Lamoni, Iowa, has been named the poorest town in the state, according to a 2023 study by 24/7 Wall St. The median household income in Lamoni is $31,469, compared to the state average of $56,053. Over 26% of households in Lamoni receive SNAP benefits, and the median home value is $87,400.
Lamoni is located in Decatur County, Iowa, and has a population of over 2,800 people. The town is known for its Graceland University campus, but it has also been hit hard by the decline of the agricultural industry.
Why is Lamoni’s poverty rate so shocking?
Lamoni is a relatively small town, but it has a disproportionately high poverty rate. This is surprising for a number of reasons. First, Lamoni is home to Graceland University, which is a private liberal arts college. Second, Lamoni is located in a rural area, but it is also located within commuting distance of Des Moines, the state capital. Third, Lamoni has a relatively high educational attainment rate.
Factors contributing to Lamoni’s poverty
There are a number of factors that have contributed to Lamoni’s poverty, including:
- Decline of the agricultural industry: The agricultural industry is the backbone of the Iowa economy, but it has been struggling in recent years. This has led to job losses and economic hardship in Lamoni, which is heavily reliant on agriculture.
- Loss of jobs at Graceland University: Graceland University is the largest employer in Lamoni, but it has cut jobs in recent years. This has also contributed to the town’s economic problems.
- Lack of economic diversity: Lamoni is heavily reliant on Graceland University and the agricultural industry. This lack of economic diversity makes the town vulnerable to economic shocks.
- Rural location: Lamoni is located in a rural area, which can make it difficult to attract new businesses and residents. Rural areas often have less access to resources and opportunities than urban areas.
Impact of poverty on Lamoni residents
Poverty has a significant impact on the residents of Lamoni. It can make it difficult for people to afford basic necessities, such as food, housing, and healthcare. It can also lead to other problems, such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
Poverty can also have a negative impact on the community as a whole. It can make it difficult to attract new businesses and residents, and can lead to a decline in the quality of life.
What can be done?
There are a number of things that can be done to address the poverty in Lamoni. The government can provide financial assistance to businesses and residents, invest in education and training programs, and address social problems. Businesses can create new jobs and invest in the community. Community organizations can provide services to residents and advocate for change.
Here are some specific things that can be done to help Lamoni:
- Invest in education and training: The government and businesses can invest in education and training programs to help people develop the skills they need to get good-paying jobs. This could include programs for high school students, adults who are looking to retrain, and dislocated workers.
- Attract new businesses: The government and community organizations can work to attract new businesses to Lamoni. This could involve offering tax breaks, other financial incentives, and marketing the town’s assets.
- Support small businesses: Small businesses play an important role in the Lamoni economy. The government and businesses can support small businesses by providing loans and other resources.
- Improve transportation: Lamoni needs improved transportation options to help people get to work and other resources. This could involve investing in public transportation or making it easier for people to walk and bike.
- Invest in affordable housing: Lamoni needs more affordable housing for its residents. This could involve building new affordable housing units or providing subsidies to help people afford existing housing.
- Support community organizations: Community organizations play a vital role in providing services to residents and advocating for change. The government and businesses can support community organizations by providing funding and other resources.
By working together, the government, businesses, and community organizations can help Lamoni to overcome its challenges and build a better future for its residents.
Lamoni is a town with a rich history and a bright future. However, the town is facing a number of challenges, including poverty. By working together, the government, businesses, and community organizations can help Lamoni