Iowa: Facts and Figures

Iowa has long been the heart of America’s food production, and continues to grow its role as a producer for the world, exporting $15.8 billion worth of goods in 2021. Iowa's exports also benefit many other parts of its economy as well, with international trade supporting more than 379,000 jobs in the state.

Job Creation

  • In Iowa, 379,400 jobs were supported by international trade in 2019, representing 18.1% of all jobs in the state.1,2
  • In 2020, 3,140 companies exported goods from Iowa of which 82% were small- and medium-sized enterprises. In 2018, 61,400 people were employed by affiliates of companies at least 50% foreign-owned.3,4

Exports and Growth

  • Iowa exported $15.8 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2021, a 25% increase compared to 2020 driven by continued economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.5
    • Canada ($4.1 billion)
    • Mexico ($3.0 billion)
    • Japan ($1.3 billion)
    • China ($944 million)
    • Germany ($682 million)
  • Agricultural exports are important to Iowa's' economy, totaling $11.4 billion in 2020, according to the USDA.6
  • Since 2014, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $204 million in exports from 35 companies in Iowa.7
  • Since 1971, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation - which has been modernized into the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) - has invested $3 million in Iowa companies for overseas investment.8
  • Since 1992, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has helped facilitate $172 million in exports from Iowa companies.9

Education and Research

  • In 2018-2019, 5,744 Iowa students studied abroad.10
  • During 2020, 11,603 international students were enrolled in Iowa colleges and universities and contributed $352 million to the Iowa economy.10

Global Engagement

  • Since 1961, 2,496 Peace Corps volunteers from Iowa have served in dozens of countries overseas.11