the rate of citizenship has been increasing.

The following chart shows US citizenship percentages in Polk County, IA compared to that of it's neighboring and parent geographies.

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Race and Ethnicity

Most Common

  1. White Alone

    374k ± 431

  2. Hispanic or Latino

    40.6k ± 3.86k

  3. Black or African American Alone

    29.9k ± 2.47k

In 2017, there were 9.19 times more White Alone residents (374k people) in Polk County, IA than any other race or ethnicity. There were 40.6k Hispanic or Latino and 29.9k Black or African American Alone residents, the second and third most common racial or ethnic groups.

The following bar chart shows the 8 races and ethnicities represented in Polk County, IA as a share of the total population.

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Non-English Speakers

Most Common Languages

  1. N/A

    N/A speakers (N/A%)

  2. N/A

    N/A speakers (N/A%)

  3. N/A

    N/A speakers (N/A%)

N/A% of Polk County, IA citizens are speakers of a non-English language, which is approximately the same as the national average of 21.8%. In N/A, the most common non-English language spoken in Polk County, IA was N/A. N/A% of the overall population of Polk County, IA are native N/A speakers. N/A% speak N/A and N/A% speak N/A, the next two most common languages.

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Military

Veterans

Most Common Service Period

  1. Vietnam

    6,690 ± 1,361

  2. Gulf War (2001-)

    3,903 ± 1,098

  3. Gulf War (1990s)

    2,339 ± 822

Polk County, IA has a large population of military personnel who served in Vietnam, 1.71 times greater than any other conflict.

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Education

In 2016, universities in Polk County, IA awarded 6,845 degrees. The student population of Polk County, IA is skewed towards women, with 14,486 male students and 18,728 female students.

Most students graduating from Universities in Polk County, IA are White (5,482 and 81.6%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (286 and 4.26%), Black or African American (278 and 4.14%), and Unknown (273 and 4.06%).

The largest universities in Polk County, IA by number of degrees awarded are Des Moines Area Community College (3,358 and 49.1%), Drake University (1,505 and 22%), and Grand View University (645 and 9.42%).

The most popular majors in Polk County, IA are Liberal Arts & Sciences (1,446 and 21.1%), Registered Nursing (483 and 7.06%), and Welding Technology (362 and 5.29%).

The median tuition costs in Polk County, IA are $20,857 for private four year colleges, and $N/A and $N/A respectively, for public four year colleges for in-state students and out-of-state students.

Concentrations

Most Common

  1. 52 degrees awarded

  2. 1,410 degrees awarded

  3. 307 degrees awarded

In 2015, the most common concentation for Associates Degree recipients in Polk County, IA was Automobile Mechanics Technology with 52 degrees awarded.

This visualization illustrates the percentage of students graduating with a Associates Degree from schools in Polk County, IA according to their major.

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Universities

Largest Universities by degrees awarded

  1. 3,358 degrees awarded

  2. 1,505 degrees awarded

  3. 645 degrees awarded

$N/A

Median In-State Public

$20,857

Median Private

In 2016, the Polk County, IA institution with the largest number of graduating students was Des Moines Area Community College with 3,358 degrees awarded.

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Student Gender for Common Institutions

2,895

Degrees Awarded to Men

3,950

Degrees Awarded to Women

In 2016, 2,895 men were awarded degrees from institutions in Polk County, IA, which is 0.733 times less than the 3,950 female students who received degrees in the same year.

This chart displays the gender disparity between the top 5 institutions in Polk County, IA by degrees awarded.

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Student Race and Ethnicity

Most Common Student Race or Ethnicity

  1. White

    5,482 degrees awarded

  2. Hispanic or Latino

    286 degrees awarded

  3. Black or African American

    278 degrees awarded

In 2016 the majority of degrees awarded at institutions in Polk County, IA were to White students. These 5,482 degrees mean that there were 19.2 times more White students then the next closest race/ethnicity group, Hispanic or Latino, with 286 degrees awarded.

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Housing & Living

The median property value in Polk County, IA was $180,700 in 2017, which is 0.83 times smaller than the national average of $217,600. Between 2016 and 2017 the median property value increased from $171,800 to $180,700, a 5.18% increase. The homeownership rate in Polk County, IA is 68%, which is higher than the national average of 63.9%. People in Polk County, IA have an average commute time of 18.8 minutes, and they commute by Drove Alone. Car ownership in Polk County, IA is approximately the same as the national average, with an average of 2 cars per household.

Income

Household Income

Please note that the buckets used in this visualization were not evenly distributed by ACS when publishing the data.

$65,995

Median Household Income

± $2,029

187k

Number of Households

± 6,940

In 2017, the median household income of the 187k households in Polk County, IA grew to $65,995 from the previous year's value of $64,067.

The following chart displays the households in Polk County, IA distributed between a series of income buckets compared to the national averages for each bucket. The largest share of households have an income in the $75k - $100k range.

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Housing

Property Value

$180,700

2017 Median

± $5,336

$171,800

2016 Median

± $3,046

In 2017, the median property value in Polk County, IA grew to to $180,700 from the previous year's value of $171,800.

The following charts display, first, the property values in Polk County, IA compared to it's parent and neighbor geographies and, second, owner-occupied housing units distributed between a series of property value buckets compared to the national averages for each bucket. In Polk County, IA the largest share of households have a property value in the $200k - $250k range.

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Property Taxes

$3k+

Average Range

This chart shows the households in Polk County, IA distributed between a series of property tax buckets compared to the national averages for each bucket. In Polk County, IA the largest share of households pay taxes in the $3k+ range.

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Rent vs Own

68%

2017 Homeownership

67%

2016 Homeownership

In 2017, 68% of the housing units in Polk County, IA were occupied by their owner. This percentage grew from the previous year's rate of 67%.

This percentage of owner-occupation is higher than the national average of 63.9%. This chart shows the ownership percentage in Polk County, IA compared it's parent and neighboring geographies.

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Transportation

Car Ownership

2 cars

Average Number

The following chart displays the households in Polk County, IA distributed between a series of car ownership buckets compared to the national averages for each bucket. The largest share of households in Polk County, IA have 2 cars, followed by 3 cars.

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Commute Time

18.8 minutes

Average Travel Time

Using averages, employees in Polk County, IA have a shorter commute time (18.8 minutes) than the normal US worker (25.5 minutes). Additionally, 1.11% of the workforce in Polk County, IA have "super commutes" in excess of 90 minutes.

The chart below shows how the median household income in Polk County, IA compares to that of it's neighboring and parent geographies.

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Commuter Transportation

Most Common Method of Travel

  1. Drove Alone

    83.2%

  2. Carpooled

    7.3%

  3. Worked At Home

    4.73%

In 2017, the most common method of travel for workers in Polk County, IA was Drove Alone (83.2%), followed by those who Carpooled (7.3%) and those who Worked At Home (4.73%).

The following chart shows the number of households using each mode of transportation over time, using a logarithmic scale on the y-axis to help better show variations in the smaller means of commuting.

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