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.

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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 Perry don’t mind us spreading the word.

Here are our top ten places in the Hawkeye State to retire:

  1. Perry (Photos)
  2. Des Moines (Photos)
  3. Anamosa (Photos)
  4. Shenandoah
  5. Bettendorf (Photos)
  6. Carroll
  7. Burlington (Photos)
  8. Creston (Photos)
  9. Ankeny (Photos)
  10. Marion (Photos)

Why did Perry take the top spot? And where are Des Moines and Cedar Rapids?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in Iowa.

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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 Perry, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Perry

Perry, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,876
Cost Of Living: 77
Distance to Closest Airport: 30 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,602
Perry ranked 1st overall thanks to it’s 1st place rank for cost of living and it’s 41st place safety rank.

2. Des Moines

Des Moines, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 212,859
Cost Of Living: 82
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,740
Des Moines ranked 2nd overall thanks to it’s 18th place rank for cost of living and it’s 62nd place safety rank.

3. Anamosa

Anamosa, Iowa

Source: Google Maps

Population: 5,459
Cost Of Living: 86
Distance to Closest Airport: 60 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,557
Anamosa ranked 3rd overall thanks to it’s 31st place rank for cost of living and it’s 19th place safety rank.

4. Shenandoah

Shenandoah, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,030
Cost Of Living: 78
Distance to Closest Airport: 103 miles
Crime Per 100k: 954
Shenandoah ranked 4th overall thanks to it’s 4th place rank for cost of living and it’s 6th place safety rank.

5. Bettendorf

Bettendorf, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 35,048
Cost Of Living: 99
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,463
Bettendorf ranked 5th overall thanks to it’s 61st place rank for cost of living and it’s 14th place safety rank.

6. Carroll

Carroll, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,990
Cost Of Living: 88
Distance to Closest Airport: 72 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,071
Carroll ranked 6th overall thanks to it’s 39th place rank for cost of living and it’s 8th place safety rank.

7. Burlington

Burlington, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,492
Cost Of Living: 78
Distance to Closest Airport: 54 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,052
Burlington ranked 7th overall thanks to it’s 4th place rank for cost of living and it’s 56th place safety rank.

8. Creston

Creston, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,877
Cost Of Living: 82
Distance to Closest Airport: 48 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,145
Creston ranked 8th overall thanks to it’s 18th place rank for cost of living and it’s 31st place safety rank.

9. Ankeny

Ankeny, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 53,413
Cost Of Living: 94
Distance to Closest Airport: 13 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,385
Ankeny ranked 9th overall thanks to it’s 54th place rank for cost of living and it’s 13th place safety rank.

10. Marion

Marion, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 37,198
Cost Of Living: 92
Distance to Closest Airport: 69 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,545
Marion ranked 10th overall thanks to it’s 48th place rank for cost of living and it’s 18th 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 Perry.

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

  • Clear Lake
  • Waverly
  • Le Mars

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
Perry 1 7,876 77 30 2,602
Des Moines 2 212,859 82 3 4,740
Anamosa 3 5,459 86 60 1,557
Shenandoah 4 5,030 78 103 954
Bettendorf 5 35,048 99 8 1,463
Carroll 6 9,990 88 72 1,071
Burlington 7 25,492 78 54 4,052
Creston 8 7,877 82 48 2,145
Ankeny 9 53,413 94 13 1,385
Marion 10 37,198 92 69 1,545
Urbandale 11 41,578 103 9 1,878
Clive 12 17,022 104 8 2,255
Ames 13 64,073 104 34 1,860
Washington 14 7,368 88 62 1,492
North Liberty 15 16,984 99 60 1,095
Winterset 16 5,158 87 22 1,783
Norwalk 17 9,944 93 3 915
Storm Lake 18 10,768 84 109 2,488
Muscatine 19 23,909 85 29 2,517
Algona 20 5,496 83 110 891
Davenport 21 102,305 88 8 4,717
Boone 22 12,609 87 37 2,403
Maquoketa 23 6,025 81 43 3,286
Grinnell 24 9,112 88 50 2,831
Waukee 25 16,955 98 11 949
Ottumwa 26 24,709 78 73 4,633
Pleasant Hill 27 9,406 93 9 1,116
West Des Moines 28 61,624 95 6 2,722
Fort Madison 29 10,769 79 72 2,525
Fairfield 30 9,942 81 81 2,957
Hiawatha 31 7,160 89 73 2,360
Altoona 32 16,692 93 12 2,965
Marshalltown 33 27,637 84 52 3,466
Estherville 34 6,027 81 129 1,493
Red Oak 35 5,547 79 88 3,136
Atlantic 36 6,817 82 70 1,686
Indianola 37 15,343 91 12 2,809
Johnston 38 19,491 104 10 974
Fort Dodge 39 24,626 80 72 5,640
Pella 40 10,280 94 39 1,780
Dubuque 41 58,535 91 73 2,832
Newton 42 15,090 85 34 4,227
Eldridge 43 6,122 102 13 473
Oelwein 44 6,195 78 110 2,921
Glenwood 45 5,233 92 112 1,949
De Witt 46 5,264 92 25 1,595
Vinton 47 5,166 87 92 1,238
Independence 48 6,005 87 100 682
Cedar Rapids 49 129,537 89 70 4,120
Centerville 50 5,404 79 69 4,459
Iowa Falls 51 5,176 82 71 2,395
Manchester 52 5,083 83 86 2,065
Cherokee 53 5,113 79 128 1,486
Coralville 54 20,078 99 58 2,908
Keokuk 55 10,628 78 85 5,024
Clarinda 56 5,431 79 90 3,240
Mount Pleasant 57 8,491 85 63 3,109
Cedar Falls 58 40,828 95 92 2,047
Decorah 59 7,985 93 130 1,227
Clinton 60 26,148 84 30 5,289
Council Bluffs 61 62,326 83 115 7,133
Sheldon 62 5,015 87 159 1,994
Waterloo 63 68,357 80 94 4,865
Spencer 64 11,172 85 134 2,470
Le Mars 65 9,826 88 154 2,462
Waverly 66 10,049 97 102 2,049
Clear Lake 67 7,644 90 111 3,545

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