Orazem on Iowa's economic divide

January 2, 2020

Dr. Peter OrazemPeter Orazem, university professor, was quoted in a Dec. 31 Des Moines Register article, "2020s vision: What’s ahead for Des Moines and Iowa — growth in the metro; challenges in housing, retail."

It reflects Iowa’s economic divide between urban and rural areas — a trend Iowa State University economist Peter Orazem says will likely continue. For more than a century, Iowa’s rural areas have lost jobs and people to the urban centers. 

Orazem predicts lawmakers will need to push more expensive solutions. One answer could be a more robust transportation system.  

“The rural areas are just going to disappear,” Orazem said. “If they can’t access the higher wages in the urban markets, they’ll be like western Nebraska. There will be a few people living on a whole lot of land.” 

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