Population, Race and Ethnicity
Altoona is a city in Polk County, Iowa, with a population of 17,936. According to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, 93.40% of residents identify as white, 0.90% as Black or African American, 0.10% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.60% as Asian, 0.60% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 3.20% as Hispanic or Latino, and 1.20% as some other race or combination of races.
Nationally, some 61.1% of Americans identify as white, 12.3% as Black or African American, 0.7% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 5.4% as Asian, 0.2% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 17.8% as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.6% as some other race or combination of races.
Census respondents are also asked to report ancestry. Some of the most commonly reported ancestries in Altoona include German, Irish, English, Dutch, and American. Measured by location quotient — comparing the city share to the national share — some of the most highly concentrated ancestries in city are Barbadian, Croatian, and Czechoslovakian.
Native and foreign-born population
An estimated 98.70% of Altoona residents are native-born, meaning they were born in the United States, Puerto Rico, a U.S. Island Area, or abroad to a U.S. citizen. Of the 1.30% of the population that is foreign-born, 43.40% have become naturalized U.S. citizens. Nationwide, 86.5% of Americans are native-born. And of the 13.5% of Americans who are foreign-born, 48.5% have become naturalized U.S. citizens.
The population of Altoona is younger than the United States as a whole. The median age is 34.7 years, 3.2 years less than the national median age of 37.9 years. An estimated 11.60% of the population is 65 years and over, compared to 15.2% of the U.S. population.
Family and household composition
Family and household composition also varies heavily across the United States. In Altoona, 56.40% of households are occupied by married-couple families, compared to the 48.3% national figure. Some 4.90% of households are occupied by single male householders, 13.50% by single female householders, and 25.20% by non-family occupants. Nationwide, 4.9% of households are occupied by single male householders, 12.6% by single female householders, and 34.3% by non-family occupants. An estimated 72.00% of heads of household own their homes, compared to the national homeownership rate of 63.8%.
English is by far the most commonly spoken language in Iowa and across the U.S. as a whole. Similarly, in Altoona, 99.3% of local residents aged 5 and up speak English exclusively, or, if they are multilingual, speak English very well. For context, 96.7% of the 5 and older population across Iowa only speaks English, or speak it very well, and 91.5% of the same age group nationwide do.
Residents of Altoona are more likely than the typical American to be married. Of all local residents aged 15 and older, 55.7% are currently married, compared to 48.1% of Americans nationwide in the same age group. Across Iowa as a whole, 52.4% of residents 15 and older are married.
Divorce is slightly more common in Altoona than it is across the U.S. as a whole. According to Census estimates, 11.5% of residents 15 and older are divorced — compared to 10.8% of the U.S. population in the same age group. In Iowa, 10.7% of the 15 and older population is divorced.
An estimated 27.9% of Altoona residents 15 and older have never married, compared to one-third of all Americans in the same age group.
In Altoona, 7.6% of the 18 and older civilian population are veterans — compared to 7.5% of adult civilians nationwide and 7.9% of the civilian population in all of Iowa.
In Altoona, adults are more likely to have a high school education than the typical American adult, but are less likely to have a four-year college education. Among Altoona residents 25 and older, 94.80% have a high school diploma or equivalent, and 30.10% have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 87.7% and 31.5% of adults nationwide, respectively. Across Iowa, 92% of adults have graduated high school, and 28.2 have a bachelor’s degree.
The typical household in Altoona earns $77,444 a year, about $17,200 more than the national median of $60,293 and $18,900 more than the median household income across the state of $58,580.
Serious financial hardship is less common in Altoona than it is nationwide. The local poverty rate stands at 7.20%, while the national poverty rate is 14.1%. Across the state as a whole, 11.7% of the population lives below the poverty line.
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