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This Tiny Town Is Embracing Its Diversity

Unlike other towns in the area, Storm Lake, Iowa, is thriving—and many residents thank immigration for its success.

The small town of Storm Lake, Iowa, has changed in the last thirty years—and its inhabitants love it.

The area has gone through a major demographic shift over the last three decades, according to Storm Lake’s Public Safety Director and Police Chief Mark Prosser, and a variety of ethnic groups now call Storm Lake home. He says immigrants are embraced as having helped the town.

“We’re really proud of Storm Lake,” Prosser says. “If you look at Iowa and you look at the Midwest, many communities this size and smaller have vacant homes, vacant businesses. They’re consolidating school districts. That’s not the case in this community.”

The growth and shifting demographics brought a vibrancy to the local community that has been embraced by people of different races and backgrounds, Prosser explains.

“This whole process of a changing community is one of a marathon and not a sprint,” he says. “The work that we do is nonstop … When communities understand that so many of the myths and the fears that are out there aren’t true, that they will reap the benefits.”