These Are The 10 Best Suburbs In Iowa For 2018


We used science and data to determine the best suburbs in Iowa for you to live.

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Are you sick of being a city slicker?

Do you long for life in suburban Iowa? Where you can drive your overly-large vehicle to the store for groceries, and schlep the kids around to practices and appointments without worrying about a parking space?

We do too.

Public transportation is…icky at times. When you have to call an Uber to get to urgent care on a Friday night, that gets old after a while.

So, the question is, if you wanted to move out to the suburbs of Des Moines, where would you go? And how would you decide on the ranking factors to help you pick which Iowa suburb was best?

No worries. We got it all figured out here.

These are the 10 best suburbs in the Hawkeye State:

  1. Johnston (Photos)
  2. Urbandale (Photos)
  3. Clive (Photos)
  4. Ankeny (Photos)
  5. West Des Moines (Photos)
  6. Norwalk
  7. Waukee (Photos)
  8. Grimes
  9. Altoona (Photos)
  10. Huxley

Johnston is the place to be when it comes to being a soccer mom in suburban Iowa.

So if you’re thinking of packing up your mini van and making a move to a quiet place to live in Iowa, we’ve got you covered.

Keep on reading for a detailed methodology. Or, check out the best places to live in Iowa and the best places to raise a family in Iowa.

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How do you determine which suburb is the best in Iowa anyways?

To give you the best suburbs in Iowa, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what’s a ‘best city’ and what isn’t.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the suburb numbers for the Hawkeye State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of Iowa, we looked at every town between 2,000 and 200,000 residents, and within 30 miles of a city that’s over 200,000 people (In other words, suburbs).

We paid particular attention to:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher is Better)
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Commute Time
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We ranked each suburb in Iowa across a number of criteria from one to 24, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the town posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title ‘Best Suburb To Live In Iowa’.

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and awesome places to live in Iowa

Read on to see why Johnston is the ‘burb with the most, while Missouri Valley is probably not the best place to live in Iowa.

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1. Johnston

Johnston, Ia

Population: 19,491
Median Income: $95,565
Median Home Price: $237,600
Johnston is located 9 miles north of Des Moines.

2. Urbandale

Urbandale, Ia

Source: Public domain

Population: 41,578
Median Income: $81,862
Median Home Price: $204,700
Urbandale is located 9 miles west of Des Moines.

3. Clive

Clive, Ia

Source: Public domain

Population: 17,022
Median Income: $90,502
Median Home Price: $237,200
Clive is located 10 miles west of Des Moines.

4. Ankeny

Ankeny, Ia

Population: 53,413
Median Income: $76,760
Median Home Price: $186,200
Ankeny is located 10 miles north of Des Moines.

5. West Des Moines

West Des Moines, Ia

Population: 61,624
Median Income: $70,906
Median Home Price: $195,500
West Des Moines is located 8 miles west of Des Moines.

6. Norwalk

Norwalk, Ia

Population: 9,944
Median Income: $80,675
Median Home Price: $169,900
Norwalk is located 7 miles west of Des Moines.

7. Waukee

Waukee, Ia

Population: 16,955
Median Income: $81,250
Median Home Price: $191,900
Waukee is located 13 miles west of Des Moines.

8. Grimes


Population: 10,422
Median Income: $83,125
Median Home Price: $188,900
Grimes is located 12 miles west of Des Moines.

9. Altoona

Altoona, Ia

Population: 16,692
Median Income: $72,398
Median Home Price: $168,100
Altoona is located 8 miles east of Des Moines.

10. Huxley


Population: 3,474
Median Income: $65,471
Median Home Price: $164,700
Huxley is located 22 miles north of Des Moines.

There You Have It – The Best Suburbs In Iowa

Here’s a look at the worst suburbs in Iowa according to the data:

  1. Missouri Valley
  2. Carter Lake
  3. Council Bluffs

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Suburbs In Iowa

City Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Johnston 1 19,491 $95,565 $237,600
Urbandale 2 41,578 $81,862 $204,700
Clive 3 17,022 $90,502 $237,200
Ankeny 4 53,413 $76,760 $186,200
West Des Moines 5 61,624 $70,906 $195,500
Norwalk 6 9,944 $80,675 $169,900
Waukee 7 16,955 $81,250 $191,900
Grimes 8 10,422 $83,125 $188,900
Altoona 9 16,692 $72,398 $168,100
Huxley 10 3,474 $65,471 $164,700
Pleasant Hill 11 9,406 $75,373 $186,400
Windsor Heights 12 4,980 $53,482 $180,300
Madrid 13 2,585 $60,457 $122,200
Bondurant 14 5,079 $73,073 $170,700
Carlisle 15 4,031 $58,299 $149,700
Glenwood 16 5,233 $57,148 $134,600
Adel 17 4,030 $58,321 $157,900
Indianola 18 15,343 $51,414 $151,400
Newton 19 15,090 $47,377 $98,100
Winterset 20 5,158 $45,046 $139,500
Mitchellville 21 2,271 $57,391 $127,800
Council Bluffs 22 62,326 $47,097 $113,500
Carter Lake 23 3,765 $57,670 $100,300
Missouri Valley 24 2,689 $44,519 $81,300

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