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Prairie City, Iowa
Prairie City Iowa.jpg
"Proud Of Our Past, Confident Of Our Future."
Location of Prairie City, Iowa
Location of Prairie City, Iowa
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Jasper
 • Total 1.24 sq mi (3.22 km2)
 • Land 1.24 sq mi (3.22 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
928 ft (283 m)
 • Total 1,700
 • Density 1,368.76/sq mi (528.67/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 515
FIPS code 19-64470
GNIS feature ID 0460389

Prairie City is a city in Jasper County, Iowa, United States. The population was 1,700 at the time of the 2020 census. It is twenty-two miles east of Des Moines.


Prairie City was founded by James Elliot in 1856, for whom it was originally named; it was later changed because there was already another Elliot in the state. The first resident was William Means, who built a tavern 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Elliot's cabin. The railroad first came through Prairie City in 1866. The first school in Prairie City was built on 1868(The Plainsmen) ; the city's district remained independent until a merger with that of Monroe in 1990, brought about by the destruction by fire of Monroe's high school. The new school district is called Prairie City-Monroe ("PCM") Community School district, home of the PCM Mustangs.

Prairie City's Historical Society was established in 1995. The Prairie City Historical Museum is located at 109 S. Main Street and open by appointment. Many artifacts from Prairie City's history are housed in the museum including the Dowden Potato Digger, which was originally manufactured in Prairie City.

The city was the subject of Douglas Bauer's popular reminiscence of change in small town Iowa from the 1950s through the 1970s, Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home.


Prairie City is located at 41°35′53″N 93°14′12″W / 41.59806°N 93.23667°W / 41.59806; -93.23667 (41.598042, -93.236726).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.21 square miles (3.13 km2), all of it land.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1880 591 —    
1890 684 +15.7%
1900 808 +18.1%
1910 764 −5.4%
1920 780 +2.1%
1930 793 +1.7%
1940 831 +4.8%
1950 834 +0.4%
1960 943 +13.1%
1970 1,141 +21.0%
1980 1,278 +12.0%
1990 1,366 +6.9%
2000 1,365 −0.1%
2010 1,680 +23.1%
2020 1,700 +1.2%
Source: and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,680 people, 631 households, and 468 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,388.4 inhabitants per square mile (536.1/km2). There were 678 housing units at an average density of 560.3 per square mile (216.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.4% White, 0.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.

There were 631 households, of which 39.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.3% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 25.8% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.07.

The median age in the city was 33.7 years. 31.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.1% were from 25 to 44; 22.4% were from 45 to 64; and 12.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.6% male and 52.4% female.

Arts and culture

The city annually celebrates Prairie Days, an "old settler's" festival, in June.

Parks and recreation

The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, located adjacent to the city, includes 5,500 acres (22 km2) of land that has been restored to Iowa's original rolling hills and tall grass prairies, plus several miles of surfaced trails, an auto tour, and the Prairie Learning Center.

Prairie City has a number of parks which include sports facilities, playgrounds, and open areas.


Prairie City is accessible from the east and west via Highway 163. Highway 117 and County Route S6G allow access from the north and south respectively.



The PCM Community School District operates public schools serving the community. It was a part of the Prairie City School District until it merged with the Monroe district into PCM on July 1, 1991. Prairie City is home to Prairie City Elementary School and PCM Middle School, while residents go to PCM Community High School in Monroe.

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