Dysart had its start in the year 1872 by the building of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway through that territory. The town takes its name from Dysart, Fife, in Scotland.
Dysart is located at 42°10′8″N 92°18′29″W (42.168831, -92.308165).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.25 square miles (3.24 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,379 people, 544 households, and 380 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,103.2 inhabitants per square mile (425.9/km2). There were 598 housing units at an average density of 478.4 per square mile (184.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.6% White, 0.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.
There were 544 households of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.3% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 1.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 30.1% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.96.
The median age in the city was 42 years. 26% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.7% were from 25 to 44; 25.2% were from 45 to 64; and 21.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,303 people, 529 households, and 358 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,034.5 people per square mile (399.3/km²). There were 571 housing units at an average density of 453.4 per square mile (175.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.47% White, 0.31% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.54% of the population.
There were 529 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.2% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 29.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.95.
25.5% were under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 24.2% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,857, and the median income for a family was $45,774. Males had a median income of $34,063 versus $22,368 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,203. About 4.4% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.2% of those under age 18 and 3.7% of those age 65 or over.
Dysart strives to maintain educational excellence at its kindergarten through fifth grade elementary: Dysart-Geneseo Elementary School. Dysart-Geneseo consolidated with La Porte City in 1987 to become the Union Community School District. UCS has learning centers located in Dysart and La Porte City, Iowa. The district office as well as Union High School and one elementary school are located in La Porte City and the middle, Union Middle School, and another elementary school are located in Dysart.
Union High School is the home of the Knights and currently enrolls 402 students who are taught by 35 faculty. The school day is divided into six periods while the school year functions on three twelve-week trimesters.
There are a wide variety of extra-curricular activities at Union including Fine Arts Programs and Varsity Athletics. The Union Speech Team has distinguished itself by winning multiple Speech Banners at the All-State level. Union Wrestling has produced several top Iowa Wrestlers and has achieved considerable success at state Duals. Union Girls Cross Country has become a dominant force in state 2A cross country. The team won its first State Championship in 2001, following up this victory with back-to-back-to-back State Championships in 2007, 2008, and 2009. The current head football coach is former college football coach Joe Hadachek. Coach Hadachek lead the Union football team to the 2011 Class 3A State title, beating Decorah 20-17. The Union Football team has made it to 9 straight Iowa High School playoffs.
The Dysart Reporter is the weekly newspaper of Dysart, Iowa. It is published on Fridays and has a circulation of roughly 900. The newspaper has been the definitive source of Dysart area news for 134 years and counting. The paper primarily serves the community of Dysart, but also provides news and sports coverage of neighboring communities in Tama and Benton counties. The small towns of La Porte City and Clutier are included in this coverage area, along with the combined school district of Union.