Humboldt County, Iowa facts for kids

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Humboldt County, Iowa

Location in the state of Iowa
Map of the USA highlighting Iowa
Iowa's location in the U.S.
Founded January 28, 1857
Seat Dakota City
Largest City Humboldt
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

436 sq mi (1,129 km²)
434 sq mi (1,124 km²)
1.3 sq mi (3 km²), 0.3%
 - (2010)
 - Density

23/sq mi (9/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Named for: Alexander von Humboldt

Humboldt County is a county in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,815. The county seat is Dakota City. The county was created in 1857 and named in honor of Alexander von Humboldt.


Humboldt County IA Twps
Humboldt County is divided into 12 townships.

Humboldt County was established in 1851 as the smallest county in Iowa. It was named after Alexander von Humboldt. On July 1, 1855, the county lines were newly established, adding some land from Kossuth County and Webster County. On February 26, 1857, the old borders were reestablished, and Webster County would not return the land, leaving Humboldt County with only twelve townships. In 1872, Humboldt College was opened and closed in 1916 because there was no agreement with the county about taxation.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 436 square miles (1,130 km2), of which 434 square miles (1,120 km2) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) (0.3%) is water.

Unlike all counties to its east and west, Humboldt County has only 12 townships. Although founded with the standard 16 townships in January 15, 1851, the county was removed from existence in 1855. By the time the county was reestablished on February 26, 1857, John Duncombe of Fort Dodge (namesake of Duncombe, Iowa) had tricked Humboldt County into cedeing the southern four townships (Jackson, Deer Creek, Badger, Newark) to Webster County "on loan".

Major highways

  • US 169 (IA).svg U.S. Highway 169
  • Iowa 3.svg Iowa Highway 3
  • Iowa 15.svg Iowa Highway 15
  • Iowa 17.svg Iowa Highway 17
  • Humboldt County routes

Adjacent counties


Rutland dam
The Rutland dam in Rose Mill Park.

While Humboldt County does not have any state parks, it has county parks. South of Humboldt is Frank A. Gotch County Park. It is named for Frank Gotch, a world-champion, undefeated wrestler from Humboldt. The park is near his childhood farm and is also home to the confluence of the East and West Forks of the Des Moines River. The park features campgrounds and a well-known converted railroad bridge used by the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway. The bridge is part of the Three Rivers Trail, a converted rail route that runs from Eagle Grove west to Rolfe.

Near Bradgate is the Willow Access Area. The terrain is very wooded. In south Rutland is Rose Mill Park. The area can be used for camping and also has access to the Rutland Dam and West Fork of the Des Moines River. The dam is being restored, and most of the park is new. The river is known for its forested limestone bluffs and grassy banks.

Sheldon Park Humboldt Iowa
The lower portion of Joe Sheldon Park.

Further downriver near Humboldt is Oxbow Park, which contains boating access ramps and lots of scenic open space. The park's southern border is Iowa Highway 3, and south of that is Joe Sheldon County Park. The park is split into two sections, one mostly for camping and one focused on recreation. There is access to the West Fork of the Des Moines River from the lower part of the park.

Continuing along the river, the Lake Nokomis area begins, popular for its woods and small ponds. The Cottonwood Trail also runs through the area.

West of Livermore, Lott's Park allows access to Lott's Creek. The park has lots of benches and picnic tables. South of Ottosen is the Ottosen Marsh State Game Management Area, colloquially the Ottosen Potholes. East of Dakota City is the Dakota City River Park, near an old dam and the Humboldt County Historical Museum. Near the unincorporated community of Pioneer is the Pioneer Prairie Pothole Wildlife Area.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 332
1870 2,596 681.9%
1880 5,341 105.7%
1890 9,836 84.2%
1900 12,667 28.8%
1910 12,182 −3.8%
1920 12,951 6.3%
1930 13,202 1.9%
1940 13,459 1.9%
1950 13,117 −2.5%
1960 13,156 0.3%
1970 12,519 −4.8%
1980 12,246 −2.2%
1990 10,756 −12.2%
2000 10,381 −3.5%
2010 9,815 −5.5%
Est. 2015 9,555 −2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2010 census

The 2010 census recorded a population of 9,815 in the county, with a population density of 22.5939/sq mi (8.7236/km2). There were 4,684 housing units, of which 4,209 were occupied.

2000 census

USA Humboldt County, Iowa age pyramid
2000 Census Age Pyramid for Humboldt County

As of the census of 2000, there were 10,381 people, 4,295 households, and 2,881 families residing in the county. The population density was 24 people per square mile (9/km²). There were 4,645 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.63% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 0.47% from two or more races. 0.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,295 households out of which 29.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.40% were married couples living together, 6.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.90% were non-families. 29.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.90% under the age of 18, 7.00% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 22.50% from 45 to 64, and 21.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 95.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,201, and the median income for a family was $46,510. Males had a median income of $31,004 versus $22,312 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,300. About 5.30% of families and 8.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.80% of those under age 18 and 5.10% of those age 65 or over.


Berkhimer Bridge
Berkhimer Bridge, located northwest of Humboldt, was built in 1899.


Ghost town


  • Avery
  • Beaver
  • Corinth
  • Delana
  • Grove
  • Humboldt
  • Lake
  • Norway
  • Rutland
  • Vernon
  • Wacousta
  • Weaver

Population ranking

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

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Humboldt City 4,690
2 Dakota City City 843
3 Gilmore City (partially in Pocahontas County) City 504
4 Livermore City 384
5 Bode City 302
6 Lu Verne (partially in Kossuth County) City 261
7 Renwick City 242
8 Thor City 186
9 Rutland City 126
10 Bradgate City 86
11 Ottosen City 55
12 Hardy City 47
13 Pioneer City 23

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