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Located in the Midwestern area of the United States, Iowa is bounded to the east by the Mississippi River and to the west by the Missouri River and Big Sioux River. Its capital city is Des Moines. Illinois borders the state on the northeastern side, Wisconsin on the east and southeast, Missouri on the south, Nebraska on the west, South Dakota on the northwest, and Minnesota on the north. Wisconsin is the state's northern border state.

The state of Iowa was a part of both French and Spanish Louisiana throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries. As a result, its state flag is based on the flag of France. Following the Louisiana Purchase, residents in the heart of the Corn Belt began laying the groundwork for an agricultural-based economy that is still in place today. After World War II, Iowa's agricultural economy expanded into sophisticated manufacturing, food processing, financial services, information technology, biotechnology and renewable energy generation in the second part of the twentieth century.

Iowa is the 26th most extensive state in terms of total area and the 31st most populated state in the United States, according to the 2020 census, with a population of 3,190,369 people. Des Moines is the state's capital, most populous city, and biggest metropolitan region that is entirely contained inside the borders of the state. Several counties in southwest Iowa are part of the greater Omaha, Nebraska, metropolitan region, which extends into three counties in northern Nebraska. Iowa has been named as one of the safest places in which to live in the United States.