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Cerro Gordo County, Iowa facts for kids

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Cerro Gordo County
Cerro Gordo County Courthouse
Cerro Gordo County Courthouse
Map of Iowa highlighting Cerro Gordo County
Location within the U.S. state of Iowa
Map of the United States highlighting Iowa
Iowa's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Iowa
Founded 1851
Named for Battle of Cerro Gordo
Seat Mason City
Largest city Mason City
Area
 • Total 575 sq mi (1,490 km2)
 • Land 568 sq mi (1,470 km2)
 • Water 6.8 sq mi (18 km2)  1.2%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 43,127
 • Density 75.00/sq mi (28.959/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 4th

Cerro Gordo County is a county located in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2020 census, the population was 43,127. Its county seat is Mason City. The county is named for the Battle of Cerro Gordo, which took place during the Mexican–American War.

Cerro Gordo County is part of the Mason City, IA Micropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Cerro Gordo County was formed in 1851 and takes its name from the Battle of Cerro Gordo in the Mexican–American War, where General Winfield Scott defeated the Mexican General Santa Anna on April 18, 1847.

In 1851 the first white settlers came into the area of the present county and settled on Clear Lake. Four years later, on August 7, 1855, the first elections were held and the first legal proceedings occurred in 1857. In the summer of the same year, Livonia was chosen as the new county seat. In 1858, the seat was returned to Mason City. In 1866, the first courthouse was erected from stone at the cost of $600, which was used until 1900. The courthouse still used today was opened on November 17, 1960.

Cerro Gordo County was the site of the airplane crash north of the city of Clear Lake, in which rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, along with their pilot Roger A. Peterson, were killed on February 3, 1959. The site is located in Grant Township, in the northwestern part of the county.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 575 square miles (1,490 km2), of which 568 square miles (1,470 km2) is land and 6.8 square miles (18 km2) (1.2%) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 940
1870 4,722 402.3%
1880 11,461 142.7%
1890 14,864 29.7%
1900 20,672 39.1%
1910 25,011 21.0%
1920 34,675 38.6%
1930 38,476 11.0%
1940 43,845 14.0%
1950 46,053 5.0%
1960 49,894 8.3%
1970 49,223 −1.3%
1980 48,458 −1.6%
1990 46,733 −3.6%
2000 46,447 −0.6%
2010 44,151 −4.9%
2020 43,127 −2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2018
CerroGordoCountyIowaPop2020
Population of Cerro Gordo County from US census data

2020 census

The 2020 census recorded a population of 43,127 in the county, with a population density of 74.9654/sq mi (28.9443/km2). 95.04% of the population reported being of one race. 84.34% were non-Hispanic White, 2.16% were Black, 5.20% were Hispanic, 0.33% were Native American, 1.24% were Asian, 0.32% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander and 6.41% were some other race or more than one race. There were 22,603 housing units of which 19,224 were occupied.

2010 census

The 2010 census recorded a population of 44,151 in the county, with a population density of 77.73/sq mi (30.01/km2). There were 22,163 housing units, of which 19,350 were occupied.

Communities

Cities

Townships

Cerro Gordo County is divided into sixteen townships:

  • Bath
  • Clear Lake
  • Dougherty
  • Falls
  • Geneseo
  • Grant
  • Grimes
  • Lake
  • Lime Creek
  • Lincoln
  • Mason
  • Mount Vernon
  • Owen
  • Pleasant Valley
  • Portland
  • Union

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Cerro Gordo County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Mason City City 28,079
2 Clear Lake City 7,777
3 Nora Springs (mostly in Floyd County) City 1,431
4 Rockwell City 1,039
5 Ventura City 717
6 Thornton City 422
7 Plymouth City 382
8 Meservey City 256
9 Swaledale City 165
10 Rock Falls City 155
11 Dougherty City 58
12 Burchinal CDP 40
13 Portland CDP 35

Economy

In September 2016 Cerro Gordo County supervisors voted to appeal the Iowa Department of Natural Resources's decision to approve construction of a hog confinement facility near Ventura, Iowa.

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