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Wondering where the richest folks live in the Hawkeye State? Wonder no longer, because we've used science and data to take the guesswork out of determining the wealthiest places in Iowa.
The places in Iowa with the highest concentration of wealth are largely centered around the state's capital and biggest city, Des Moines. About half the cities on this list are suburbs of Des Moines, with Waukee being the richest of the rich suburbs. If you're looking for money in the eastern part of the state, North Liberty, situated between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, is your best bet. In any case, you don't usually have to travel far from Iowa's biggest cities to find the hordes of wealth.
How much do you need to have in the piggy bank to live in one of the richest places in Iowa? Well the good news is that Iowa has one of the lowests rent in America, so you won't need to break the bank if you're not looking to buy. The average median household income for cities on this list was around $80,000/year, with Clive having the highest earners statewide. If job stability is more important to you, then Bondurant's super low unemployment rate ought to be attractive.
So if you want to know what Iowan cities have corn made of gold, serve fried catfish with a side of caviar, and wear tuxedos to the state fair, read on.
At the end of the day, here's the set of the 10 richest places in Iowa for 2020:
- Waukee (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Asbury (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Bondurant (>Homes For Sale)
- Grimes (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- North Liberty (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Clive (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Johnston (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Sioux Center (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Norwalk (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Urbandale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
Now you know where the hot spots of wealth are in Iowa. It shouldn't come as a shock that there was a good amount of overlap between the richest cities and the safest and best cities in Iowa. Money doesn't automatically make a city safe or great to live in, but it sure doesn't hurt.
So how did we come up with this list of Iowa's wealthiest places? We started by narrowing down our search to only cities with a population of at least 5,000, which left us with 80 cities to score. Then we looked for the cities with the lowest rates of poverty and unemployment and the highest median household incomes. That left us with only the most-moneyed spots in Iowa. But what city is the richest? According to the data, Waukee is the wealthiest city in Iowa for 2020.
If you're surprised a city you thought was super-flush wasn't in the top ten, check out the complete list below to see where it landed.
Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out some more reading about Iowa:
The 10 Richest Cities In Iowa For 2020
Waukee is a city in Dallas County, Iowa, United States. The population was 13,790 at the 2010 Census; a fast growth has been measured since as it is estimated there were 19,284 people living in Waukee in 2016. It is part of the Des Moines - West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Asbury is a city in Dubuque County, Iowa, United States, and a suburb of the city of Dubuque. It is part of the Dubuque, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 4,357 at the 2010 census. Asbury is the second-largest city in Dubuque County, surpassing Dyersville, Iowa to become the second-largest in the 2010 U.S. Census count. The city is largely a bedroom community, made up of spacious, new subdivisions whose residents work in Dubuque or Peosta, Iowa.
Bondurant is a city in Polk County, Iowa, United States. The population was 3,860 in the 2010 census, an increase of 109% from the 1,846 population in the 2000 census. It is part of the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Grimes is a city in Dallas and Polk counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 8,246 at the 2010 census. Grimes is part of the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.
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.
Clive is a city in Dallas and Polk counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 Census the population is at 15,447. It is part of the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. Clive is known for its Greenbelt Park and trail system running through the entire community. Clive serves as the axis of the western Des Moines suburbs, being located between Urbandale, Waukee and West Des Moines along the major transportation corridors of I-35, I-80 and I-235. The City of Urbandale is to the north to northwest, the City of West Des Moines is to the southeast to southwest, the City of Waukee in Dallas County is to the west.
Johnston is a city in Polk County, Iowa, United States. The population was 17,278 in the 2010 census, an increase of almost 100% from the 8,649 population in the 2000 census. It is part of the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Sioux Center is a city in Sioux County, Iowa, United States with a population of 7,048. Sioux Center is notable for its recent population boom, Dutch heritage, and agribusiness.
Norwalk is a city in Warren County, with some small portions extending into Polk County, in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 8,945 at the 2010 census. The city is part of the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area and is located just south of the Des Moines International Airport.
Urbandale is a city in Polk and Dallas counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 39,463. It is part of the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.
How We Determined The Richest Places In Iowa For 2020
The first thing that comes to most people's minds when they think about determining the richest places is to simply identify personal incomes. After all, rich people have really high salaries.
However, we don't believe that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the "richest places". So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2014-2018 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income
- Unemployment Rate
Median household income is the most digestible way to understand how rich a place really is. The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for more people to become rich. If more people are employed, the richer the future looks.
After we collected the data for all 80 places with more than 5,000 people in Iowa, we ranked each place from 1 to 80 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the richest.
We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a "Rich Score" with the place having the lowest overall Rich Score, Waukee, crowned the "Richest City In Iowa For 2020". You can download the data here.
You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 80 places.
There You Have It - The Wealthiest Places In Iowa For 2020
Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the richest places in Iowa, we weren't sure what we'd encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Iowa.
When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very top of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.
If you're curious enough, here are the poorest cities in Iowa, according to data:
2nd Poorest: Red Oak
3rd Poorest: Maquoketa
For more Iowa reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Richest Cities In Iowa
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