These Are The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Iowa For 2018


We used science and data to determine which cities in Iowa that will put a big dent in your wallet.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Iowa does this very well. Families love the Hawkeye State’s beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state — and that’s how we’re going to help you.

These are the places in Iowa that cost a pretty penny — the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Iowa for 2018:

  1. Bettendorf (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Eldridge (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Spencer (Homes For Sale)
  4. Coralville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Iowa City (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Sheldon (Homes For Sale)
  7. North Liberty (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Davenport (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. De Witt (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Muscatine (Photos | Homes For Sale)

So hopefully Fort Dodge (the cheapest place to live in Iowa) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out the best places to live in Iowa or the cheapest.

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How We Determined The Most Expensive 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 most 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.

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

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1. Bettendorf

Bettendorf, Iowa

Public domain

Population: 33,347
Services: 99
Groceries: 100
Health Care: 92
Housing: 91
Transportation: 102
Utilities: 100
More on Bettendorf: Homes For Sale | Data
Bettendorf is a city in Scott County, Iowa, United States. Bettendorf is the fifteenth largest city in the U.S. state of Iowa and the fourth largest city in the ‘Quad Cities’. It is part of the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 33,217 at the 2010 census, and was estimated to be 35,505 by July 2015. Bettendorf is one of the Quad Cities, along with neighboring Davenport and the Illinois cities of Moline, East Moline and Rock Island. The Quad Cities has a population estimate of 382,630. In 2011, Bettendorf was named U.S. 95th Best Town by CNNMoney.

2. Eldridge

Eldridge, Iowa

Population: 5,630
Services: 99
Groceries: 100
Health Care: 92
Housing: 89
Transportation: 102
Utilities: 100
More on Eldridge: Homes For Sale | Data
Eldridge is a city in Scott County, Iowa, United States. The population was 6,162 in a 2014 census estimate; Eldridge is a suburb and also part of the Quad Cities metropolitan area.

3. Spencer

Spencer, Iowa

Population: 11,204
Services: 104
Groceries: 105
Health Care: 111
Housing: 59
Transportation: 98
Utilities: 76
More on Spencer: Homes For Sale | Data
Spencer is a city in the state of Iowa (United States), and the county seat of Clay County. It is located at the confluence of the Little Sioux and Ocheyedan rivers. The population was 11,233 in the 2010 census, a decline from 11,317 in the 2000 census. Spencer has a notable Clay County Fair, held annually in September, which averages more than 300,000 visitors each year.

4. Coralville

Coralville, Iowa

Population: 18,931
Services: 93
Groceries: 94
Health Care: 102
Housing: 97
Transportation: 92
Utilities: 107
More on Coralville: Homes For Sale | Data
Coralville is a city in Johnson County, Iowa, United States. It is a suburb of Iowa City and part of the Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 18,907 at the 2010 census.

5. Iowa City

Iowa City, Iowa

Population: 68,364
Services: 93
Groceries: 94
Health Care: 102
Housing: 97
Transportation: 92
Utilities: 107
More on Iowa City: Homes For Sale | Data
Iowa City is a city in Johnson County, Iowa, United States. It is the home of the University of Iowa and county seat of Johnson County, at the center of the Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city’s population at 74,398 in 2016, making it the state’s fifth-largest city. Iowa City is the county seat of Johnson County. The metropolitan area, which encompasses Johnson and Washington counties, has a population of over 164,000.

6. Sheldon


Population: 5,096
Services: 104
Groceries: 105
Health Care: 111
Housing: 58
Transportation: 98
Utilities: 76
More on Sheldon: Homes For Sale | Data

7. North Liberty

North Liberty, Iowa

Population: 13,330
Services: 93
Groceries: 94
Health Care: 102
Housing: 89
Transportation: 92
Utilities: 107
More on North Liberty: Homes For Sale | Data
North Liberty is a city in Johnson County, Iowa, United States. It is a suburb of Iowa City and part of the Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area.

8. Davenport

Davenport, Iowa

Population: 99,781
Services: 99
Groceries: 100
Health Care: 92
Housing: 68
Transportation: 102
Utilities: 100
More on Davenport: Homes For Sale | Data
Davenport is the county seat of Scott County in Iowa and is located along the Mississippi River on the eastern border of the state. It is the largest of the Quad Cities, a metropolitan area with a population estimate of 382,630 and a CSA population of 474,226; it is the 90th largest CSA in the nation. Davenport was founded on May 14, 1836 by Antoine Le Claire and was named for his friend, George Davenport, a colonel who was stationed at nearby Fort Armstrong during the Black Hawk War. According to the 2010 census, the city had a population of 99,685 (making it Iowa’s third-largest city). The city appealed this figure, arguing that the Census Bureau missed a section of residents, and that its total population was more than 100,000. The Census Bureau estimated Davenport’s 2011 population to be 100,802.

9. De Witt

De Witt, Iowa

Population: 5,299
Services: 99
Groceries: 100
Health Care: 92
Housing: 67
Transportation: 102
Utilities: 100
More on De Witt: Homes For Sale | Data
DeWitt is a city in Clinton County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,322 at the 2010 census, which is a 5.2% increase from the 2000 census, making it the fastest growing city in Clinton County.

10. Muscatine

Muscatine, Iowa

Population: 22,915
Services: 99
Groceries: 100
Health Care: 92
Housing: 63
Transportation: 102
Utilities: 100
More on Muscatine: Homes For Sale | Data
Muscatine is a city in Muscatine County, Iowa, United States. The population was estimated at 23,968 in 2015, an increase from 22,697 in the 2000 census. The county seat of Muscatine County, it is located along the Mississippi River. The local business association says that the name Muscatine is not used by any other community.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck

Well there you have it, the places in Iowa that have the highest cost of living, with Bettendorf ranking as the most expensive city in the Hawkeye State.

If you’re curious, here are the least expensive cities in Iowa:

  1. Fort Dodge
  2. Iowa Falls
  3. Webster City

For more Iowa reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Iowa

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

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