Sioux City is a city in Woodbury and Plymouth counties in the western part of the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 82,684 in the 2010 census, a decline from 85,013 in the 2000 census, which makes it currently the fourth largest city in the state. The bulk of the city is in Woodbury County, of which it is the county seat, though a small portion is in Plymouth County.
Sioux City is the primary city of the four-county Sioux City, IA–NE–SD Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), with a population of 147,005 in 2000 and a slight increase to an estimated 144,360 in 2009. The Sioux City-Vermillion, IA-NE-SD Combined Statistical Area had a population of 156,503 as of 2000 and has grown to an estimated population of 157,850 as of 2009.
Sioux City is at the navigational head of the Missouri River, about 95 miles north of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. Sioux City and the surrounding areas of northwestern Iowa, northeastern Nebraska and southeastern South Dakota are sometimes referred to as Siouxland, especially by the local media.
Money recognized Sioux City in its August 2010 issue of "Best Places To Live". In 2008 and 2009, the Sioux City Tri-State Metropolitan Area was recognized by Site Selection as the top economic development community in the United States for communities with populations between 50,000 and 200,000 people. Forbes placed the Sioux City metro in the Top 15 Best Small Places for Businesses and Careers and MSN.com ranked the area the #2 Most Livable Bargain Market. The Daily Beast, an American news reporting website, placed Sioux City on their list of The Top 40 Drunkest Cities in America, with a ranking of 14th.
Some of the first people to live in this area were Native Americans. These inhabitants lived here thousands of years before any explorers from Spain or France arrived. Early French or Spanish fur traders were likely the first Europeans in the area. The first documented explorers to record their travels through this area were the Americans Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during the summer of 1804. Sergeant Charles Floyd, a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, died here on August 20, 1804, the only fatality during the two and a half-year expedition.
In 1891, the Sioux City Elevated Railway was opened and became the third steam powered elevated rapid transit system in the world, and later the first electric-powered elevated railway in the world after a conversion in 1892. However, the system fell into bankruptcy and closed within a decade.
The city gained the nickname "Little Chicago" during the Prohibition era due to its reputation for being a purveyor of alcoholic beverages.