10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Iowa For 2018


We used science and data to determine which cities in Iowa have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

Join HomeSnacks

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.
Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

If you’re like the rest of us, you’re looking for the perfect place for your family. But you have a strict criteria; the city has to be safe, affordable, and stimulating. Basically, the place you move – or even visit – has to be outright perfect.

Is that attainable? Perhaps not, but we’ll get you as close as we can.

Promise.

According to the United States Census, the number of American families who move is trending downwards Why is that? Perhaps it has to do with the ‘safety net’ factor: We get comfortable where we live, and we’re afraid to try a new move. What if the schools are bad? What if it’s dangerous?

Well, we can pretty much guarantee that if you choose the cities we’re mentioning below, you won’t lose any sleep whatsoever.

So, where are the best cities for families in Iowa? We’ve got the answers here.

These are the best cities to raise a family in the Hawkeye State:

  1. Pella (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Clive (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Johnston (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Oskaloosa (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Indianola (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Ankeny (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Storm Lake (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Altoona (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Boone (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Waverly (Photos | Homes For Sale)

If you’re thinking of making a move to Iowa, and want a family-friendly place, we’ve got you covered. And if you already have kids, we’re surprised you made it this far into the article and hope your little ones give you a couple of more minutes of free time.

Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in Iowa and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Iowa.

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

How do you determine which place is best for families in Iowa anyways?

To give you the places in Iowa which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what’s family-friendly and what isn’t.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Hawkeye State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of Iowa, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 10,000 people. For Iowa, that meant a total of 34 cities.

Read on to see why Pella is where all the families are headed, while Davenport is probably a place made for singles.

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

1. Pella

Pella, IA

Population: 10,280
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 59
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 28.4%
More on Pella: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Pella is a city in Marion County, Iowa, United States, with a population of 10,352 at the time of the 2010 U.S. Census. Founded by immigrants from the Netherlands, it is forty miles southeast of Des Moines. Pella is the home of Central College, as well as several manufacturing companies, including Pella Corporation and Vermeer Manufacturing Company.

2. Clive

Clive, IA

Source: Public domain

Population: 17,022
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 59
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 38.6%
More on Clive: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Clive is a city in Dallas and Polk counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 Census the population is at 15,447. It is part of the Des Moines?West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. Clive is known for its Greenbelt Park and trail system running through the entire community. Clive serves as the axis of the western Des Moines suburbs, being located between Urbandale, Waukee and West Des Moines along the major transportation corridors of I-35, I-80 and I-235. The City of Urbandale is to the north to northwest, the City of West Des Moines is to the southeast to southwest, the City of Waukee in Dallas County is to the west.

3. Johnston

Johnston, IA

Population: 19,491
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 45
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 37.6%
More on Johnston: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Johnston is a city in Polk County, Iowa, United States. The population was 17,278 in the 2010 census, an increase of almost 100% from the 8,649 population in the 2000 census. It is part of the Des Moines?West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.

4. Oskaloosa

Oskaloosa, IA

Source: Public domain

Population: 11,538
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 45
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 29.4%
More on Oskaloosa: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Oskaloosa is a city in and the county seat of Mahaska County, Iowa, United States. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it was a national center of bituminous coal mining. The population was 11,463 in the 2010 census, an increase from 10,938 in the 2000 census.

5. Indianola

Indianola, IA

Source: Public domain

Population: 15,343
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 47
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 35.4%
More on Indianola: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Indianola is a city in Warren County, Iowa, United States, 18 miles south of Des Moines, Iowa. The population was 14,782 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Warren County.

6. Ankeny

Ankeny, IA

Population: 53,413
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 52
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 39.4%
More on Ankeny: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Ankeny is a city in Polk County, Iowa, United States and home to Des Moines Area Community College. The population was 45,562 in the 2010 census, an increase of 68% from the 27,117 population in the 2000 census. It is part of the Des Moines?West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is one of the most affluent cities in all of Iowa.

7. Storm Lake

Storm Lake, IA

Population: 10,768
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 38
Closest Major City: Omaha
Households with kids: 42.7%
More on Storm Lake: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Storm Lake is a city in Buena Vista County, Iowa, United States. The population was 10,600 in the 2010 census, an increase from 10,076 in the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Buena Vista County. Storm Lake is home to Buena Vista University, originally Buena Vista College. Tyson Foods operates a large hog slaughterhouse, meat packing plant, and turkey processing plant in Storm Lake.

8. Altoona

Altoona, IA

Population: 16,692
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 62
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 42.1%
More on Altoona: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Altoona is a city in Polk County, Iowa, United States and is a part of the Des Moines?West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 14,541 at the 2010 census.

9. Boone

Boone, IA

Population: 12,609
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 55
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 22.6%
More on Boone: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Boone (/bun/ BOON) is a city in Des Moines Township, and county seat of Boone County, Iowa, United States. It is the principal city of the Boone, Iowa Micropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Boone County. This micropolitan statistical area, along with the Ames, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area comprise the larger Ames-Boone, Iowa Combined Statistical Area. The population of the city was 12,661 at the 2010 census.

10. Waverly

Waverly, IA

Population: 10,049
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 58
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 27.1%
More on Waverly: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

There You Have It – The Best Places To Raise A Family In Iowa

If you’re looking for a breakdown of cities in Iowa ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here’s a look at the best cities for singles Iowa according to the data:

  1. Davenport
  2. Burlington
  3. Clinton

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In Iowa

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Pella 10,280 63
2 Clive 17,022 50
3 Johnston 19,491 52
4 Oskaloosa 11,538 46
5 Indianola 15,343 50
6 Ankeny 53,413 52
7 Storm Lake 10,768 34
8 Altoona 16,692 34
9 Boone 12,609 65
10 Waverly 10,049 51
11 Newton 15,090 43
12 Ottumwa 24,709 60
13 Bettendorf 35,048 55
14 Urbandale 41,578 44
15 Spencer 11,172 54
16 North Liberty 16,984 38
17 Marshalltown 27,637 54
18 Cedar Falls 40,828 54
19 Fort Dodge 24,626 47
20 Marion 37,198 42
21 Ames 64,073 70
22 Muscatine 23,909 41
23 Coralville 20,078 58
24 Fort Madison 10,769 60
25 Des Moines 212,859 79
26 Cedar Rapids 129,537 89
27 Dubuque 58,535 61
28 Council Bluffs 62,326 50
29 Keokuk 10,628 58
30 West Des Moines 61,624 44
31 Waterloo 68,357 58
32 Clinton 26,148 61
33 Burlington 25,492 56
34 Davenport 102,305 53

Like HomeSnacks on Facebook:

Facebook Discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *