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Statehouse Democrats have made a business case for recruiting and retaining a diverse population to fill Iowa’s labor shortage in a push against GOP legislation regulating diversity training at schools and government entities.
The bill would ban from mandatory training in the schools or governments the mention of certain topics, such as teaching that the United States or Iowa is fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist and that individuals are inherently oppressive based on their race or sex. It also states that such training should not make anyone "feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress" because of race or sex.
It awaits Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature to become law.
Trone Garriott, a first-term state senator in the minority party, said, “In Iowa, net overall migration in 2020 was negative. We lost 2,348 folks who left this state. We rank 45th among states in ethnic diversity.”
During floor debate, Trone Garriott cited a presentation with the Iowa Business Council and Clive Chamber of Commerce she had viewed earlier that day. She pointed the Fact Checker to those entities for sourcing.
Iowa Business Council Executive Director Joe Murphy said the figures Trone Garriott used came from the organization’s 2021 Iowa Competitive Dashboard report published in February, which uses U.S. Census data.
The data is from 2019, so the figures in the report do not reflect the most recent figures. After facing delays in gathering and releasing data because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau released Vintage 2020 estimates on May 4 — just days after the Senate debate over HF 802. Those numbers are compared with the 2020 Census to gauge the accuracy of the bureau’s estimates.
Let’s look at the first part of Trone Garriott’s statement about Iowa’s negative overall net migration.
While the council’s report does support her claim that Iowa saw negative overall net migration for the year, and the 2,348 figure quantifies that difference, the amount of people who left Iowa actually was higher.
Census data for net migration from a one-year period of July 1, 2018, to 2019 reflects the international migration of 2,663 individuals from native and foreign-born populations to the state — which was counteracted by the domestic migration of 5,011 individuals who left Iowa. So, the loss of a greater number of people to other states exceeded Iowa’s gain of international migrants — resulting in negative overall net migration of 2,348 people.
That measurement should not be confused with population change, which accounts for births and deaths as well as net migration shifts. Iowa saw its population increase by 6,452 that year.
Trone Garriott slightly misspoke when she said “we lost 2,348 folks who left this state.”
While the wording of this sentence implies Trone Garriott was referencing the number of people who left Iowa, her statement begins with the mention of net migration. She was using the 2,348 figure to quantify the negative shift in that measure, which is more accurate as it accounts for people coming into the state as well as those leaving. The number would have been even bigger — more than double, at 5,011 — if she referred only to people leaving Iowa. Because of the way she introduced this statistic, we give it an A.
Next, let’s check whether Iowa ranks 45th among states in ethnic diversity.
According to the American Community Survey, a demographics survey program under the Census Bureau, 85.1 percent of Iowans are white and not Hispanic or Latino. Only five states are less ethnically diverse with higher percentages of white, non-Hispanic or non-Latino residents — Maine (94 percent), Montana (88 percent), New Hampshire (92.6 percent), Vermont (93.8 percent) and West Virginia (93.1 percent).
That’s correct — Iowa ranks near the bottom of the 50 states in the nation for ethnic diversity. We give this claim an A.
Trone Garriott is on the mark with her claims about negative overall net migration in Iowa and about the state’s low rank in ethnic diversity compared with the rest of the nation. The Fact Checker gives her an A overall.
The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate/officeholder or a national candidate/officeholder about Iowa, or in ads that appear in our market.
Claims must be independently verifiable.
We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.
If you spot a claim you think needs checking, email us at email@example.com.
This Fact Checker was researched and written by Marissa Payne of The Gazette.