These Are The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Iowa For 2018


We used data and science to determine which places in Iowa go easy on your wallet.

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A wise sage once said:

“She works hard for the money…”

And these places in Iowa definitely treat her right.

You see, these are the places in Iowa where the cost of living is the lowest; where your salary goes the furthest. And when if you have the luxury of choosing where to live in the Hawkeye State, then the cost of living should play a role in the decision.

So we did the hard for you and crunched the numbers to find the cities that have lower food, energy, and housing costs. After the dust settled on our analysis of the 80 largest places in Iowa, we were left with this set of the best value for your money.

Here are the 10 cheapest places to live in Iowa for 2018:

  1. Fort Dodge (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Webster City (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Iowa Falls (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Perry (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Charles City (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Storm Lake (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Marshalltown (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Centerville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Carroll (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Boone (Photos | Homes For Sale)

So listen up Bettendorf (the most expensive place in Iowa) as we explain how we created this ranking. You could learn some things from the rest of the state.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Iowa and the cheapest places in the country:

How We Determined The Cheapest Places To Live In The Hawkeye State For 2018

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Iowa
There are basic necessities that you have to buy no matter where in the country you live. Those things include:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Health Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Transportation

You can then compare the cost of these things in each of the places in Iowa to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” that normalizes to 100 for an average place in the United States.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 80 places in Iowa that have more than 5,000 people.

And just so you can better understand how the cost of living index works, 100 is the average cost of a place in the United States. A score of 90 means that the place cost 10% less than average. A score of 90 means it’s 10% less expensive.

San Francisco has a score of 243 meaning it’s almost 2.5 times as expensive as the average place in the country.

Fort Dodge, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 25,109
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 49
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Fort Dodge: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fort Dodge is a city in and the county seat of Webster County, Iowa, United States, along the Des Moines River. The population was 25,206 in the 2010 census, an increase from 25,136 in the 2000 census. Fort Dodge is a major commercial center for North Central and Northwest Iowa. It is located on U.S. Routes 20 and 169.

Webster City, IA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 8,024
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 53
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Webster City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Webster City is a city in Hamilton County, Iowa, United States. The population was 8,070 at the United States 2010 Census. It is the county seat of Hamilton County. Webster City is known as ‘Boone River Country’, as the Boone River meanders along the east side of the city.

Iowa Falls, IA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 5,186
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 53
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Iowa Falls: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Iowa Falls is a city in Hardin County, Iowa, United States. Iowa Falls is the home of Ellsworth Community College. It is also a regional transportation center, located along U.S. Routes 20 and 65 and the Canadian National and Union Pacific Railroads. The population was 5,238 at the 2010 census. A landmark in the city is its movie theater. Built as the Metropolitan Opera House in 1899, it presented plays, operas, and vaudeville in the town during the first half of the twentieth century, and today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Perry, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,828
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 54
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Perry: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Perry is a city in Dallas County, Iowa, United States, along the North Raccoon River. The population was 7,702 at the 2010 Census. It is part of the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Charles City, IA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,600
Services: 94
Groceries: 93
Health Care: 91
Housing: 46
Transportation: 90
Utilities: 93
More on Charles City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Charles City is a city in Floyd County, Iowa, United States. The population was 7,652 at the 2010 census a decrease of 160, or 2%, from 7,812 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Floyd County. Charles City is a significant commercial and transportation center for the area, located on U.S. Highways 18 and 218, Iowa Highway 14, and the Canadian National and Iowa, Chicago and Eastern Railroads.

Storm Lake, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,541
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 57
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Storm Lake: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Storm Lake is a city in Buena Vista County, Iowa, United States. The population was 10,600 in the 2010 census, an increase from 10,076 in the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Buena Vista County. Storm Lake is home to Buena Vista University, originally Buena Vista College. Tyson Foods operates a large hog slaughterhouse, meat packing plant, and turkey processing plant in Storm Lake.

Marshalltown, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 27,465
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 58
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Marshalltown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Marshalltown is a city in, and the county seat of, Marshall County, Iowa, United States. The population was 27,552 in the 2010 census, compared to 26,009 in 2000.

Centerville, IA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,519
Services: 92
Groceries: 93
Health Care: 97
Housing: 45
Transportation: 91
Utilities: 92
More on Centerville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Centerville is a city in and the county seat of Appanoose County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,528 in the 2010 census, a decline from 5,924 in 2000. After the turn of the 20th century Centerville had a booming coal mining industry that attracted many European immigrants. The city today remains the home of many Swedish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Croatian-Americans, Albanian-Americans and others descended from immigrants who worked in the mines.

Carroll, IA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 10,057
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 63
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Carroll: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Carroll is a city in and the county seat of Carroll County, Iowa, United States, located along the Middle Raccoon River. The population was 10,103 in the 2010 census, down from three people in the 10,106 population in the 2000 census.

Boone, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 12,658
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 65
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Boone: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Boone is a city in Des Moines Township, and county seat of Boone County, Iowa, United States. It is the principal city of the Boone, Iowa Micropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Boone County. This micropolitan statistical area, along with the Ames, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area comprise the larger Ames-Boone, Iowa Combined Statistical Area. The population of the city was 12,661 at the 2010 census.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Iowa Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Iowa, this is an accurate list of the cheapest places to call home.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Iowa according to the data:

  1. Bettendorf
  2. Eldridge
  3. Spencer

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Cheapest Places In Iowa

Rank City CheapScore Population Services Groceries Health Care
1 Fort Dodge 22.0 25,109 86 91 97
2 Webster City 23.08 8,024 86 91 97
3 Iowa Falls 23.08 5,186 86 91 97
4 Perry 23.5 7,828 86 91 97
5 Charles City 23.92 7,600 94 93 91
6 Storm Lake 24.83 10,541 86 91 97
7 Marshalltown 25.33 27,465 86 91 97
8 Centerville 26.17 5,519 92 93 97
9 Carroll 26.83 10,057 86 91 97
10 Boone 27.08 12,658 86 91 97
11 Algona 27.25 5,534 94 93 91
12 Mason City 27.25 28,012 94 93 91
13 Nevada 28.0 6,795 86 91 97
14 Keokuk 28.83 10,757 90 95 94
15 Creston 28.92 7,821 92 93 97
16 Knoxville 29.33 7,353 92 93 97
17 Oskaloosa 29.33 11,494 92 93 97
18 Ottumwa 29.92 24,849 90 95 94
19 Fort Madison 29.92 11,022 90 95 94
20 Fairfield 30.92 9,462 90 95 94
21 Burlington 31.42 25,624 90 95 94
22 Newton 31.5 15,234 92 93 97
23 Clear Lake 31.75 7,765 94 93 91
24 Ames 31.83 59,206 86 91 97
25 Grinnell 33.75 9,205 92 93 97
26 Des Moines 34.0 204,362 92 93 97
27 Mount Pleasant 34.42 8,737 90 95 94
28 Washington 34.42 7,277 90 95 94
29 Winterset 34.58 5,170 92 93 97
30 Indianola 35.67 14,787 92 93 97
31 Norwalk 35.83 9,012 92 93 97
32 Grimes 36.25 8,341 92 93 97
33 Altoona 36.25 14,563 92 93 97
34 Pella 36.5 10,365 92 93 97
35 Oelwein 36.83 6,408 90 97 100
36 Ankeny 37.5 45,732 92 93 97
37 Pleasant Hill 37.67 8,678 92 93 97
38 Waukee 38.17 14,108 92 93 97
39 West Des Moines 38.33 57,041 92 93 97
40 Urbandale 38.5 39,426 92 93 97
41 Clive 38.67 15,557 92 93 97
42 Johnston 38.83 17,316 92 93 97
43 Waterloo 43.17 68,248 90 97 100
44 Maquoketa 43.33 6,113 103 98 96
45 Cherokee 43.42 5,196 95 95 102
46 Shenandoah 44.0 5,144 95 95 102
47 Clarinda 44.0 5,535 95 95 102
48 Independence 44.08 5,988 90 97 100
49 Red Oak 44.5 5,710 95 95 102
50 Denison 45.25 8,253 95 95 102
51 Atlantic 45.25 7,040 95 95 102
52 Waverly 46.08 9,881 90 97 100
53 Decorah 46.5 8,097 90 97 100
54 Cedar Falls 47.17 39,197 90 97 100
55 Manchester 48.08 5,160 93 94 102
56 Sioux City 48.25 82,529 95 95 102
57 Harlan 49.0 5,098 95 95 102
58 Anamosa 49.0 5,605 93 94 102
59 Vinton 49.5 5,253 93 94 102
60 Dubuque 50.08 57,727 103 98 96
61 Le Mars 50.42 9,765 95 95 102
62 Council Bluffs 50.42 61,986 95 95 102
63 Clinton 51.92 26,877 99 100 92
64 Glenwood 52.42 5,276 95 95 102
65 Hiawatha 52.5 7,046 93 94 102
66 Orange City 52.83 6,054 95 95 102
67 Cedar Rapids 53.33 126,921 93 94 102
68 Estherville 53.67 6,318 104 105 111
69 Marion 54.08 34,750 93 94 102
70 Sioux Center 54.33 7,055 95 95 102
71 Muscatine 54.33 22,915 99 100 92
72 De Witt 55.0 5,299 99 100 92
73 Davenport 55.5 99,781 99 100 92
74 North Liberty 55.58 13,330 93 94 102
75 Sheldon 56.25 5,096 104 105 111
76 Iowa City 56.67 68,364 93 94 102
77 Coralville 56.67 18,931 93 94 102
78 Spencer 57.0 11,204 104 105 111
79 Eldridge 58.92 5,630 99 100 92
80 Bettendorf 59.33 33,347 99 100 92

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