Best places to live in Iowa

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November 15, 2021
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Best places to live in Iowa

What do you look for in an ideal town? Proximity to trails, lakes, and beaches? How about top-ranked schools for your children? Would you like a professional or college sports team nearby, or do you prefer museums and art walks?

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Iowa using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather.

On the list, there’s a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

#10. Urbandale
- Population: 43,441
- Median home value: $237,500 (78% own)
- Median rent: $935 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $90,858
- Top public schools: Waukee Middle School (A), Eason Elementary School (A), Valley High School (A)
- Top private schools: Des Moines Christian School (B+), St. Pius X. School, Gospel Assembly Christian Academy

#9. Le Claire
- Population: 3,971
- Median home value: $224,800 (80% own)
- Median rent: $858 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $86,250
- Top public schools: Pleasant Valley High School (A+), Pleasant Valley Junior High School (A+), Cody Elementary (A)

#8. Ames
- Population: 66,023
- Median home value: $205,900 (41% own)
- Median rent: $930 (59% rent)
- Median household income: $48,105
- Top public schools: Gilbert Intermediate School (A), Gilbert Elementary School (A), Gilbert Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Cecilia Elementary School, Ames Christian School, Eagle's Left Early Learning Center

#7. Coralville
- Population: 21,103
- Median home value: $227,700 (51% own)
- Median rent: $896 (49% rent)
- Median household income: $60,321
- Top public schools: West Senior High School (A+), Lincoln Elementary School (A), Wickham Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Montessori School of Iowa City

#6. Waukee
- Population: 20,785
- Median home value: $238,900 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,130 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $94,580
- Top public schools: Grant Ragan Elementary School (A), Waukee South Middle School (A), Brookview Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: The Goddard School - Waukee

#5. Mount Vernon
- Population: 4,451
- Median home value: $203,400 (69% own)
- Median rent: $757 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $71,552
- Top public schools: Mount Vernon Middle School (B+), Mount Vernon High School (B+), Washington Elementary School (B+)

#4. Clive
- Population: 17,167
- Median home value: $264,300 (76% own)
- Median rent: $984 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $104,839
- Top public schools: Waukee South Middle School (A), Brookview Elementary School (A), Waukee Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Cadence Academy Preschool - Clive

#3. West Des Moines
- Population: 65,606
- Median home value: $218,500 (61% own)
- Median rent: $1,017 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $76,368
- Top public schools: Waukee South Middle School (A), Brookview Elementary School (A), Valley High School (A)
- Top private schools: Dowling Catholic High School (A), St. Francis of Assisi School, Sacred Heart School

#2. Bettendorf
- Population: 35,919
- Median home value: $225,300 (75% own)
- Median rent: $914 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $82,153
- Top public schools: Hopewell Elementary (A+), Pleasant View Elementary (A+), Pleasant Valley High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Rivermont Collegiate (A+), Morning Star Academy (B+), Lourdes Catholic School

#1. University Heights
- Population: 1,159
- Median home value: $295,700 (52% own)
- Median rent: $1,500 (48% rent)
- Median household income: $68,533
- Top public schools: West Senior High School (A+), Norman Borlaug Elementary School (A-), Northwest Junior High School (B+)

You may also like: Highest-rated specialty museums in Iowa, according to Tripadvisor

Best places to live in Iowa

What do you look for in an ideal town? Proximity to trails, lakes, and beaches? How about top-ranked schools for your children? Would you like a professional or college sports team nearby, or do you prefer museums and art walks?

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Iowa using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather.

On the list, there’s a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

#10. Urbandale
- Population: 43,441
- Median home value: $237,500 (78% own)
- Median rent: $935 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $90,858
- Top public schools: Waukee Middle School (A), Eason Elementary School (A), Valley High School (A)
- Top private schools: Des Moines Christian School (B+), St. Pius X. School, Gospel Assembly Christian Academy

#9. Le Claire
- Population: 3,971
- Median home value: $224,800 (80% own)
- Median rent: $858 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $86,250
- Top public schools: Pleasant Valley High School (A+), Pleasant Valley Junior High School (A+), Cody Elementary (A)

#8. Ames
- Population: 66,023
- Median home value: $205,900 (41% own)
- Median rent: $930 (59% rent)
- Median household income: $48,105
- Top public schools: Gilbert Intermediate School (A), Gilbert Elementary School (A), Gilbert Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Cecilia Elementary School, Ames Christian School, Eagle's Left Early Learning Center

#7. Coralville
- Population: 21,103
- Median home value: $227,700 (51% own)
- Median rent: $896 (49% rent)
- Median household income: $60,321
- Top public schools: West Senior High School (A+), Lincoln Elementary School (A), Wickham Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Montessori School of Iowa City

#6. Waukee
- Population: 20,785
- Median home value: $238,900 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,130 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $94,580
- Top public schools: Grant Ragan Elementary School (A), Waukee South Middle School (A), Brookview Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: The Goddard School - Waukee

#5. Mount Vernon
- Population: 4,451
- Median home value: $203,400 (69% own)
- Median rent: $757 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $71,552
- Top public schools: Mount Vernon Middle School (B+), Mount Vernon High School (B+), Washington Elementary School (B+)

#4. Clive
- Population: 17,167
- Median home value: $264,300 (76% own)
- Median rent: $984 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $104,839
- Top public schools: Waukee South Middle School (A), Brookview Elementary School (A), Waukee Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Cadence Academy Preschool - Clive

#3. West Des Moines
- Population: 65,606
- Median home value: $218,500 (61% own)
- Median rent: $1,017 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $76,368
- Top public schools: Waukee South Middle School (A), Brookview Elementary School (A), Valley High School (A)
- Top private schools: Dowling Catholic High School (A), St. Francis of Assisi School, Sacred Heart School

#2. Bettendorf
- Population: 35,919
- Median home value: $225,300 (75% own)
- Median rent: $914 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $82,153
- Top public schools: Hopewell Elementary (A+), Pleasant View Elementary (A+), Pleasant Valley High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Rivermont Collegiate (A+), Morning Star Academy (B+), Lourdes Catholic School

#1. University Heights
- Population: 1,159
- Median home value: $295,700 (52% own)
- Median rent: $1,500 (48% rent)
- Median household income: $68,533
- Top public schools: West Senior High School (A+), Norman Borlaug Elementary School (A-), Northwest Junior High School (B+)

You may also like: Highest-rated specialty museums in Iowa, according to Tripadvisor

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