Iowa is quite a wonderful place to live. That’s not just us talking. We ran the numbers a while ago on the best states in America, and Iowa was 2nd, right behind Nebraska.
Seems like there’s a lot of great things going on in the Hawkeye State.
While Iowa is awesome, and everyone there bursts with state pride, there are some places that embrace the finer things in life. The best of the best when it comes to living in Iowa.
So, where are the best places in this awesome place? Where would most people want to call home, if they looked at all of the factors that we all agree are important? That’s the purpose of this post.
After analyzing all 81 places with a population over 5,000, we came up with this list as the 10 best places to live in Iowa:
- North Liberty
- Sioux Center
- Orange City
Say what? You haven’t even heard of some of these places? Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. Additionally, there’s a chart at the bottom with all of the rankings.
While Urbandale came in as the best city, you might not be surprised to hear that Keokuk is the worst place to live in Iowa, according science.
How do you decide if a place is awesome or not?
In order to rank the best places to live in Iowa, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, great weather, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers for Iowa
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The higher the better)
- Lowest Unemployment Rates
- Highest Home Values
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (High expenditures per student and low Student Teacher Ratio)
- Low Crime
If you’d like to see the complete list of place, from best to worst, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the chart.
Hey, the data never lies, does it?
Why it’s great: Urbandale has the 4th highest income ($83,000 a year), and the 5th lowest unemployment rates (2.7%) in Iowa. Plus, homes are valued the third-highest in the state, meaning there’s a lot of interest in living here.
2. North Liberty
Why it’s great: Lots of jobs and low crime. Like Urbandale, the unemployment rate is 2.7%. It’s also the 12th safest place you can live in Iowa.
Why it’s great: Ankeny has the lowest unemployment rate (2.3%), which is just about as low as you’ll see in the entire nation. Schools are also well funded here, and homes hold their value.
Why it’s great: Marion ranks 6th in school spending and 5th in population density. So there’s a lot to do in a small area, but crime doesn’t suffer.
Why it’s great: If you believe high incomes and big homes make a place great, then welcome to Clive. These are the highest earners in the state, and practically the biggest homes.
6. Sioux Center
Why it’s great: This is the safest place in the state, according to the FBI. In addition, lots of people have jobs.
7. Orange City
Why it’s great: Across the board, Orange City looks pretty ‘sweet.’ Almost everyone has a job, the schools aren’t overcrowded, and it’s the 13th safest place you can live.
Why it’s great: This is the 10th safest city in Iowa, where families earn about $70,000 each. It’s not overly populated, but not a ghost town, either. (Not that there’s anything wrong with wide open spaces.)
Why it’s great: : Coralville always ranks high on lists like this. It’s 5th in the state for jobs, and homes hold their value for a long time.
Why it’s great: Only two other school districts have higher spending levels, per student. Plus, it’s the 11th safest place in Iowa.