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Atalissa, Iowa
Atalissa, Iowa.jpg
Location of Atalissa, Iowa
Location of Atalissa, Iowa
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Muscatine
 • Total 0.14 sq mi (0.36 km2)
 • Land 0.14 sq mi (0.36 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
659 ft (201 m)
 • Total 296
 • Density 2,129.50/sq mi (821.29/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 563
FIPS code 19-03385
GNIS feature ID 0454271

Atalissa is a city in Muscatine County, Iowa, United States. The population was 296 at the 2020 census. It is part of the Muscatine Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Atalissa was platted in 1859. It was named by its founder, William Lundy, for a mining town in California, which in turn was named for an Indian queen Atalissa.

From 1974 to 2009 Atalissa was the home of a few dozen intellectually challenged men who worked in a nearby turkey processing plant. They lived together in an old schoolhouse and were taken each workday to the plant, and after expenses were taken out, were paid no more than $65/month. They were removed and relocated by state agencies in 2009, after being found to be living in unacceptable conditions. A 2013 verdict awarded the men a total of $240 million in damages, since reduced to $50,000/man. The men's plight had a profound effect on social services in Iowa, and their experiences and subsequent court case was the subject of the documentary film The Men of Atalissa.


Atalissa is located at 41°34′18″N 91°10′0″W / 41.57167°N 91.16667°W / 41.57167; -91.16667 (41.571568, -91.166707).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2), all of it land.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1910 220 —    
1920 198 −10.0%
1930 187 −5.6%
1940 181 −3.2%
1950 204 +12.7%
1960 212 +3.9%
1970 244 +15.1%
1980 360 +47.5%
1990 357 −0.8%
2000 283 −20.7%
2010 311 +9.9%
2020 296 −4.8%
Source: and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census
The population of Atalissa, Iowa from US census data

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 311 people, 111 households, and 85 families living in the city. The population density was 2,221.4 inhabitants per square mile (857.7/km2). There were 122 housing units at an average density of 871.4 per square mile (336.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.2% White, 0.3% Asian, 2.3% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.4% of the population.

There were 111 households, of which 39.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 8.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 23.4% were non-families. 17.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.05.

The median age in the city was 34.4 years. 27.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.4% were from 25 to 44; 26% were from 45 to 64; and 10.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.3% male and 53.7% female.


The West Liberty Community School District operates local public schools.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Atalissa para niños

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