The Warren County Economic Development Corporation (WCEDC) employs three full-time staff professionals, but always tries to have a Simpson College intern join the organization as special projects arise. Student Leah Otieno recently joined WCEDC to perform economic research for the Dashboard that our organization created last spring to accompany the new website.
Leah found some good news about Warren County, and I wanted to include that news in this blog.
School Enrollment: Figures for the current academic year will soon be certified, but from 2004-2013 nearly all eight of Warren County’s K-12 public school districts grew or held their numbers. The Des Moines Independent School District lost students, as did Pleasantville, but the latter district has not historically enrolled many Warren County students. Norwalk’s student population grew the fastest at 15 percent, and Indianola remains the largest school district with 3,403 students.
Thirty-nine percent of Warren County’s student population is enrolled within the Indianola school district. The overall student population of Warren County is up by eight percent (630 students) since 2003.
Retail Trends: Much has been made (including by me) about the lost retail dollars that Warren County experiences to other counties. Signs are apparent, however, that the trends are moving positively for Warren County. Ten percent of retail purchases that happened outside of Warren County in 2010 SHIFTED TO Warren County in 2013. The gap between sales made in Warren County versus outside of Warren County by county residents is narrowing.
Positive growth in population, jobs, and more shopping options for Warren County residents no doubt account for much of this turnaround.
Vehicle Registrations: Perhaps not often thought of as an economic indicator, but from 2006-2013, the number of vehicle registrations in Warren County rose by 6.26%. This may be a good time to remind people to support Warren County’s automobile dealerships.
As someone who has worked in many communities that did not experience this type of growth, I enjoy looking at the numbers and finding that Warren County is faring relatively well. A great time to feel positive about our county – again.