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Mason City

Mason City, Iowa

  •   State: 
    Cerro Gordo County
    Mason City
      County FIPS: 
    43°8′55″N 93°12′7″W
      Area total: 
    28.16 sq mi (72.92 km²)
      Area land: 
    27.86 sq mi (72.15 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.30 sq mi (0.78 km²)
    1,129 ft (344 m)
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Mason City, IA
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    981.40 residents per square mile of area (378.93/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

Mason City is a city and the county seat of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, United States. The population was 27,338 in the 2020 census, a decline from 29,172 in the 2000 census. It is commonly referred to as the "River City", as the city grew up centered on the Winnebago River. The city's "favorite son," Meredith Willson, grew up in Mason City and played in the Mason City Symphonic Band as a high school student. Mason City has a warm-summer humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb), bordering closely on the hot-sum summer variant of the climate. The Mason City Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Cero Gordo and Worth counties. The first settlement that became Shibboleth was established in 1853 at the confluence of the Winnnebaga River and Calmus Creek. The town had several names: ShibboleTH, Masonic Grove, and Masonville until Mason City was adopted in 1855, in honor of a founder's son, Mason Long. In 1870, Mason City, Iowa was officially incorporated as a town with Darius B. Mason as the first mayor. In 2010, there were 28,079 people, 12,366 households, and 7,210 families living in the city. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.10 square miles (72.78 km²), of which 27.81 square miles [72.03 km²) is land and 0.29 sq miles [0.75 km²] is water.


Mason City was established in 1853 at the confluence of the Winnebago River and Calmus Creek. The town had several names: Shibboleth, Masonic Grove, and Masonville until Mason City was adopted in 1855. In 1870, Mason City, Iowa was officially incorporated as a town with Darius B. Mason as the first mayor. The city's "favorite son," Meredith Willson, grew up in Mason City and played in the Mason City Symphonic Band as a high school student. Willson's crowning achievement was the famous stage musical The Music Man. And it also features the Parker's Opera House, which was built in the early 1900s as a summer home to the Sioux and WinneBago nations. It is now the home of the University of Iowa's College of Music, which offers classes in music and the history of the city's musical heritage.


Mason City has a warm-summer humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb) The city has a total area of 28.10 square miles (72.78 km²), of which 27.81 square miles is land and 0.29 sq miles (0.75 km²) is water. The city is located on the Missouri River, which runs through the center of the city. It is the only city in the U.S. state of Missouri with a population of more than 100,000. The town is home to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which was founded in 1876. It was the first college in the state, and is now the second largest university in the United States, after Kansas City, Kansas. The University of Kansas has a campus of the same name, which is located in the city's central business district. The university has a history of nearly 100 years, dating back to the 18th century. It has been the site of several colleges and universities, including the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Kansas City School of Law. It also has a chapter of the American Museum of Natural History, which dates back to 1881. The state's motto is: "The City of Mason City, Missouri, is the City of the Heart of the Sun". The city's motto, "The Heart of The City, The Heart Of The Sun," is a reference to the state's rich history and culture, and was first used in the 17th century by the founder of the town.


As of the census of 2010, there were 28,079 people, 12,366 households, and 7,210 families living in the city. There were 13,352 housing units at an average density of 480.1 per square mile (185.4/km²) The racial makeup of the city was 93.8% White, 1.8%. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.1%. The median income for a household in theCity was $33,852, and the median income. for a family was $45,160. About 7.2% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was2.83. The median age in the City was 40.9 years, with 23.6% under the age of 18, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 21.7%. and 17.9%. The city has a population of 29,172 and a population density of 1,009.7 inhabitants per squaremile (389.8/km 2) The city's median income was $32,451 and the per capita income for the city is $18,899. The city is located on the U.S.-Mexico border and is located near the border of the state of New Mexico. It is the only city in the state to have a city manager, a mayor, and a police chief.


The largest employer is MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center, formerly known as Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa. Kraft Foods produces the nation's entire supply of refrigerated ready-to-eat Jell-O pudding snacks. In March 2016, North Carolina based company Prestage Farms proposed to build a $240 million pork processing plant or slaughterhouse in Mason City, employing about 1,800 people. In May, the Mason City Council cast a tie vote rejecting the proposed project. In November 2007, Reyes Holding / Martin-Brower opened a distribution facility serving McDonald's in 5 states. In June 2019, the hospital opened a new $10.6 million behavioral center. The new center will help MercyOne to increase the number of behavioral health-care services it can offer to those in the community it serves who are struggling with mental illness and substance abuse issues. Mason City is also a major production center for Portland Cement. The city is home to the University of Iowa, which offers classes in business, finance, technology and health care. The university's business school offers courses in finance, accounting, business, marketing, marketing and public relations. The Mason City Chamber of Commerce offers a business and community development program to help young people develop their skills and knowledge of the local economy. It also offers an opportunity to network with other businesses in the area to learn from each other's successes and failures. It is the only city in the state to have its own city hall, which is open to the public.

Arts and culture

The Rock Crest-Rock Glen Historic District is the largest concentration of any city in Iowa. At least 32 houses and one commercial building were built in the Prairie Style between 1908 and 1922. The first two Prairie structures, the Dr. G.C. Stockman House (1908) and the Park Inn Hotel and City National Bank Buildings (1909-1910) were both designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Mason City is home to extensive Victorian, Craftsman, and Bungalow style homes, as well as historic commercial structures, dates from between 1892 and 1940. The city holds an annual celebration of its musical heritage called The North Iowa Band Festival. School bands from across the Midwest compete during the parade to be named the best band. The home bands, Mason City High School and Newman Catholic High School Marching Bands, do not compete but do perform in the parade. The Charles H. MacNider Art Museum includes a permanent collection of American art, the famous Bil Baird puppets, and a wide range of ceramics. Music Man Square is located near downtown and features multiple exhibits related to Meredith Willson and The Music Man, including Willson's boyhood home and a replica streetscape from the musical. The Mason City Public Library was designed by Chicago architects Holabird and Root in 1939. The Len Jus Building on North Federal Avenue has an extremely rare sheet-metal facade, it had been placed on the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance's Most Endangered list because of poor repair and indifferent ownership.


The North Iowa Bulls are a junior ice hockey team that first began play in the 2011 as member of the North American 3 Hockey League. The Bulls won the league championship in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2021, while also winning the Tier III National Championship in 2013 and 2015. The North Iowa Outlaws junior hockey team previously played in the NAHL from 2005 until 2010, when they relocated to Onalaska, Wisconsin, to become the Coulee Region Chill. River City Rugby Football Club was established in Mason City in 1972. Over 250 players have played for the Club since it first began. The Club competes against teams from Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska in the Midwest Division 3. Mason City was home to minor league baseball. The Mason City Cementmakers (1912) and Mason City Claydiggers (1915-1917) played as members of the Iowa State League (1812-1915) and Central Association (1815-17) Mason City Bats of the short-lived Great Central League played baseball here in 1994. College Football Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez led Mason City High School to the 1978 Class 4A state football championship with a 1513 victory over Dubuque Hempstead. The club celebrated its 40th anniversary in June 2012. It competes in two separate two-month seasons, April and May, and September and October. It has been in existence since 1972, and has over 250 players. It is located in the Iowa City suburb of Mason City.


Mason City is home to several institutions of higher education, including the North Iowa Area Community College (formerly Mason City Junior College) and Purdue University Global. Hamilton College, a business school, has operated in the city since 1900. Mason City is also the home of the Worldwide College of Auctioning founded in 1933 by the well-known auctioneer Col. Joe Reisch and subsequently owned/operated for many years by Col. Gordon E. Taylor. The Mason City Community School District operates the following schools: Harding, Washington, Grant and Garfield elementary schools, Monroe and Roosevelt junior high schools, Newman Catholic High School, and North Iowa Christian School. The city also has an alternative high school, Mason City Alternative High School and an early childhood center. It is the home to the University of Iowa, a branch of Buena Vista University which is located on the NIACC campus, and the Iowa State University, formerly known as Iowa State College of Business and Economics, which is also located in Mason City. It also has a high school called Mason City High School which was founded in the early 1960s. It has been named after a former mayor of Mason City, Iowa, who died in the 1970s. The school district has also been known as the Mason City School District, which was formed in the late 1960s and early 1970s to serve the needs of the city's growing population. The district also has several other schools, including Lincoln Intermediate School, John Adams Junior High and Madison Early Childhood Center, and Newman Catholic Elementary/Middle School.


The majority of Mason City is served by Iowa Highway 122 and U.S. Route 65. The city is home to the Iowa Traction Railway, one of the last surviving electric interurban railroads. It is the airport from which early rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) took off on the night of February 3, 1959. The plane crashed a few miles west of the airport in an historic event later referred to as the Day the Music Died. The Iowa Northern Railway does not operate in Mason City, but it does serve other communities in the Mason City micropolitan statistical area. The City also hosts Mason City Municipal Airport, (MCW) with commercial service by United Airlines. The majority of the city is also served by the Canadian Pacific Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. The Canadian Pacific track is part of its US subsidiary the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad (former I&M Rail Link and Milwaukee Road trackage) The Union Pacific's track was inherited from the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company when it bought it in the 1990s. Much of the trackage is composed of the old Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad's (aka Rock Island Railroad)) While the Iowa Northern has facilities in Manly, Iowa, it does operate in the city of Mason city, but not in the micropolitan area of the same name. It does not have facilities in the Micropolitan Statistical Area of Iowa.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa = 85. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 47. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 73. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Mason City = 3.8 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 27,338 individuals with a median age of 40.6 age the population dropped by -7.06% in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 981.40 residents per square mile of area (378.93/km²). There are average 2.24 people per household in the 11,695 households with an average household income of $41,381 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 7.10% of the available work force and has dropped -2.75% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 27.40%. The number of physicians in Mason City per 100,000 population = 321.3.


The annual rainfall in Mason City = 32 inches and the annual snowfall = 39.1 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 89. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 188. 84 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 45, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa which are owned by the occupant = 62.45%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 55 years with median home cost = $84,250 and home appreciation of 0.69%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $11.47 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $5,308 per student. There are 14.3 students for each teacher in the school, 451 students for each Librarian and 502 students for each Counselor. 10.98% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 13.55% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 6.54% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Mason City's population in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa of 6,747 residents in 1900 has increased 4,05-fold to 27,338 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 52.32% female residents and 47.68% male residents live in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.

    As of 2020 in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa are married and the remaining 44.52% are single population.

  • 15.3 minutes is the average time that residents in Mason City require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    84.62% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 7.89% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 1.24% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 2.56% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, 62.45% are owner-occupied homes, another 30.11% are rented apartments, and the remaining 7.44% are vacant.

  • The 64.29% of the population in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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