According to Dictionary, the definition of economy is "the complex of activities related to the consumption, production, and trade of goods and services, as an ongoing functioning system."

Regarding the consumption, production, and trading of goods and services, supposedly Iowa's economy is ranked one of the worst in the country, at least according to this study.

I was curious if population size could play a factor in this study. America has states that are bigger than some countries. Would a state like Texas, California, or New York have an advantage over others because they have more people to buy, sell, and trade goods/products? That doesn't appear to be true. None of the top 3 economic states are in the top 10 for the biggest populations.

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WalletHub used 28 key indicators to determine each state's economic performance and strength in 2024. The indicators vary from unemployment rate, high average income, startup activity, jobs in high-tech industries, etc. The results weren't great for Iowa

Where Does Iowa Rank?

Source: WalletHub

*The study includes the District of Columbia*

Iowa ranks 44th out of 51 in America. With a rank that low, you might wonder what is causing Iowa to fall so low.

  • Economic Activity Rank - Iowa received a score of 46 out of 51
  • Economic Health Rank - Iowa received a score of 40 out of 51
  • Innovation Potential Rank - Iowa received a score of 32 out of 51

Here's a very brief economic lesson of what these terms mean.

Economic activity is a process that is based on inputs, which can lead to the manufacture of a good and/or the buying and selling of a service.

Economic Health is related to how efficient and effective, the production and consumption of health and healthcare systems are.

Innovation Potential is how likely a person or business is to produce or create ideas that make things better/easier.

According to the study, Iowa suffers in these 3 categories, which play a massive role in Iowa's economic ranking.

Best State Economies and the Reasons Why

Washington was rated as the best state economy. Washington has an "extremely high" amount of industry R&D (research and development) investment per capita. This allows Washington to be an incredible area for new technology. Washington also has the second-highest share of jobs in high tech as well as the second-highest share of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) professionals.

Utah is ranked as the second-best economic state. The average annual household income is about $84,000. Utah's average income also grew almost 7% from 2022 to 2023. Utah also has an unemployment rate of 2.8%, which is one of the lowest in the country.

Massachusetts has the 3rd best state economy. This state has the second most invention patents per capita. It has the highest share of jobs in the tech industry, and it also has an unemployment rate of only 3%.

WalletHub analyst, Cassandra Happe, says that "a strong state economy doesn't guarantee success for the state's residents, but it certainly makes financial success more attainable. The best state economies also encourage growth by being friendly to new businesses and investing in new technology that will help the state deal with future challenges and become more efficient."

Smallest Populations In Iowa

Smallest Populated Towns In Iowa

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