Top 20 Best Places to Live in Iowa

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Sioux City Iowa Aerial

This article, the forty-sixth in a 50-state series, ranks the best places to live in Iowa based on three criteria: (1) median household income (adjusted for cost of living); (2) educational attainment (% of residents 25 years and over who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher); and (3) property crime rates per 1,000 residents (burglary and automobile thefts). For purposes of these rankings, “places” are incorporated municipalities with populations greater than 2,000.

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Where are the best places to live in Iowa? – image by onlyinyourstate.com

Among the twenty best places to live in Iowa, twelve are suburbs of Des Moines, two are suburbs of Cedar Rapids, two are suburbs of Davenport, one is a suburb of Ames, one is a suburb of Dubuque, one is a suburb of Iowa City, and one is a suburb of Waterloo.

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Iowa map – guideoftheworld.com

By county, nine of the best places to live in Iowa are located in or partially in Polk County, five in or partially in Dallas County, two each in Linn and Scott counties, two in or partially in Warren County, and one each in Black Hawk, Dubuque, Johnson, Marion, and Story counties.

Clive, IA (Dallas County and Polk County)

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A corner of Clive – image by homes.com

Population: 14,628

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $108,796
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 60.4%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 4.9

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 11 miles E
Ames, IA: 43 miles NNE

Johnston, IA (Polk County)

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Johnston, IA (Polk County) – image by mansionsapts.com

Population: 14,968

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $96,477
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 49.3%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 2.45

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 10 miles SE
Ames, IA: 32 miles NNE

Robins, IA (Linn County)

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Robins, IA (Linn County) – image by icriowa.com

Population: 2,700
Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $102,421
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 44.4%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 3.06*

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 124 miles SW
Cedar Rapids, IA: 10 miles S

Mount Vernon, IA (Linn County)

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Mount Vernon, IA (Linn County) – image by horseproperties.net

Population: 4,145

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $81,169
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 47.0%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 1.19

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 129 miles WSW
Cedar Rapids, IA: 17 miles WNW

West Des Moines, IA (Polk County and Dallas County)

    1. cambridge court west des moines ia aerial photoWest Des Moines, IA (Polk County and Dallas County) – image by apartments.com

Population: 57,912

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $87,372
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 49.6%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 4.18

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 7 miles ENE
Ames, IA: 42 miles N

Asbury, IA (Dubuque County)

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Asbury, IA (Dubuque County) – image by civiclive.com

Population: 3,738

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $87,209
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 37.9%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 1.29

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 195 miles SW
Dubuque, IA: 5 miles SE

Urbandale, IA (Polk County and Dallas County)

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Urbandale, IA (Polk County and Dallas County) – image by forrent.com

Population: 40,936

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $80,501
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 47.6%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 4.3

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 7 miles ESE
Ames, IA: 39 miles NNE

Ankeny, IA (Polk County)

Top 20 Best Places to Live in Iowa
Ankeny, IA (Polk County) – image by landwatch.com

Population: 41,651

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $72,113
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 47.8%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 2.57

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 12 miles S
Ames, IA: 22 miles N

Polk, IA (Polk County)

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Polk, IA (Polk County) – image by catchdesmoines.com

Population: 3,086

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $90,121
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 41.2%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 4.22

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 16 miles SSE
Ames, IA: 38 miles N

Waukee, IA (Dallas County)

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Waukee, IA (Dallas County) – image by connectnw.net

Population: 11,510

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $81,891
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 50.0%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 8.04

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 15 miles E
Ames, IA: 46 miles NNE

Hudson, IA (Black Hawk County)

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Hudson, IA (Black Hawk County) – image by horseproperties.net

Population: 2,347

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $82,789
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 38.8%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 3.5*

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 102 miles SW
Waterloo, IA: 9 miles NE

North Liberty, IA (Johnson County)

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North Liberty, IA (Johnson County) – image by horseproperties.net

Population: 10,796

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $60,942
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 47.0%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 3.02

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 111 miles W
Iowa City, IA: 9 miles SE

Pella, IA (Marion County)

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Pella, IA (Marion County) – image by marioncountyialocksmith.com

Population: 10,217

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $66,404
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 38.1%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 1.95

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 43 miles NW
Ames, IA: 74 miles NW

Bettendorf, IA (Scott County)

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Bettendorf, IA (Scott County) – image by trafficlogix.com

Population: 32,759

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $63,241
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 44.4%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 3.94

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 170 miles W
Davenport, IA: 7 miles SW

Norwalk, IA (Warren County)

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Norwalk, IA (Warren County) – image by realtor.com

Population: 8,466

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $75,913
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 29.2%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 1.55

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 13 miles N
Ames, IA: 51 miles N

Windsor Heights, IA (Polk County)

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Windsor Heights, IA (Polk County) – image by windsorheights.org

Population: 4,578

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $65,950
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 43.7%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 6.28

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 7 miles E
Ames, IA: 41 miles N

Eldridge, IA (Scott County)

Top 20 Best Places to Live in Iowa
Eldridge, IA (Scott County) – image by melfosterco.com

Population: 4,743

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $71,649
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 37.3%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 5.04

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 168 miles W
Davenport, IA: 10 miles S

Grimes, IA (Dallas County and Polk County)

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Grimes, IA (Dallas County and Polk County) – image by blogspot.com

Population: 7,695

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $82,726
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 34.2%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 6.41

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 16 miles SE
Ames, IA: 37 miles NNE

Huxley, IA (Story County)

Huxley
Huxley, IA (Story County) – image by destinationsmalltown.com

Population: 2,702

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $74,841
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 36.5%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 5.74*

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 23 miles S
Ames, IA : 10 miles N

Bondurant, IA (Polk County)

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Bondurant, IA (Polk County) – image by farmandranch.com

Population: 2,630

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $67,778
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 30.8%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 4.78

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Des Moines, IA: 13 miles SW
Ames, IA: 34 miles NNW

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Ready to live in Iowa? – image by storyblocks.com

*In some cases, municipalities do not report their crime statistics to the FBI or they contract for services with the state or a county law enforcement agency. For those towns, crime rates are extrapolated from municipal, county, state, or contiguous municipality data.

The sources used in support of this article include the latest 1, 3, and 5-year estimates from the U.S. Census and the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report.

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