The sand shiner (Notropis stramineus) is a common cyprinid found throughout the Great Plains region of North America that plays an important ecological role in aquatic systems. This study was conducted to describe population dynamics of sand shiners including age structure, growth, mortality, and recruitment variability in 15 non-wadeable rivers in Iowa. Fish were collected during June-August (2007-2008) using a modified Missouri trawl, a seine, and boat-mounted electrofishing. Scales were removed for age and growth analysis. A total of 3,443 fish was sampled from 15 populations across Iowa, of which 676 were aged. Iowa's sand shiner populations consisted primarily of age-1 fish (53% of all fish sampled), followed by age-2 fish (30%), age-0 fish (15%), and age-3 fish (2%). Sand shiners grew an average of 38.5 mm (SE = 5.7) during their first year, 13.8 mm (4.5) during their second year, and 9.0 mm (6.9) during their third year. Total annual mortality varied from 35.0% to 92.3% among populations with a mean of 77.9% (0.2). Incremental mortality rates were 84.5% (0.2) between age 1 and age 2, and 92.0% (0.1) between age 2 and age 3. Recruitment was highly variable, as indicated by a mean recruitment variation index of-0.12 (0.54). Overall, the sand shiner was characterized by relatively low mean age, fast growth, high mortality, and high recruitment variability. Indices of sand shiner population dynamics were poorly correlated with habitat characteristics.