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:
- 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:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Iowa
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Iowa
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live 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 Place 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
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.
We think the motto in Asbury should be “Everything is greater in Asbury,” and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.
Asbury has some of the highest home values in Iowa, and they’re going up fast. Additionally, Asbury only has 390.0% of its residents living in poverty.
Crime is also well below the state average, making Asbury a solid option for people who value safety. At least those who can afford it.
North Liberty had the 2nd lowest unemployment of any place in our research (0.7%) and the 5th lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.
North Liberty is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department that represents so much about what it’s like to live there.
At an unemployment rate of 4.0%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Urbandale. And the residents command high salaries ($81,862 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($204,700 each).
We’re not saying money is why these cities are the ‘best’ in Iowa. What we’re implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Sioux Center has it made. In fact, according to science, it’s one of the best places to live in the state of Iowa.
The unemployment rate is the 1st lowest in the state at 0.4%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $70,703, and the average cost of a home is $186,000. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.
We wouldn’t be surprised if more and more publications call Sioux Center one of America’s gems.
Algona has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Algona had the 26th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $53,388.
Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.
Johnston ranks as the 6th best place in Iowa for 2018. Let’s take a look at why.
Johnston has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Johnston’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $95,565 a year.
The knock? We can’t really find one 🙂
When you’re looking at the best places you could live in Iowa, West Des Moines came in 7th. Let’s see why.
It has a low unemployment rate and high incomes.
Plus, West Des Moines has an impressive history for a place of just over 61,624 people. The median home costs a cool $195,500 and households make $70,906 which is good for 14th in Iowa.
Pella 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 Pella has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 3.3% and lowering. And the Pella police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 10th lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
With the unemployment rate being the 7th lowest in Iowa and very stable household median incomes, it’s easy to see why someone would want to live in Carroll.
Plus, the crime rate is the 30th lowest in the state!
In Ankeny, everyone loves to call Ankeny home! The median home value is the 13th highest in Iowa.
Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 24th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Hawkeye State.
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 2018.
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:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Iowa
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Iowa For 2018
- 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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