Where are the best places in the state of Iowa?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Hawkeye State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Iowa.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 76 places in Iowa, we came up with this list of the best places.
Here are the 10 best places to live in Iowa for 2019:
- Asbury (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- North Liberty (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Urbandale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Sioux Center (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Algona (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Johnston (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- West Des Moines (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Pella (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Carroll (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Ankeny (Photos | Homes For Sale)
Well, it looks like you should check out Asbury if you’re thinking of moving to Iowa — it’s the best the Hawkeye State has to offer according to the data.
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Iowa.
For more Iowa reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Iowa
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Iowa
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Iowa
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Iowa
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Des Moines with a population of 212,859 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 76 cities, 213 towns, and 645 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Iowa
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Iowa across a number of criteria from one to 76, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Iowa”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Iowa? That would be Asbury.
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Iowa.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Asbury at the end of the cul-de-sac.
The 10 Best Places To Live In Iowa For 2019
Asbury makes a case for being one of the best places to live in Iowa mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.
And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 1.0% of folks are jobless, you can bet Asbury residents are glad to live where they do.
North Liberty is feeling the love as it ranks as the 2nd best city to live in Iowa for 2019.
It ranked highly because of its high incomes (8th overall) and low crime (5th overall and one of the best in the top ten).
We think the city should probably change its motto at this point to something like “The Place To Be In Iowa”.
Urbandale is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it’s affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.
Home prices clock in at $204,700 and households earn a median salary of $81,862. One could get used to that.
Sioux Center is another great city in Iowa with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.
Said one reviewer on City-Data.com: ” We feel incredibly safe in Sioux Center. The houses and neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s wonderful to have such good neighbors. People watch out for each other here, they teach their children to be respectful of others and things.”
Algona has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Algona has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 0.7% and lowering. And the Algona police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 6th lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
If you want to live in Iowa, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Johnston area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.
Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $95,565 median income will do that).
Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Johnston as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Johnston.
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s A LOT of demand to live in West Des Moines.
West Des Moines ranked impressively high for its crime rate (36th overall) and its short commute times (40th).
We think that’s worth the price of admission.
Let’s take a look at why Pella is a great place to call home for 2019.
There’s low crime in Pella, and the residents here are gainfully employed (3.3% unemployment rate).
You can make Pella your home for only $175,300 which won’t be too hard on a $60,568 household salary.
Carroll comes in 9th in our best places to live in Iowa analysis.
Ranking highly for its exceptionally low unemployment rate (7th overall) and crime rate (30th overall), Carroll is the exact kind of place you’d want to live with a family.
Several large companies call the surrounding area home which should keep Carroll in our lists for years to come.
Things can’t get much better than in the town of Ankeny. The crime is the 14th lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Ankeny make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.
The median home costs a cool $186,200 and households make $76,760 which is good for 9th in Iowa.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Iowa
If you’re looking at areas in Iowa with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Asbury made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Iowa for 2019.
Best Towns To Live In Iowa
- Fairfax (Pop. 2,418)
- Walford (Pop. 1,428)
- Mount Vernon (Pop. 4,487)
- Robins (Pop. 3,434)
- Farley (Pop. 1,688)
- Atkins (Pop. 1,713)
- Dike (Pop. 1,309)
- Roland (Pop. 1,312)
- Ely (Pop. 2,133)
- Gilbert (Pop. 1,183)
Best Small Towns To Live In Iowa
- Westwood (Pop. 96)
- Halbur (Pop. 243)
- Lawton (Pop. 900)
- Swisher (Pop. 846)
- North Washington (Pop. 161)
- Long Grove (Pop. 952)
- Underwood (Pop. 808)
- Orleans (Pop. 459)
- Oakland Acres (Pop. 116)
- Lambs Grove (Pop. 200)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Iowa according to the data:
- Red Oak (Pop. 5,547)
- Centerville (Pop. 5,404)
- Keokuk (Pop. 10,628)
For more Iowa reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Iowa
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Iowa
- 10 Safest Places In Iowa
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Iowa
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Iowa
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