Even though only six states had a rural level of living index higher than Iowa in 1940, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, many families in Iowa were living at a level much below that suggested by the index and were at a disadvantage in income and in education. A study of the economic problems of farmers in Iowa in 1939 showed that 81 percent of them had a net cash income below $1,200 and 64 percent had a total income of less than $1,200. Even in the prosperous years after World War II when incomes in Iowa had risen sharply from an average per capita of $470 in 1939 to $1,148 per capita in 1947, many families had incomes so low that they might be considered a low-income group.
Likewise, the education of many rural people was less than may be desirable. The average number of years of formal schooling completed by Iowa rural farm people who were over 25 years of age in 1940 was 8.7 years. Rural non-farm people at the same time had completed on the average 8.9 years of formal schooling. These figures are higher than those in many states but they indicate that many adults in Iowa have less than an eighth grade education.
Lyle, Mary S.
"Educational needs of less privileged homemakers in a rural county in Iowa,"
Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station): Vol. 31
, Article 1.
Available at: https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/researchbulletin/vol31/iss392/1