These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Iowa


We analyzed over 67 places in Iowa to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

Join HomeSnacks

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

When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Iowa.

But where exactly in Iowa? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Iowa that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Shenandoah don’t mind us spreading the word. Here are our top ten places in the Hawkeye State to retire:

  1. Shenandoah
  2. Storm Lake
  3. Algona
  4. Perry
  5. Estherville
  6. Oelwein
  7. Glenwood
  8. Anamosa
  9. Independence
  10. Cherokee

Why did Shenandoah take the top spot? And where are Des Moines and Cedar Rapids? Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details.

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Hawkeye State

To create our list of the best places in Iowa to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Hawkeye State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 67 places from across the state.

For these 67, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (As measured by population density)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 67, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Shenandoah, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

1. Shenandoah


Population 2014: 5,079
Cost Of Living: 78
Distance to Closest Airport: 103 miles
Crime Per 100k: 945
Shenandoah ranked 1 overall thanks to its 4 place rank for cost of living and 4 place safety rank.

2. Storm Lake

Storm Lake, Iowa

Source: Flickr

Population: 10,743
Cost Of Living: 84
Distance to Closest Airport: 109 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,494
Storm Lake ranked 2 overall thanks to its 25 place rank for cost of living and 39 place safety rank.

3. Algona

Algona, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,513
Cost Of Living: 83
Distance to Closest Airport: 110 miles
Crime Per 100k: 888
Algona ranked 3 overall thanks to its 22 place rank for cost of living and 3 place safety rank.

4. Perry

Perry, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,986
Cost Of Living: 77
Distance to Closest Airport: 30 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,566
Perry ranked 4 overall thanks to its 1 place rank for cost of living and 41 place safety rank.

5. Estherville

Estherville, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,177
Cost Of Living: 81
Distance to Closest Airport: 129 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,457
Estherville ranked 5 overall thanks to its 15 place rank for cost of living and 13 place safety rank.

6. Oelwein

Oelwein, Iowa

Source: Flickr

Population: 6,321
Cost Of Living: 78
Distance to Closest Airport: 110 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,863
Oelwein ranked 6 overall thanks to its 4 place rank for cost of living and 45 place safety rank.

7. Glenwood

Glenwood, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,253
Cost Of Living: 92
Distance to Closest Airport: 112 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,941
Glenwood ranked 7 overall thanks to its 48 place rank for cost of living and 25 place safety rank.

8. Anamosa

Anamosa, Iowa

Source: Google Maps

Population: 5,526
Cost Of Living: 86
Distance to Closest Airport: 60 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,538
Anamosa ranked 8 overall thanks to its 31 place rank for cost of living and 18 place safety rank.

9. Independence

Independence, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,955
Cost Of Living: 87
Distance to Closest Airport: 100 miles
Crime Per 100k: 688
Independence ranked 9 overall thanks to its 34 place rank for cost of living and 2 place safety rank.

10. Cherokee

Cherokee, Iowa

Source: Flickr

Population: 5,203
Cost Of Living: 79
Distance to Closest Airport: 128 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,460
Cherokee ranked 10 overall thanks to its 9 place rank for cost of living and 14 place safety rank.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Iowa goes to Shenandoah.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Waterloo
  • Cedar Falls
  • Clinton

For more Iowa reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Iowa

City Rank Population Cost Of Living Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Shenandoah 1 5,079 78 103 945
Storm Lake 2 10,743 84 109 2,494
Algona 3 5,513 83 110 888
Perry 4 7,986 77 30 2,566
Estherville 5 6,177 81 129 1,457
Oelwein 6 6,321 78 110 2,863
Glenwood 7 5,253 92 112 1,941
Anamosa 8 5,526 86 60 1,538
Independence 9 5,955 87 100 688
Cherokee 10 5,203 79 128 1,460
Ankeny 11 49,488 94 13 1,495
Des Moines 12 206,702 82 3 4,881
Burlington 13 25,559 78 54 4,041
Creston 14 7,846 82 48 2,153
Carroll 15 10,051 88 72 1,064
Marion 16 35,809 92 69 1,605
Decorah 17 8,058 93 130 1,216
Council Bluffs 18 62,261 83 115 7,140
Waukee 19 15,944 98 11 1,009
Ames 20 61,276 104 34 1,945
Washington 21 7,315 88 62 1,503
Winterset 22 5,165 87 22 1,781
North Liberty 23 14,503 99 60 1,282
Sheldon 24 5,047 87 159 1,981
Johnston 25 18,874 104 10 1,006
Muscatine 26 23,857 85 29 2,523
Boone 27 12,619 87 37 2,401
Maquoketa 28 6,064 81 43 3,265
Grinnell 29 9,136 88 50 2,823
Ottumwa 30 24,847 78 73 4,608
Spencer 31 11,177 85 134 2,469
Altoona 32 15,317 93 12 3,231
Fort Madison 33 10,929 79 72 2,488
Indianola 34 15,014 91 12 2,870
Hiawatha 35 7,109 89 73 2,377
Marshalltown 36 27,749 84 52 3,452
Norwalk 37 9,444 93 3 963
Fairfield 38 9,615 81 81 3,057
Le Mars 39 9,783 88 154 2,473
Eldridge 40 5,908 102 13 490
Atlantic 41 6,983 82 70 1,646
Pella 42 10,343 94 39 1,769
Red Oak 43 5,644 79 88 3,082
Fort Dodge 44 24,846 80 72 5,590
Dubuque 45 58,068 91 73 2,855
Waverly 46 9,998 97 102 2,060
Newton 47 15,139 85 34 4,214
De Witt 48 5,297 92 25 1,585
Bettendorf 49 34,247 99 8 1,497
Cedar Rapids 50 128,009 89 70 4,170
Centerville 51 5,480 79 69 4,397
Iowa Falls 52 5,193 82 71 2,387
Vinton 53 5,211 87 92 1,228
Urbandale 54 41,157 103 9 1,897
Manchester 55 5,126 83 86 2,048
Clive 56 16,246 104 8 2,363
Coralville 57 19,677 99 58 2,967
West Des Moines 58 59,815 95 6 2,805
Keokuk 59 10,742 78 85 4,971
Davenport 60 101,316 88 8 4,763
Mount Pleasant 61 8,682 85 63 3,040
Clear Lake 62 7,718 90 111 3,511
Clarinda 63 5,490 79 90 3,205
Pleasant Hill 64 9,011 93 9 1,165
Clinton 65 26,611 84 30 5,197
Cedar Falls 66 40,009 95 92 2,089
Waterloo 67 68,392 80 94 4,863

Like HomeSnacks on Facebook:

Facebook Discussion