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 the best places to live in Iowa or the most expensive.

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

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.

1. Fort Dodge

Fort Dodge, Iowa

Population: 25,109
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 49
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Fort Dodge: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

2. Webster City

Webster City, Iowa

Population: 8,024
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 53
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Webster City: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

3. Iowa Falls

Iowa Falls, Iowa

Population: 5,186
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 53
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Iowa Falls: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

4. Perry

Perry, Iowa

Population: 7,828
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 54
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Perry: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

5. Charles City

Charles City, Iowa

Population: 7,600
Services: 94
Groceries: 93
Health Care: 91
Housing: 46
Transportation: 90
Utilities: 93
More on Charles City: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

6. Storm Lake

Storm Lake, Iowa

Population: 10,541
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 57
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Storm Lake: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

7. Marshalltown

Marshalltown, Iowa

Population: 27,465
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 58
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Marshalltown: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

8. Centerville

Centerville, Iowa

Population: 5,519
Services: 92
Groceries: 93
Health Care: 97
Housing: 45
Transportation: 91
Utilities: 92
More on Centerville: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

9. Carroll

Carroll, Iowa

Population: 10,057
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 63
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Carroll: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

10. Boone

Boone, Iowa

Population: 12,658
Services: 86
Groceries: 91
Health Care: 97
Housing: 65
Transportation: 97
Utilities: 85
More on Boone: Homes For Sale | Data
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. 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.

Detailed List Of The Cheapest Places In Iowa

City Rank Population Services Groceries Health Care
Fort Dodge 1 25,109 86 91 97
Webster City 2 8,024 86 91 97
Iowa Falls 3 5,186 86 91 97
Perry 4 7,828 86 91 97
Charles City 5 7,600 94 93 91
Storm Lake 6 10,541 86 91 97
Marshalltown 7 27,465 86 91 97
Centerville 8 5,519 92 93 97
Carroll 9 10,057 86 91 97
Boone 10 12,658 86 91 97
Algona 11 5,534 94 93 91
Mason City 12 28,012 94 93 91
Nevada 13 6,795 86 91 97
Keokuk 14 10,757 90 95 94
Creston 15 7,821 92 93 97
Knoxville 16 7,353 92 93 97
Oskaloosa 17 11,494 92 93 97
Ottumwa 18 24,849 90 95 94
Fort Madison 19 11,022 90 95 94
Fairfield 20 9,462 90 95 94
Burlington 21 25,624 90 95 94
Newton 22 15,234 92 93 97
Clear Lake 23 7,765 94 93 91
Ames 24 59,206 86 91 97
Grinnell 25 9,205 92 93 97
Des Moines 26 204,362 92 93 97
Mount Pleasant 27 8,737 90 95 94
Washington 28 7,277 90 95 94
Winterset 29 5,170 92 93 97
Indianola 30 14,787 92 93 97
Norwalk 31 9,012 92 93 97
Grimes 32 8,341 92 93 97
Altoona 33 14,563 92 93 97
Pella 34 10,365 92 93 97
Oelwein 35 6,408 90 97 100
Ankeny 36 45,732 92 93 97
Pleasant Hill 37 8,678 92 93 97
Waukee 38 14,108 92 93 97
West Des Moines 39 57,041 92 93 97
Urbandale 40 39,426 92 93 97
Clive 41 15,557 92 93 97
Johnston 42 17,316 92 93 97
Waterloo 43 68,248 90 97 100
Maquoketa 44 6,113 103 98 96
Cherokee 45 5,196 95 95 102
Shenandoah 46 5,144 95 95 102
Clarinda 47 5,535 95 95 102
Independence 48 5,988 90 97 100
Red Oak 49 5,710 95 95 102
Denison 50 8,253 95 95 102
Atlantic 51 7,040 95 95 102
Waverly 52 9,881 90 97 100
Decorah 53 8,097 90 97 100
Cedar Falls 54 39,197 90 97 100
Manchester 55 5,160 93 94 102
Sioux City 56 82,529 95 95 102
Harlan 57 5,098 95 95 102
Anamosa 58 5,605 93 94 102
Vinton 59 5,253 93 94 102
Dubuque 60 57,727 103 98 96
Le Mars 61 9,765 95 95 102
Council Bluffs 62 61,986 95 95 102
Clinton 63 26,877 99 100 92
Glenwood 64 5,276 95 95 102
Hiawatha 65 7,046 93 94 102
Orange City 66 6,054 95 95 102
Cedar Rapids 67 126,921 93 94 102
Estherville 68 6,318 104 105 111
Marion 69 34,750 93 94 102
Sioux Center 70 7,055 95 95 102
Muscatine 71 22,915 99 100 92
De Witt 72 5,299 99 100 92
Davenport 73 99,781 99 100 92
North Liberty 74 13,330 93 94 102
Sheldon 75 5,096 104 105 111
Iowa City 76 68,364 93 94 102
Coralville 77 18,931 93 94 102
Spencer 78 11,204 104 105 111
Eldridge 79 5,630 99 100 92
Bettendorf 80 33,347 99 100 92

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